New York Times
With the news that Frank Rich and Bob Herbert have left The New York Times, the selection of my 20 free Times articles a month couldn’t be less strongly affected if Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd decided to quit.
Recently John Gruber of Daring Fireball deconstructed the imbecilic, overly complicated pricing structure the non-business-adept Times has spent a year-and-a-half and tens of millions of dollars devising to undergird its new digital subscription plan.
The Times’ business model, in addition to being extraordinarily confusing, includes the following giant loophole: “Readers who come to Times articles through links from search engines, blogs and social media will be able to read those articles, even if they have reached their monthly reading limit.”
So if you find a story on the Times site that looks worthwhile (suspend your disbelief for a moment), but you’ve reached your monthly limit, you can just copy the title, paste it in a search engine, and click on it from a site that links to it.
Admittedly, this is too much work for most people to bother to find out, say, Dowd’s opinion on the rise of Mormons in popular culture, but some tenacious fans will undoubtedly make the effort.
Perhaps The Times hopes its free backdoor policy will lead more social media outlets to link to their articles. Maybe they’re afraid they won’t easily be able to regulate access from third-party sources. But either way, doesn’t this aspect of their plan defeat the purpose of limiting content in order to make people buy subscriptions? read more »