Changing reader habits and an increasingly prosperous advertising market prompted Time Inc. to drop pay-to-read fees for three of its online business titles this New Year.

Web editions of Fortune, Fortune Small Business and Business 2.0 went free on Monday when they were merged into the group's site.

Vivek Shah, president of digital publishing at The Fortune/Money Group, said: "All of the research we do tells us that readers are narrowing the number of sites they visit in a day.

"It's also the culmination of almost a decade's effort to get all our business and financial editorial assets working together in one place online," added Time Inc. editor-in-chief John Huey.

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