September 17, 2005

Free Access to, RIP

Tomorrow marks the last day before the New York Times places a large percentage of its highest-demand content (the entire op-ed page, most columnists, etc.) behind a subscription wall, called TimesSelect. The service will cost $50 a year.

The move strikes me as rather stupid, as it will do nothing but reduce the influence of Times writers by disallowing links from bloggers, as well as pageviews by casual readers. They'll make a boatload of money, sure, but they'll be exchanging just as much influence, which I don't think is a fair trade.

Will I sign up? I'll wait a couple of weeks, and if I really miss it, perhaps I will. But probably not. So in the meantime, enjoy Maureen Dowd's last free column, in which she compares Bush to Humpty-Dumpty and references the "Oedipal loop-de-loop" of Bush and his father. I'm going to miss this stuff so, so much.

Posted by Stephen Silver at September 17, 2005 10:47 AM

Doesn't WSJ charge for access to their content? Has that changed their influence?

Posted by: Jeff S at September 17, 2005 06:28 PM

Right, Jeff, but the parts of the Journal that are still free, principally, are the ones that still actually get read and linked to. Putting specialized business articles of interest only to a limited (and typically wealthier) audience behind a wall for paid subscribers only makes sense; putting generalized opinion pieces back there doesn't. Not unless you've already discounted the extent of your influence anyway.

Posted by: Dave J at September 18, 2005 01:56 AM

isn't that what bugmenot is for??

Posted by: LilB at September 20, 2005 09:32 AM
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