As was rumored
last month, the NY Times has decided to pull the plug on its TimesSelect paywall service
, making all NY Times content from 1987 forward free online (they're also making all of the content from 1851 to 1922 free, but that's already in the public domain). This move comes two years after the paywall was first put in place. At the time, we were one of many who pointed out that this was going to make the NY Times a lot less valuable
, and it seems that the business folks at the NY Times finally did the math and came to the same conclusion. They note that subscription growth was slowing (something that was obvious
over a year ago) as advertising growth was ramping -- and that they hadn't counted on how many people would be drop-in visitors, coming from other sites. That seems like an odd statement, since it was quite obvious more than two years ago that search engines and other sites tended to drive a tremendous amount of traffic to news sites. Either way, like others
before it, the NY Times should be congratulated on doing the right thing, while questioned for what took it so long (or even what made the company make the mistake in the first place).