If A Blogger Links To The New Paywalled NY Times, And It Leads To A Subscription, Will The NYT Pay The Blogger?

from the questions,-questions... dept

Felix Salmon wrote up a blog post recently that details just how amazingly confused the NY Times appears to be about its new plan for a paywall. Apparently, the paywall will even include the NYTimes' blog sites -- which even the WSJ tends to keep outside of its paywall. As Salmon notes, this could drive some of the NYT's more popular bloggers to go elsewhere. But where it gets really confusing is that the NYT's execs seem to go back and forth over whether or not links into NYT articles from other sites (such as blogs) will count against the "quota" that leads to the paywall. Sometimes they say it won't count, except when they say it will count. Basically, it sounds like they don't know, but they're so afraid of people sneaking in that there will be at least some limit.

But this leads to a rather fascinating question that one of Salmon's readers asks in the comments (unfortunately, it looks like Reuters doesn't let you link directly to comments): if a blog post drives traffic to the NY Times, and that counts against the quota of "free" articles, leading users to eventually sign up for the paywall, will the blogger get a cut of the paywall fee? After all, isn't part of the argument from newspapers upset with aggregators that they're getting some sort of "free ride"? Wouldn't the same apply in reverse? If newspapers, such as the NY Times, are getting direct revenue from an action initiated by a blogger, then by the newspapers' own convoluted logic, don't those newspapers owe money to the bloggers?

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Flaky, Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 8:05am

    Going elsewhere

    No matter how much NY Times wants a paywall to work, I gotta tell ya this.

    I run into a lot of times coming up to the TOS page on mislinked articles to Bloomberg. The link ends at the TOS page and if you want to read the article you then have to go search the site to find it.

    Instead, when I run into this, I do a quick search of a few words in the post that brought me and find multiple hits of the same article on the net, allowing me to read it without all the hassle.

    If the NY Times is under the impression that a paywall is going to bring them money because some blogger hit the quota wall, they are sadly mistaken that the info won't be on the net.

    All this will do is ensure two actions. One will be that I look through net searches to dodge the crap and the other is I will find other sources to quote that doesn't have the hoops to jump through.

    The one thing the NY Times has is of limited value is the local stuff for it's hometown readers. I don't live in NY, nor any place close so that is a non-interest on their strongest point for those out of the geographic area.

    I will not pay to find the occasional article there that can be found most anywhere else. Nor will I deal with any sort of barrier put up to prevent that. So if bloggers are to be charged with multiple visits because they sourced there, the NY Times will have lost a lot of net presence and by virtue of losing it, they will have also lost lots of readership (read eyeballs for ads) in the process.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    anti-mike fanclub member #1, Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 8:52am

    Luckily this is entirely hypothtical since it is predicated on the assumption that someone would pay for nytimes online.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    PRMan, Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 8:53am

    It was 4 years...

    It was 4 years before I realized that Salon had quit charging for content. Some people still haven't noticed. Today marks the beginning of the end for the New York Times.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anon, Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 8:54am

    kcirt dnim idej

    I think this is the comment link you are looking for.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    R. Miles (profile), Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 8:55am


    "if a blog post drives traffic to the NY Times, and that counts against the quota of "free" articles, leading users to eventually sign up for the paywall, will the blogger get a cut of the paywall fee?"
    Wouldn't the better question to ask is "Why would a blog link to a newspaper paywall site"?

    Because, rest assured, if a blog points me to a paywall site, that's it for the blog. The last thing I'd ever want is an annoying message greeting me after clicking the blog's link for further info.

    Oh, and that's a hint, Techdirt. ;) (not really, but I'd have to verify the link's properties from then on, something I don't do now)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 9:20am

    Re: It was 4 years...

    Agreed, Doom, Gloom, and it will take a year before they leverage themselves to the hilt advertising wise before they realize the mistake they have made ...

    They should talk to us about how to do their paywall correctly and how to add value.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    vastrightwing, Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 10:13am

    I'll pay when you deliver the news to me

    I feel like I’m whipping a dead horse, but content has no monetary value, I’m talking to you NYT! Sure, I value content, but the content itself has no intrinsic value as such. The value is in the delivery and convenience. So unless you’re making your news more convenient than other sources or are adding value in some other way, I’m not going to pay you for delivering content using the infrastructure I am leasing myself. Now, if you want to help lease the pipes that bring the New York Times to my home, then that’s a whole different proposition and I would definitely pay for that. I didn’t mind paying you to deliver the news to my door step back when that was the only option. Today though, a paper is more of encumbrance and is less convenient than the web. Although, I’m not going to pay you and my ISP to get the news. So if you want me to pay you for the news, contact my ISP and I’ll pay the party who is actually delivering my news to me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    Jimr (profile), Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 10:47am

    No. The blogger should pay NY Times to the privilege of linking to it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    DrE, Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 11:54am

    What about links to the blogger's page

    A potential problem with the entire idea of charging for link access is how far down the line does this go? After all, I might have gotten to the blogger's site by a link on another site. Can the other site claim a piece of the blogger's cut? And so on. It is like deciding between proximal and distant causes. Whole idea seems stupid.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    jm (profile), Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 2:28pm

    Automatically finding alternates

    Time to use Red Panda that will give you automatically alternate (and hopefully free) sources to get to the exact same information :)


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    CrazyDiamond, Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 8:37pm


    ...all I need to do is setup some blogs linking to the NYT and their "quota" system will shutdown most of their site for me? Thanks for the specs, I'll get started on this project ASAP....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    redwall_hp (profile), Feb 25th, 2010 @ 10:13am

    Paywalls just don't work well on the internet. They should stick with paid advertisements and demand that they be paid fairly for them, rather than accepting that $1 CPM crap (or even worse, PPC ads...) that online advertising has become.

    Why is it that companies would rather pay a million dollars for a TV ad with no statistics or targeting, but they won't pay any real money for online ads that offer invaluable features not offered by other media?

    Hulu should be making a killing on their ads (it's like TV ads would be if every viewer had a Nielsen box), but no, advertisers want to stick with the same overpriced formats they're accustomed to.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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