What is up with the online version of the NY Times?
Let me provide a little perspective. A few years ago, NYTimes.com decided to provide Times’ readers 10 free articles per month before a payment plan was offered. You had the choice to select one of the three offers or no longer read NYTimes.com until the next month cycle. Recently, they have shortened the number of articles from ten to five for the same monthly cycle. I understand the limited articles per month as there was a time that their website had no pay wall whatsoever. With fallings ad revenue, they’ve established a business model that provides readers with several articles per month before a subscription is needed and have secured many readers as regular subscribers. Some media analysts have said their pay wall subscriptions have exceeded their expectations. I must admit, I’m glad they have provided this model and it appears to be successful. In today’s political climate, we need fair and investigative reporting more than ever.
Once you’ve met your limit, a few things happen. When browsing through Google News and an article is displayed linking to the NYTimes.com, you get this message that you’ve met your limit and to read, you must subscribe. Interesting. Staying in Google News, when you review the Editors’ Picks, you will see certain online featured articles and sometimes, you’ll see the NYTimes.com. However, if you’re met your limit of five articles for a given month, you’re unable to link to any NY Times articles. In addition, there are ads on the site so if a user for whatever reason does not signup for a subscription and they only see limited articles through other channels such as Google or Bing, their are losing potentially ad revenue.
I get the idea of a pay wall, I think it only makes sense for many online news providers to provide a little free content before a subscription is required. This appears to be an effective way of key content providers to continue to capture revenue while providing strong online content. Nevertheless, to be shutout from Google News or Google Editors’ Picks once you’ve reached your limit is questionable. The paywall is designed well but perhaps it’s short on execution, especially when it comes to linking to NYTimes.com from Google or Bing.