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NY Times abandons TimesSelect

A few years ago I moved into a new apartment building and quickly learned about the kindness of strangers—one of my new neighbors was snagging my newspaper about once a week. After a few unsuccessful attempts to solve the problem and/or embarrass the thief, I gave up and canceled my subscription. I decided that it was easier and cheaper to read the New York Times online.

So when in 2005 the Times introduced its TimesSelect feature, which cost about $50 a year for non-subscribers, I was bummed. Certain articles, including op-ed columns by Maureen Dowd, Thomas Friedman, and others, were deemed “Select.” Translation: pay to read the juicy stuff. I missed reading the good editorials, but I never seriously considered paying for TimesSelect. And while 227,000 online-only paying customers apparently didn’t mind, the TimesSelect experiment is officially over as of midnight tonight. Score one for the democratization of the Web.

According to the Times, the online landscape has changed (it took them two years to figure this out?). “Readers increasingly find news through search, as well as through social networks, blogs and other online sources,” says the Times in a letter to readers. “In light of this shift, we believe offering unfettered access to New York Times reporting and analysis best serves the interest of our readers, our brand and the long-term vitality of our journalism. We encourage everyone to read our news and opinion—as well as share it, link to it and comment on it.”

Also worth mentioning: Online advertising is on the rise, so the paper has found other ways to cash in on the Web.

But whatever the reasons, I’m a big supporter of the shift to openness and greater accessibility for all on the Web. Here’s hoping the Wall Street Journal soon follows suit. —Julie Jares, managing editor

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September 18, 2007 - Posted by | Content Strategy, Julie Jares, Web Content

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