Steal This <I>FT</I>

Cramer prefers getting the <I>Financial Times</I> free on the Web to paying $368 to have the print version delivered. Go figure.
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My

Financial Times

didn't get delivered today. I count on it being there, the cheery pinkish broadsheet with its quirky but solid coverage of worldwide financial news. But not today. Just great. I know some reporter called me yesterday to ask about the new hedge funds rules -- "Fabulous," I said, because I don't use much leverage -- and I wanted to be sure that I was quoted right.

So I sent my assistant out to go buy one. Cost a buck at the newsstand.

At the same time, I went to the Web and typed in "www.financialtimes.com" figuring, heck, that's got to be the site.

Jackpot.

But how much does it cost? I know I pay $368 to have the paper delivered. I see the Web version has charts, prices, all the information I would get from the paper and much, much more. I figure this is easily worth double -- it's got all of these features, plus it will never

not

be delivered. This one goes with me everywhere. The print version only comes to my office. (And I don't have to recycle this Web version.)

Excuse me for being stupid, but, hey, it has a different price entirely -- it's free! I just have to give them my name. Why waste a buck? Why waste 368 bucks?

A delivered print version costs $368, but a multifunctioned Web version is free? That makes no sense to me.

Someone tell me what the business strategy is that allows this thing to be free? Explain it already! Make it clear to me why the better version is free.

Cancel my subscription. I like the free version better. If everybody does what I just did, I guess the

FT

will just make it up in volume.

And I was not misquoted.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund had no positions in the stocks mentioned, although holdings can 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

letters@thestreet.com.