WebShare is a program of Encyclopaedia Britannica that makes it easy for publishers of Web content —such as bloggers, webmasters, writers, and editors—to use the premium information in Britannica Online for their own research at no cost, as well as to share it with their readers by providing them with easy access to individual articles.
The program gives people who regularly publish content on the Internet complimentary access to the online Encyclopaedia Britannica, thousands of additional articles, other reference databases, valuable Web sites selected by our editors, and more.
It also enables anyone with a Web site to link to the full text of any Britannica article—or multiple articles. A link from a Web site to a Britannica article will bring up the article in full for anyone who clicks on the link. By using this feature, writers and publishers can give their readers additional information on the topics they’re covering.
The purpose of the program is to make Britannica reference material generally available to the people on the Internet whose work and missions have a close affinity with Britannica’s—that is, publishers who engage in discussions and conversations about the great range of topics and issues of interest to people today.
While the number of people eligible for free subscriptions under the Britannica WebShare program is large and growing rapidly, it is limited. Since the aim of the program is to promote the use of Britannica reference material in discussions about issues of broad or special interest, the people most engaged in those discussions are the ones who are eligible. Here we’re talking about Web sites that are about something and discuss that thing or things with some focus and at some length.
This includes but isn’t limited to sites about news, education, sports, business, culture, academic disciplines, and general commentary. It includes most blogs. It does not include Web sites mainly dedicated to e-commerce or those whose postings are short and aphoristic by design. We like eBay, Twitter, and Facebook, but posting on any of those sites does not by itself qualify you for a free Britannica subscription. If you go online and start a blog with one post just to get a free subscription to Britannica, or you have a site that’s never updated, we will probably turn down your application. Similarly, if the contents of your site are offensive, as the term is generally understood, you don’t qualify for a subscription.
Of course, these criteria are subjective to some degree. We try to review every subscription application and reserve the right to make the final judgments on each. We also reserve the right to withhold or withdraw access from anyone who in our judgment is abusing the program in any way.
We’ve granted thousands of free subscriptions under the WebShare program, and we encourage applications from everyone else who meets the qualifications described here. We usually respond to each application within a week, often less.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are you giving away these subscriptions?
Well, it’s good business, for one thing. We have a great site with a lot of useful, reliable, and high-quality information, and we’d like more people to see it, use it, and talk about it. We’d like to see Britannica used more widely in discussions and conversations about important issues. Today Web publishers are among the foremost people driving public discussions, so we’d like to have our products in their hands.
Won’t you lose money giving away all those subscriptions?
We don’t think so. On the contrary, with many Web publishers using our products and sharing their contents with our readers, we expect to see more people subscribing.
“Web publishers”: That’s a lot of people these days. You’re prepared to give out a lot of subscriptions.
Maybe, but only to people who qualify. That includes those who regularly publish content on the Web. We try to review each subscription application and reserve the right to turn down people who aren’t really publishing regularly on the Net. If you go online and start a blog with one post, just to get a free subscription to Britannica, or you have a site that’s never updated, we may say no. Also, if the contents of your site are offensive you don’t qualify. Some of these criteria are subjective, of course, and we’ll make the final judgment.
I blog regularly, but I don’t have much traffic. Will that disqualify me?
No; you can make good use of Britannica. Start reading it and your posts will burn with brilliant, scintillating insights; link to Britannica articles and readers will be grateful for the additional information on the topics you write about.
About this linking: how does it work?
Simple. Just link from your blog to the URL of any Britannica article just as you would with any other Web page, and your readers will get that article in its entirety. It’s a great way to provide background on the topics you’re writing about.
I thought you had to have a subscription to access Britannica content.
For some of it you do, yes. But we’ve set things up so that a link from any Web site to a Britannica article pulls up the whole article, even those that normally require a subscription.
I have some other questions you haven’t covered here.
Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.