April 27, 2003

The Decline and Fall of the OED Empire?

Ok the title is an exaggeration. The Oxford English Dictionary is going to be the academics dictionary of choice for a while I think. But they are really missing an opportunity. How? By charging a shit load to gain access to their dictionary online. Fits in with their snob appeal and they probably make good money selling to institutions. But they are missing a huge window of opportunity to become the one and only dictionary that matters.

What? Here is the pitch. The OED has a well deserved rep as the definitive dictionary. But most writing is now done on computers connected to the internet. And its a lot easier to look things up online. And if OED was available online the way Merriam-Webster is, they could gain a dominant market share. Who wouldn't go with the definitive dictionary given an even market place? But pay $500 for the privilege? Forget it. The free dictionaries are going to win every time. The OED will retain its elite appeal, but at what cost? Another loser in the attention based economy...

Posted by Abe at April 27, 2003 11:13 PM


They should put the Oxford Concise online for free and make people pay for the full OED.

Great idea, wonder what the odds are?