Nobody ever confused me with Abe Lincoln, but I know this: A site divided, half-free, half-paid, will not stand. So scheduled for late Thursday, The Street.com goes free.
"What the heck??" you say. "But, I've been paying to read you and these other great columnists!"
Good for you. From now on you will get more for your money, because you will get us in nearly real-time, practically as we write, using new formats that will drastically speed up the time it takes for my thoughts to get in front of your eyes. And you'll get to listen in on a special message board during the trading day, on which our collection of the best financial commentators on the Net talk to each other about what's going on. And all in a smart, new look in
. That starts Friday.
But you also love your
. The markets insight, the company news, the analysis, the personal finance information. You want it all together. No changes. You are angry, nervous, confused. Don't be. Those emotions are wrong. Here is why: If you are like me, you love your
and you love your
, the company. They are not two different things. We have to do what is right to make TheStreet.com strong. And we couldn't do it the old way. When we started
people told us that there wasn't any advertising to speak of on the Web. We had to get paid. We chose subscriptions. Slow and steady.
But we were wrong about advertising. It blossomed. And what we needed to make a business was page views to monetize in the form of advertising. Subscriptions inhibit page views on the Net. They don't off the Net, but they do on the Net. We know we have content that can help you make money, and you will pay for it, but we have to get you to see it first, and too many people were turned off by our whole paid concept.
Candidly, I want to entice you to migrate to
because that's where you'll find me first, in a place where I can make the biggest difference for you. Now we will turn off nobody. No longer will the single biggest page selected be a page that rejects you because you are not a subscriber.
Now we will embrace everybody with a simple business model that will be faster, easier to use, and understandable to the readers, to the advertisers and to Wall Street. It's called progress. And we must welcome progress if we are to prevail as a site and a company. So Friday, let's embrace the changes together and get the most of our new
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, Cramer himself and Cramer's fund were long TheStreet.com. His fund often buys and sells securities that are the subject of his columns, both before and after the columns are published, and the positions that his fund takes may change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Cramer's writings provide insights into the dynamics of money management and are not a solicitation for transactions. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to comment on his column at