I asked for something like this on Twitter a while back, and the lazyweb gods have answered: a Safari and Chrome extension that takes articles from popular sites that are broken across multiple pages to boost page views and merges them into one page. It saves you the trouble of finding the Print or Single Page link and clicking it yourself which seems like a minor annoyance but becomes a massive one when multiplied across dozens of articles every day. [hat tip to Daring Fireball]

No doubt about it, serious news organizations are in a tough bind trying to monetize. But making the user experience significantly worse to protect display ad revenue is attacking the symptom, not the problem. The problem is that most advertising is lousy and ineffective, and users, given a choice, will try to avoid it. In most news organizations, I'm guessing the journalists sit on a different floor or in a different wing from the ad sales team. It's not in their nature to try to actually improve the effectiveness of the advertising in a meaningful way; advertising has always been the second class citizen that pays the bills.

If you have a product or service that has many close substitutes, and if the core of your revenue model is something you don't spend a large percentage of your mindshare obsessing over, it's not surprising that your entire business is vulnerable. Even successful market leaders consistently fortify potential vulnerabilities. Think about how much Amazon obsesses over logistics, or how far up the supply chain Apple has invested in materials and chipsets. 

Most people think of Google as a search company, but they have some of the smartest people in their company optimizing and improving AdWords, their primary source of revenue. Their ad auction model is continually refined by mathematicians and economists (sometimes those are one and the same). They try to improve their advertising for the entities on both sides of the exchange -- the advertisers and the end users -- by maximizing interaction rates.

When was the last time we heard any journalists or news organizations talking about the effectiveness of their display ads online?