Happy 20th Birthday, WSJ.com

1996 was a long, long time ago.

info-wsjlookback06-1996aTwenty years ago today, The Wall Street Journal launched its site, wsj.com. The web has changed just slightly since then.

While the Journal made waves for charging readers to access online content (what a concept!), for the first few months after wsj.com made its 1996 debut, the site was entirely free. That was an intentional move, explained Journal editor for specialized news products and events Dave Pettit.

“It was always the case that the Journal was going to charge for its online edition,” Pettit told Nieman Lab. “We launched in April and in August they launched the subscription. The trial period was free—the earlier prototype was also free—but there was always the expectation that business news content, in particular Journal content, would be behind a subscriber paywall.”