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. :)
But having more than cool pics, the blog’s author Marta Apple, focuses on the humanity to be found pressed against us cheek by jowl, twice a day. As Walt Whitman wrote,
Crowds of men and women attired in the usual costumes, how curious you are to me! On the ferry-boats the hundreds and hundreds that cross, returning home, are more curious to me than you suppose, And you that shall cross from shore to shore years hence are more; to me, and more in my meditations, than you might suppose.
I too lived — Brooklyn, of ample hills, was mine; I too walk’d the streets of Manhattan Island, and bathed in the waters around it; I too felt the curious abrupt questionings stir within me, In the day, among crowds of people, sometimes they came upon me, In my walks home late at night, or as I lay in my bed, they came upon me.
Just as you feel when you look on the river and sky, so I felt, Just as any of you is one of a living crowd, I was one of a crowd, Just as you are refresh’d by the gladness of the river and the bright flow, I was refresh’d, Just as you stand and lean on the rail, yet hurry with the swift current, I stood yet was hurried, Just as you look on the numberless masts of ships and the thick-stemm’d pipes of steamboats, I look’d.
These, and all else, were to me the same as they are to you, I loved well those cities, loved well the stately and rapid river, The men and women I saw were all near to me, Others the same — others who look back on me because I look’d forward to them.
I treated myself to a new little digital camera (do I even have to say “digital” anymore?), a Panasonic Lumix MDC-FH20. It’s a pretty nifty, and a big improvement on the hand-me-down I’ve been using for the past year (though it served its purpose well).
The Village Voice’sblog interviews Moshe Billet, the ultra-good Samaritan who found the fancy shoe I first reported on, and about his efforts to find its owner. I knew about Craigslist, and the flyers which first caused me to e-mail him, but he even contacted two local police precincts. So far, New York’s Finest have come up empty.
Until this story became a “viral Internet sensation”, he had only heard from two people. One person e-mailing to say “Jesus, bless you”, and me, wondering if the whole thing was on the level.
Though Mr. Billet, who the Voice calls “charmingly pragmatic”, wouldn’t mind if the woman whose foot once graced the Louboutin, is pretty, between 23 & 27 years old, and Jewish, he is still hopeful that the the owner will turn up, regardless of age, marital status, or religious belief.