Starting tomorrow, along with everyone else, I’m going to discover how the Times’s decision to charge for viewing more than 20 articles a month, works out.
This is the second time that the Times has attempted to charge for content. TimesSelect charged $7.95 a month/$49.95 a year, and was halted in the fall of 2007, two years after it started. As with the new plan, home delivery subscribers got access at no charge.
I’ve been a subscriber since high school, so it’s not a money thing for me, but TimesSelect did cause me a bit of teeth-gnashing.
In the spring of 2007, Clyde Haberman covered my efforts at getting city stores to keep their doors closed if they had the air-conditioning running. I had recently started blogging, and of course linked to the piece; but because it was behind the pay wall, a lot of people couldn’t read the column. A small dent on the gigantic edifice that is my ego.
When TimesSelect was discontinued, a spokesperson said it had “met expectations”,
“But our projections for growth on that paid subscriber base were low, compared to the growth of online advertising.”
“What wasn’t anticipated was the explosion in how much of our traffic would be generated by Google, by Yahoo and some others.”
Now they are trying again, in some semi-complicated way. Apparently articles linked from Twitter and Facebook can be viewed independent of the limit, but already there are problems, and Times writers are already complaining, because people can’t link to them.
The Times is of course, the “paper of record”, and one of the things that I enjoy most in life, so I want them to be able to make money. I just hope it doesn’t come at the expense of people reading my blog. :)