The Globe's online subscription edition is reported to have attracted only about 20,000 customers in its first year--less than four percent of the Globe's daily circulation in the glory years of 1990 (521,000) and before that but about nine percent of the current, much depleted paper circulation. Measured by circulation, the Globe has left the ranks of the top 25 U.S. newspapers, falling behind daily newspapers in Newark, St. Petersburg and Seattle--all with smaller populations in their core regions. Despite years oi bloodletting, the Globe still has substantial resources, but its online editions fail to marshal them effectively.
All the news sections of the subscription edition are particularly skimpy. New articles usually appear first in the open edition. In most sections, all but a few articles are stale, especially in health and business. However, there are rarely trails of articles from the past few weeks, to draw readers into the context of more recent ones. Comments can no longer be posted by Internet Explorer users, probably a majority of the readers. News from local correspondents is stomped on; many articles are all but impossible to find. Aside from an occasional Globe promotion, there are no ads. While that stops the abuses that have been mounting in the open edition's ads, it limits potential revenue.