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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

New York Times drops TimesSelect

Two years ago, the New York Times put its archives and some of its columnists behind a fee wall, and started charging users $49.95 a year to access the information. A few weeks ago, I linked to a rumor that the Times would be abandoning its TimesSelect service. Turns out the rumors were true.

The Times was generating $10 million a year in revenue from a quarter million subscribers, but they decided that aggregating eyeballs was more important, and ultimately, more profitable. From today's Times story:

What changed, The Times said, was that many more readers started coming to the site from search engines and links on other sites instead of coming directly to NYTimes.com. These indirect readers, unable to get access to articles behind the pay wall and less likely to pay subscription fees than the more loyal direct users, were seen as opportunities for more page views and increased advertising revenue.

Good news for users, especially bloggers and students who are looking for information but don't want to or can't afford to buy access to it. It's so frustrating to find exactly the info you need online, and then to find that you have to pay for it, and can't even link to it and share it.

And hey, I heard on Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac that today is the 156th birthday of the NYT. Thanks for the reverse birthday present!

September 18, 2007 at 09:19 AM in Media/Keeping an eye on the competition | Permalink



That explains the email I received the other day inviting me to set up a "MyTimes" portal! From the email:

"Want to collect your favorite web sources on one page? You got it. My Times is here. A free personalization service, My Times lets you create your own page with easy-to-browse updates from the New York Times and other favorite sites and blogs from across the Web. now you can easily read all that you like, in one central place."

Um...RSS anyone?


Posted by: Elaine Young | Sep 18, 2007 8:14:48 PM

Imagine what life would be like if intellectual property as we know it went the way of the dinosaur. All information on Earth in all forms of media would be public domain limited only by earthly costs like server fees, and not by ethereal concepts like information "ownership." I hope the day comes.

Posted by: Haik Bedrosian | Sep 19, 2007 12:57:12 AM

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