Salon has never been my favorite of the online journals but was once worth a regular skim to find an article or two. When they went from ad based to a mostly subscriber format, that became less true it was still worth checking out from time to time. Now, they have apparently come out with a new business model: you have to watch a 20-second movie to get to even so much as the table of contents. Bye bye, Salon.

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. There is a contingent of old line media businessmen who insist on seeing the Internet as a new-fangled form of television. The business model won’t transfer, but they keep trying…

  2. khr says:

    So what ?

    Open two browser windows, klick on Salon, read something else in window 2 while the film runs. Return to Salon

    Where’s the problem ?

  3. Paul says:


    About 10 years ago tacked a quote up on the wall at my office. It said “The key to success in the future will NOT be finding information. The key to success in the future will be learning what information to ignore.”

    If you doubt the speaker had his act together a decade ago, think google.

    My point is that we have bazillions of data streams available to us. Why on earth would people pick the one that annoys them?

  4. James Joyner says:


    Not to mention that the vast majority of Internet users are still on dial-up. Downloading a 20-second movie clip can take forever. Plus, the movie presumably comes with sound, which you’ll have to endure or go through the trouble of shutting off the speakers. Me, I’ll just read one of the other dozens of sources that don’t make me go through all that.

  5. Paul says:


    I never go to Salon unless I am following a link, so I don’t know how this normally works… But I just followed your link above and saw the ad trying to get me to watch the movie. I then lopped the other stuff off the URL and just went to

    From there I can pull up any article I want.

    How did you get tossed to the ad?

    It *looks* like I get my “day pass” by simply looking at the ad and not the movie. If that is so, their security matches the rest of their content.


  6. Barry says:

    They’ve been doing some sort of ad-based day pass for a year or so now (their clip is running in the other window).

    I have less criticism of Salon than almost anybody else. They’ve brought news that the rest of the media didn’t want to print (the GOP lies behind the Clinton scandals).

  7. Paul says:

    Yeah I guess Clinton really told the truth! (some people will believe anything)

    Anyway James you can get past the movie. Apparently your cookie is set when you go to the ad page. You never have to watch the movie. (deep link test.)

  8. Paul says:

    I went to a different machine and the deep link worked. Their security is about as good as their reasoning.

  9. Mark-NC says:

    You guys are overlooking something good here.

    The ad is 20 seconds – so what. Then you have total access to Salon articles, many of which were not available previously without a prescription.

  10. JW says:

    I know–off topic:

    James, did you ever declare a winner in the Three Dwarves OTB Caption Contest?