Business Models

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
expense, journalism, paywall

ny times

Good Question: How The Hell Did The NYT Spend $40 Million On That Paywall?

from the please-help-explain dept

We've already expressed our bewilderment at the NY Times' new paywall and the fact that it cost the company $40 million and took 14 months to build. Some are now reasonably asking what about the paywall could have possibly cost $40 million?
The New York Times already had a credit card processing system for selling home delivery. It already had a database management system for keeping track of Web site registrants. What did they spend the $40-50 million on? A monster database server to keep track of which readers downloaded how many articles? They should already have been tracking some of that for ad targeting. In any case, a rack of database servers shouldn’t cost $40 million.
I'm guessing that some of it involved user testing. The NY Times keeps trying to claim that it was its own users who told them this was the paywall they "wanted." But, still, between a ton of research, a bunch of programmers, some equipment... I'm having trouble figuring out how $40 million could have been wasted on this. Any help?

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  1. identicon
    Don, 28 Mar 2011 @ 8:58am

    Runaway project

    It seems to me that if they really did spend $40-50 million dollars, that it was on a runaway project with no initial requirements, proper assessment or idea what the heck the goal was. While they were figuring this out over weeks of coffee, some cowboy front-end developer implemented the paywall and the big suits were pleased.

    Mind you none of the suits have a clue about security or the experience the front-end guy had, It just did what they wanted to do.

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