The saga of The Sunday Times online registration continues. Just a few days after I wrote that www.sundaytimes.co.uk was not allowing people to register and displaying a problem page, the site seemed to work again and allowed people to register, however fictitious a name they chose. But then I tested the site again and guess what? However you tried to register, it kept on giving an error message of: "We are currently experiencing server problems and are working to resolve these. Please try again later." The next day it was back up again. It’s difficult enough to persuade people to pay for content, but to make it impossible for them to gain access is a surefire way of making sure people will not come back to you and go to your rivals. More importantly, even though The Sunday Times website is a record of the paper, it should really offer some updates through the day, especially on breaking stories. One referred to: "Health fears for Brown baby". As events happened throughout Sunday and Monday, there was no update on the story concerning chancellor Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah. Mind you, the Sunday People, Sunday Mirror, News of the World and Observer were also running the story without any updates.
Meanwhile, over at The Sun, things are on the up. Its latest ABC electronic audit for October showed it had 1.25 million unique users and 17.25 million page impressions. At the same time, its Page 3 site now attracts 35 million impressions a month while its online fantasy football game has attracted 90,000 paying entries. The Sun site was re-launched in September just as rival The Mirror also enhanced its online offering, so it will certainly be interesting to see how the online tabloid battle pans out.
As widely predicted, Danny Kelly has finally left 365 Corporation where he was a founder and publishing director. The move comes as 365 moves away from being a content player and focuses on his communications business. Kelly, a former editor of Q, NME and Emap’s short-lived Total Sport will continue with his radio interests and work with presenter Danny Baker. 365 merged its sports and leisure content sites with Chrysalis-owned Rivals.net late last year.
Apple (www.apple.com/uk) is to release a new powerful iMac computer at the end of the month. The new iMac is based around a 800 MHz processor and features a 15-inch flat screen monitor. It also comes with a built-in recordable DVD along with 256MB of memory and a 60GB hard drive.