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The New York Times Joins the Point To Economy

By - September 18, 2007

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One of my favorite pieces of Thinking Out Loud for the last book was “From Pull to Point“, in which I chided the Economist, the Journal, and others on their subscription online business models, which totally ignored the value of what I call the “Point To Economy”. I would have chided the New York Times Select as well, but it was free back then. Then the Op Ed columnists went behind a pay wall, and I had reservations, but said I’d subscribe and check it out. Turns out, I didn’t, and it seems not enough others did as well. Yesterday the pay wall came down, and not just for Op Ed, but for the entire archive as well.

This is a huge move to the hoop, and I think it’s the right one. I love the archives, and now they will be getting all the search juice they richly deserve. Here’s the reasoning, from a Times article covering the move:

What changed, The Times said, was that many more readers started coming to the site from search engines and links on other sites instead of coming directly to NYTimes.com. These indirect readers, unable to get access to articles behind the pay wall and less likely to pay subscription fees than the more loyal direct users, were seen as opportunities for more page views and increased advertising revenue.



Way to go, NYT!

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  • Brijit

    Commodity content gets commodity pricing, so the price of news goes to zero. Great for the consumer. Unless, of course, our unwillingness to pay for content makes it impossible for the unique, high-quality, low-volume, long-form publishers to make a living, in which case we all lose.

    Wouldn’t it be ironic if the New York Times, which holds itself up as a bastion of editorial integrity and quality journalism, helped kill both?

  • DVJ

    While we’ll never hear the results of this move, it’ll be interesting to see if Ad revenue can equal subscription revenue…..I’m suspecting a resounding NO. Today’s CPMs are so miniscule that page counts will have to go up by many multiples. I don’t see it happening except for people like John who actually use the archives.

    Paying for archives is and never would have been the savior of good journalism. I also don’t think paid archives somehow lend value to journalism. There is a cost to providing archives for free. Servers, bandwidth, etc. Maybe they are hoping to break even?

  • http://kradeleet.com K

    They acknowledge that search rules the web experience and front pages have little currency on a site with content spread across limitless pages. Maybe this also means the end of trying to control the users’ navigation path. (Could I hope for an end to vilification of url-twiddling?)