It Is Possible to Make Money on the Web

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Amid all the various kerfuffles over content and how to make money off it, the Wall Street Journal's Interactive Edition has announced that it expects to become profitable for the first time early in 1999, boosted by its 175,000 loyal subscribers, most of whom pay $49 a year, and the many advertisers who pay a $60 CPM for access to those rich, technology-oriented eyeballs. The Interactive Edition's head count is large -- around 120 employees, half of whom are working on content -- but we did the math, and the 1999 date sounds quite plausible.

Neil Budde, the editor of the Interactive Edition, is optimistic, although he notes that "there's been a few people who've written and said, you're doing valuable stuff, but as a matter of principle, I'll never pay for anything on the Web." Budde's been working on the Interactive Edition since way back in 1993, and the flurry over Slate's recent jump to the subscription model raised few eyebrows over there. Says Tom Baker, the site's business director, "I was at a conference a couple of weeks ago, and everybody was hooting at them, as if they were breaking all the rules."