The I think you will agree there are many problems with both the open access and closed access models of academic publishing. The closed access model forces the reader to pay (often within the region of US$25) per article, while the open model forces the author to pay (often within the region of US$1500) per article. The ACM seems to have found an excellent middle ground with their new Author-Izer service.
This new service offered by the ACM enables authors to place a link on a personal website which resolves to a specific PDF document lodged within the ACM Digital Library. Readers who select this link are then not charged to view the PDF and indeed by selecting this link you get free and open access to the publication for as many views as you like. All the statistics for downloads and citations are still recorded and so the service has an advantage because authors are able to show public/professional interest in their work; via the download statistics.
This works to the ACMs advantage too because now there will be huge amount of Web referrers to the ACM Digital Library – as the single authority or hub on the web for computer science academic journals. This can only make the popularity of the ACM increase and will, I suspect, not impact their revenue streams too hard as most institutional libraries will still wish to pay for the full-service, including some committed individuals still paying the small US$99 fee for a years unlimited access to everything within the ACM Digital library.
The people who will really benefit will be academics at smaller institutions without institutional access and those with a passing interest in the work but without the means to purchase the closed version. Indeed with this kind of open access we may also see interested members of the public or the media using the service to pursue their interest, if not their profession, in computer science.
Full credit to the ACM for this excellent step forward in open publishing.