Let me say a word about the subscription “business model” for us and similar magazines:
Obviously the whole journalism biz is in the process of figuring out how to combine the goals of (a) maximum visibility / influence / linkability on the web site with (b) continuing to stay in business and not giving everything away for free. This is what I went into in a story I mentioned previously, about new business models for journalism.)
In asking people to subscribe, as I often do, even though in theory they can eventually find the same info on the web, we’re relying on a variety of appeals. One is ergonomic: print technology has evolved over many centuries and is still a better way to absorb long narrative/ exposition. (There are actual studies to this effect, which I don’t have on hand now.) Another is convenience — we try to give subscribers earlier access to info, though that doesn’t always work. Another is roll-over to iPad type subscriptions.
… but behind them all is the knowledge that this is an era of business / tech experimentation. A decade from now, and probably sooner, it will be obvious how the new form of paying for involve will work. (A Spotify model? A “basic cable” model? An iTunes model? etc.) It’s not obvious now, and we’re all trying to work it out — publishers, technologists, and readers/consumers alike.