If you are running a publication, your archive forms a key part of your armory. By and large, not many people will look at that 150-word news piece from 2009, but collectively – across thousands of articles – it is a good source of traffic.
And, of course, everyone knows it is viewed within the context of history.
But for companies, because they are writing about themselves, on their own sites, archived content can be a different proposition. Something you wanted people to read back then… you might want to hide now.
A good example of this is Uber. In 2014, in response to one of London’s many tube strikes, it ran a content campaign via its news site titled ‘#keeplondonmoving’.
The commuter-friendly company offered 50 per cent off all fares when people shared rides. It lasted for the whole of the 48-hour strike.
Back to the present
Perhaps the 50 per cent policy proved a little too popular because since then Uber has obviously had a change of heart. The company has been accused – in the Sun, among other places – of profiting from the latest strike [in January 2017] by hiking fares.
In this light, the 2014 article is a little awkward. But the question is: should you take down articles like this or keep them up in the belief that the customer knows they are old and things might have changed since then.
There’s nothing new in a U-turn. Maybe you should ask yourself instead: how would a publication, such as the Sun, handle a story about itself or its publisher that was out of date and a little embarrassing?
Speaking as someone who has worked for a publisher, I believe in certain circumstances they would unpublish and delete the story.