May 26, 2003

Buying the Times

I was just over at Busy, Busy, Busy reading his Shorter Bill Safire from May 15. Clicked through to read the original NY Times article and blam: hit the $ for premium content on a ten day old op ed piece (it looks like material as recent as one week old is getting moved into the premium category).

I like the NYT well enough to to frequently read the online headlines and some articles and to buy a newstand issue several times a month: no matter which side of an issue you live the articles/op eds generally make you think (oh, and now, we can search for the truth as well). If I lived in NYC or the NE US I would have a full sub to the print edition.

I do not like it well enough to continue using it as a source for material in this blog if my readers must pay $2.95/article to read linked articles.

Don't get me wrong: the NYT certainly has every right to charge for its content. But I'm not going to pay $2.95 to read a 10 day old 700 word op ed piece and likely would not pay it for a 7000 word article. If I won't why should I lead my readers to this choice?

Some possible consequences of this policy (didn't I read discussion a month or so ago about concerns with charges for 90 day old content?):

The NYT will reduce their bandwidth costs due to reduced online access. Surely this is not what the charge is about, is it?
People that read blogs will skip over posts over a week old that refer to NYT articles
Bloggers will use the NYT less often as a source or quote much more extensively
(1st Option Corollary: The blogosphere's circulatory system will be healthier due to a huge reduction in Krugman bashing)
2nd Option Corollary: Krugman will no longer be quoted out of context.
Overall NYT readership will slowly decline
To counter the previous point a viable micropayment mechanism will be developed (There is some price between $0.00 and $2.95 at which I and many others will buy the article without second thought)
The development of a viable micropayment system would make this whole exercise worth while.

Posted by Steve on May 26, 2003
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