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NY Times to charge for content?

2010-01-18 00:44:40.497684+00 by Dan Lyke 5 comments

The article says:

New York Times Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. appears close to announcing that the paper will begin charging for access to its website, according to people familiar with internal deliberations.

The Metafilter thread has the usual satisfying feeling snark (from user allen.spaulding):

I'll only pay for stories when the reporter maintains in appropriate relationships with the article's subjects and then falsifies information with the express intent of lying to the public and goading us into war. I can get all of my light entertainment elsewhere for free from other sources, including my plagiarism (although The Times has always done such a nice job with that one). But you really can't beat The Times for gross violations of journalistic integrity married with war-mongering. It's worth every penny.

But also some helpful iunsight(from user Cool Papa Bell):

This is an interesting, related article, with the thesis that the only text content on the Web that can be sold effectively is stuff that is "wildly unique and immensely useful." The NY Times is not sufficiently unique to charge for content. Consumer Reports, on the other hand, has a well established reputation of unimpeachable product reviews.

and telling questions, like this from theora55:

Google has figured out how to make money with micro-ads. No annoying floatie ads (hello nytimes.com), no blinking ads, no ads pretending to be content (hello msn). Craigslist is killing newspapers giving away classifieds, with a plain vanilla screen(thanks, craig). Why have the big content producers sucked so hard at selling content-related micro-ads?

[ related topics: Web development New Economy Sociology Consumerism and advertising ]

comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2010-01-19 02:03:02.652694+00 by: Dan Lyke

Eric, no argument that content has to be funded (snarkiness about the value of it from the NYT aside), but I'm amazed at two things:

  1. Newspapers not getting that they've always been advertiser funded, and the same model should continue to work.
  2. The continued idea that advertising has to be obnoxious. Advertisements can be useful, Google gets this, newspapers have been screamingly denying this for about as long as their online versions have been available.

TC, I need to make sure I've got an invite to the Salatin dinner. I'm going to see Pollan speak on the 2nd, but I've already given away my extra ticket to that (to one of the folks who works out at Tara Firma). And I'll look for a place for lunch, I was gonna suggest Ubuntu, but we could do something more carnivorous.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-01-19 00:19:13.667733+00 by: ebradway

I had tea with a friend who's a freelance writer recently. We talked a bit about content and the internet. It was an interesting conversation One conclusion we reached was how we value writing that took real effort, time and skill to produce. Google manages to pay for their infrastructure through advertising - but they don't really create content - probably because good content creation doesn't scale well. Not that the NYT produces consistently good content, but at some point, content has to be funded.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-01-18 23:34:30.343199+00 by: TC

Hmmmm news.google.com has always been my favorite since it existed. I love the wsj.com till Rupert bought it and made it as stupid as USA today. NYTimes.com is the closest thing to a newspaper I read now a days. With contributers like Thom Friedman and Paul Krugamn it's a rag worth reading. Ok so maybe I don't use it for news so much (sometimes google links to them) it's a pretty decent place to gather information and opinion(IMHO). Of course i would pay for high quality content just like i would pay more for a righteously raised steak verse feed lot meat product.

BTW Dan, met Tara&Craig Smith from Tarafirma (nice people they gave me a turkey)and Tara is twisting Michael Pollan's arm to come to the Salatin dinner( i think his visit has turned into some kind of feasting event.)

#Comment Re: made: 2010-01-18 21:24:41.451196+00 by: Dan Lyke

I think there's one main difference: Murdoch was complaining that Google linking to his publication's stories was copyright infringement. Something we now know was primarily a strategic play to license links to those stories to Bing. The New York Times has already been through a paywall system once, so they understand that they live and die by inbound links and whether or not people are talking about them.

Basically, the NYT is coming at this thoughtfully. Murdoch didn't, or did less so.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-01-18 21:12:12.070935+00 by: petronius

When Rupe Murdoch suggested this, cries of fascism and failure rules the intertubes. Now the sainted Sulzbuerger brings it up and we have thoughtful dicussion. What changed?