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NY Times Confident of 'First Click Free' Paywalls 193

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the it-never-ends dept.
eldavojohn writes "One thing you might notice on Slashdot is that when someone submits a story linking to nytimes.com, it doesn't always work. While it's not truly a paywall, it appears to stop the user and require registration... sometimes. If you noticed this and it's seems to be non-deterministic in when and where it asks you to login, you're simply noticing the latest strategy of 'first click free' being employed. We've heard that normal paywalls are a miserable failure (the Wall Street Journal's, one of the more successful, only lets you see the first paragraph online). Will the drug pusher approach work out for The New York Times? The CEO seems to be certain that this blogger (and Slashdot) friendly paywall is the correct option and will keep The New York Times as a 'part of the conversation' online when news is rapidly circulating." I will tell you that if I am asked for a password, I almost always reject the story immediately, or go find a better URL. Heck, yesterday I rejected a NY Times story for this exact reason. So we'll see how it pans out.
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NY Times Confident of 'First Click Free' Paywalls

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  • by Pojut (1027544) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @09:38AM (#33881862) Homepage

    There are already so many different places to get news from with such a variety of bias from all sides (and, on rare occasion, from no side), I see no reason to actually pay for news online. Sure, some of the bigger sites will get attention, but with smaller companies taking over the news on the Internet (Huffington Post, Drudge Report, etc), I have a feeling that pay-for news will eventually become quite scarce.

    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @09:49AM (#33882008)
      Enough people will pay, especially for the New York Times. The goal is not for everyone to pay, and they could not care less about whether people have access to their newspaper. They just want to make money, and they probably will. There are enough universities out there willing to pay enormous subscription fees.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        That's interesting. If universities pay researchers, then maybe paying journalists is a great idea. I personally wish that we could get away from that, but it would be something that I would explore.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        What does the NYT (or any large paper) offer me that I can't get straight from the source (AP) for free? They haven't been doing much real journalism in years, so I'm at a loss.
        • by bws111 (1216812) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @10:54AM (#33882642)

          The AP is NOT the source, the newspapers are. AP is owned by the newpapers. AP gets it's stories from the member newpapers (they also have some of their own reporters). When there are no newspapers, there is no AP.

          • (they also have some of their own reporters)

            Doesn't this mean that without newspapers, there is an AP?

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by bws111 (1216812)

              No. The AP is owned by the newspapers. All of it's funding comes from the member newspapers. Yes, there are some 'AP' reporters who are not working for a specific paper, but they are still paid by the collective of the papers.

          • When there are no newspapers, there is no AP.

            And nothing of value is lost.

          • by geekoid (135745)

            Online services also pay the AP.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by ediron2 (246908) *

            Um, you contradict yourself a bit there. On those occasions where one of the AP's 'own reporters' writes a story, the AP *is* the source. This is akin to war or political-campaign news stories relying on a 'pool' reporter. On short-term work (chilean miners), a nearby journo or freelancer is often put on contract for the duration.

            As for GP, there are fewer papers and news agencies assigning reporters and sportswriters and etc elsewhere. Sharing / pooling writers and photographers is cheaper. The NYT, Re

        • by yelvington (8169) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @11:28AM (#33883042) Homepage

          What does the NYT (or any large paper) offer me that I can't get straight from the source (AP) for free? They haven't been doing much real journalism in years, so I'm at a loss.

          If you think that, it's because you don't actually read the New York Times.

          I'm looking at the NYT homepage right now. There are three wire stories. Everything else is original work by one or more New York Times reporters.

      • Enough people will pay, especially for the New York Times. The goal is not for everyone to pay, and they could not care less about whether people have access to their newspaper.

        Hopefully, Slashdot and bloggers, will take a page from Google, and stop linking to sporadically inaccessible sites. The problem is not so much with the New York Times (by now, most of us do recognize the New York Times link as an inaccessible site). For me, the problem becomes the other lesser known news sites (that are trying to follow in the New York Times foot steps). Clicking on a link, and then having to click the back button because I can't read the content anymore, just drives me nuts.

        And I do hop

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by QRDeNameland (873957)

        Enough people will pay, especially for the New York Times.

        I wouldn't be so sure. They already tried to implement a limited pay wall called "Time Select" in 2005 and was discontinued after two years. The most prominent thing that was charged for was their Op-Ed columnists (Maureen Dowd, Tom Friedman, Paul Krugman, et al.), and guess what, they all complained bitterly about it because it greatly decreased their readership and influence. In Friedman's words, "I hate it. It pains me enormously because it’s cut me off from a lot, a lot of people, especially bec

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tompaulco (629533)
      I agree. The only way news sites will be able to make money is if they adopt the cell phone model, where the user is not really aware that what they are doing is costing them money until it is far too late.
    • by sheriff_p (138609) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @10:36AM (#33882486)

      Depends. I already pay for The Economist as a news source. Sure, there are plenty of other places to get "breaking news" online. If I want to read high quality journalism ... less so. When the NYT goes proper paywall, I'll pay. When the Daily Mail does, I'll rejoice ;-)

      -P

      • Depends. I already pay for The Economist as a news source. Sure, there are plenty of other places to get "breaking news" online. If I want to read high quality journalism ... less so. When the NYT goes proper paywall, I'll pay. When the Daily Mail does, I'll rejoice ;-)

        -P

        So, you want some poor quality journalism to go with the high quality journalism you get from The Economist? I am baffled by people who think the NYT is a good source of news. In the early 30s, they were printing stories denying the Soviet created famine in the Ukraine (stories they won a Pulitzer Prize for). During WWII, they denied/downplayed the Holocaust. More recently, one of their star reporters was discovered to file "on location" stories from his apartment in NY. There are more cases of such journal

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      I feel for the big newspapers, really I do. They spend a ton of money getting firsthand news (ignoring the wire services for the moment), spend another couple hundred kilos of money formatting it nicely for the web, and we want it all for free. They put ads up, we use ad blockers. They give up on all those reporters' salaries and just use wire services, and we complain that there's no local content. We (as consumers) need to give the content providers SOMETHING that justifies all the money they spend on
      • by Pojut (1027544)

        Very true! While more and more web-based news orgs are using their own reporters, researchers, and press folks (this seems to be especially true on gaming blogs), they still don't come even close to the effort, expense, and expertise shown by the larger news agencies.

        For me, it's not that big news sources aren't worth the money...I just don't see a reason to pay them for the same information I can get for free (legally!)

      • by delinear (991444)

        That ignores the fact that newspapers were already in decline before the internet became popular. This has nothing to do with people wanting something for nothing, because before the internet you had to pay for the alternatives or just go without, and people were making that choice even back then. To me this is about the failure of the press to deliver what people want. I don't know what that is, if I did I'd probably be incredibly rich. For me I'd like to see more in-depth journalism instead of a mindless

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MightyYar (622222)

      (Huffington Post, Drudge Report, etc)

      Then we're all doomed. Those "news" sites are just aggregation blogs which do about as much fact-checking as Google News's automatic robot. Just last week Huff Post actually reposted the kind of trash you get in your in-box from your grandmother [huffingtonpost.com] - that first week she has email, when she's still tying in ALL CAPS. There are now TWO correction updates, and they STILL don't have the facts right. Would it have killed them to at least run a check on Snopes? [snopes.com] Does anyone really think that they "soak" food in ammon

    • Most of the time, to get the rest of the story, I plug the free paragraph into Google. The search results most often has many complete copies. Google is your friend.

    • There are already so many different places to get news from with such a variety of bias from all sides (and, on rare occasion, from no side), I see no reason to actually pay for news online.

      The only site where I cross a paywall is the one where I subscribe to the physical news magazine, and thus don't have to pay extra (The Economist). Most of its articles are free online, anyway, and magazine subscribers just get a bit more than non-subscribers. I pay for the magazine because I enjoy reading their intelligent and well-written analyses. Usually, I read it almost cover to cover (skipping some ads), since it's utterly free from horoscopes, sports, celebrity gossip, self-help advice, etc.

    • I see no reason to actually pay for news online.

      Why did the acronym 'ACTA' suddenly leap to mind when I read this?

  • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @09:38AM (#33881868)
    What, people want us to pay to access some stuff on the internet? What's next, /. offering subscriptions?
    • Remember back when the we had the World Wide Web, that ingenious system where any document could have a hyperlink to any other document? The problem with paywalls is that they kill that system -- your links suddenly become blocked with demands for money.

      Not that anyone cares about the spirit of openness and cooperation. These paywalls won't fail; I believe that they will be a great success, insofar as they will make lots of money for the websites that operate them. Most people will not pay, but enough
      • And open websites will make even more money via advertising..

        • by e065c8515d206cb0e190 (1785896) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @10:34AM (#33882460)
          Here comes the myth. "Advertising will pay for it". Why is Zuckerberg trying so hard to monetize Facebook? Because advertising doesn't pay. This year (yes, 2010) is the first year Youtube is expected to turn a positive result (meaning that Google has yet a long way to make that investment profitable if you count since 2005).

          The bottom line is you can't expect advertising to be a miracle solution. Everyone hates ads. A lot of people block them. The click rates are low. And yet people want content for free. Am I missing something here?
          • Zuckerberg is a billionaire. If advertising doesn't pay, I want to know what does pay.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by larry bagina (561269)
              He's not a billionaire because of advertising, he's a "billionaire" (on paper) because of his facebook stock (which isn't traded on the open market so the valuation is arbitrary and based, more so than usual, on hype). So starting a high growth company pays.
          • I didn't know Google invested in Facebook? Aren't they competitors via Orkut?

          • Am I missing something here?

            The fact that the intrinsic worth of content has gone down to almost zero.

            Sure, you can argue about how hard people have to work to produce content, etc, etc. But sooner or later the whole world is going to have to wake up to the fact that the complete works of William Shakespeare take up less than 2MB [gutenberg.org], and this is only going to get worse. Sooner or later, a complete list of all Paramount pictures will fit in a single portable hard drive and will be transmittable over a home internet connection in less than a day. It doesn't matter what legal, ethical, commerical or social system you put in place against this. Eventually, your system will buckle under the sheer weight of what the new digital reality has done to the distribution of content.

            This isn't an argument for or against piracy or bloggers freeloading off news. It's an argument for why content such as news is increasingly becoming something people don't see it worth paying for. And I understand the paradox here: it now costs more to make content--even something as cheap as news--than it does to distribute it to the entire world.

            Advertising can pay for the distribution no problem, but there is probably no existing commercial model left which can pay for the content. If you can't profit on something that you're distributing to the entire world, the game is up.

            Society has spoken; it's not willing to pay for commercial news, either directly or through advertising. We could switch to a subsidized or public service model of news, or have no news at all. But commercial news services are about to become increasingly scant (not that they weren't becoming so anyway). People are not going to pay for a newspaper that has less data than one of their friends facebook pictures. People might not like to hear this, but this is where the almost zero cost of data has taken us.

            • by tepples (727027)

              it now costs more to make content--even something as cheap as news--than it does to distribute it to the entire world.

              Except in media where there still exist incumbent gatekeeper companies with digital imprimatur power. The market for arcade-style video games, for example, is still controlled by the game console makers.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Cheech Wizard (698728)

            Here comes the myth. "Advertising will pay for it".

            Advertising paid (and pays) for radio, for TV (OTA Free TV may be on the way out, but that's only because of limited broadcast range and the success of cable and satellite 'services'), for magazines and pays for lots of other things things. It's no myth. I have web sites online and have since 1996. They all pay for themselves through advertising alone and I do quite well, thank you. There are many ways to monetize a business in addition to advertising, as well. For musicians it may be concerts, as an exam

          • by guruevi (827432)

            5 year for a business (much less a dotcom) to turn profitable is not very long. There are many companies that have been operating on a (seemingly) loss for decades. Look at some of the movie and music businesses, they seem to be making a loss at every movie they make. As long as you can woo investors (like some of those free-energy companies) you will stay in business. Zuckerberg is trying to monetize Facebook because he wants to get stinkin' rich and he probably feels he is 'finished' with it. Dotcoms are

      • Remember back when the we had the World Wide Web, that ingenious system where any document could have a hyperlink to any other document? The problem with paywalls is that they kill that system -- your links suddenly become blocked with demands for money.

        A hyperlink is no more than a citation backed by a best-effort automated retrieval system. Documents can cite documents on the web with <a> elements. Before that, documents could cite documents on paper with footnotes. Just because the retrieval is automated doesn't mean it has to be without payment.

        • by 0123456 (636235)

          A hyperlink is no more than a citation backed by a best-effort automated retrieval system. Documents can cite documents on the web with <a> elements. Before that, documents could cite documents on paper with footnotes. Just because the retrieval is automated doesn't mean it has to be without payment.

          Linking to pay sites pisses off readers and the vast majority of web sites either stop linking to such places or stop being read; there are very few places where the average reader is also going to have a subscription to any site it links to, because if they have a susbscription to the sites it links to, why would they bother reading about it second hand?

          A glaring example is Wikipedia: how can you possibly cite an edit on an open encyclopedia by linking to a site that requires payment?

  • And i am sure. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    People STILL won't pay for news they can go get from somewhere else for free.

    If its any kind of 'news'. It's going to be covered in more than the NYT.

    • They hope to make money not just from the news, but also from the editorial, analysis and opinion pieces.
    • by JWSmythe (446288)

      They've been working on that one. If you run a blurb of NYT stuff, they'll get pissy. Then they'll go after you, your money, search engines, and even the search engine caches. I've known people who have cited a single sentence fragment, and received nasty-grams.

      These are nasty-gram someone I know received, via Google Adsense. There have been several over quite a few years. In these cases, compliance on their part happened within about 2 hours. Adsense left them without any ad revenue

    • New Scientist magazine has tried twice, to my knowledge, to restrict web access to the subscribers to their - very expensive - magazine. They did not even offer a web-only subscription. I wrote each time pointing out that this was foolish, and I would have been prepared to pay a reasonable (i.e. small) sum for access, but was fobbed off with a bit of corporate boilerplate. Each time the paywall lasted a few weeks before coming down.

      • by Sporkinum (655143)

        I never go to the New Scientist website. I have tried reading a laptop on the toilet, but it just doesn't work. New Scientist is prime bathroom reading material.
        I also hardly ever read any NY Times articles because they are pay walled. Looks like the best solution for most of this stuff is electronic media. I would gladly pay for a New Scientist e-reader subscription, and possibly a NY Times one as well.

      • Thats interesting about the New Scientist paywall coming down. I used to be an avid reader about 5 years ago, logged on at every weekday lunchtime to read something or other. I even clicked the occasional ad there when I found one relavent to me, especially links to amature telescopes etc which I was looking to buy when I had enough money.

        Then they implemented a paywall, some articles you could read, some you couldn't read or couldn't finish. I got so fed up with the potluck approach to reading an article I

    • by Kijori (897770)

      More and more newspapers are moving to paywall model, though. With the Conservatives keen to scale back the BBC's free online presence BBC News may well become either much more limited or only available to UK licence-payers. If things continue at this rate then every reputable news source will soon be restricting its online content. If that comes to pass then I think people will pay.

  • by IBBoard (1128019) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @09:40AM (#33881896) Homepage

    I've been asked to login after what was (I think) my first click of the day, so I think it might not like corporate networks that proxy lots of people through a very small number of IP addresses!

    I'm sure there are sites out there to help with "free account required" login pages, but what's the betting that they start slowly creeping the payments in and creeping the freebies down?

  • by nicolas.kassis (875270) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @09:40AM (#33881902)
    When I see a news site requiring registration or subscription I just hit the back button. I don't think I've ever subscribe to any news site. There is just no point considering there will always be open news site (Always,Murdoch and al. can't do anything about this). If the first click is free then it might entice me to check out the site for more news and potentially sign up. It would need to be high quality news site to get me to sign up. NYT is probably one of about 5 newspapers that can even attempt such a model. My local paper became subscription only online. I use to check the site out every day. I haven't check it since the change.
    • When I see a news site requiring registration or subscription I just hit the back button. [...] My local paper became subscription only online. I use to check the site out every day. I haven't check it since the change.

      Now what site do you check for news about your town, as opposed to some other town? Not all towns necessarily have a competing reliable paper without a paywall.

      • by Rogerborg (306625)

        Now what site do you check for news about your town, as opposed to some other town?

        Does it matter? A free site, or no site. The significant factor in the decision (for many eyeballs) is a barrier to entry, not the availability of a free alternative.

        Either way, the pay site has lost eyeballs and advertising revenue in return for nothing.

        • Exactly, now I just watch the news on TV, ignore the paper. After years of reading that paper I thought I'd miss it but not really.
          • by tepples (727027)

            Exactly, now I just watch the news on TV

            Watch it, or you'll rouse the "I'm proud not to own a TV" comedians who occasionally pop up on Slashdot.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @09:42AM (#33881924) Journal
    I submitted a story [slashdot.org] a few days ago. Click the link once, then close the page. Then click the link again. You should get a paywall. I was a bit confused by the comment [slashdot.org] that iamhassi posted on it until I tried to visit the page again. It's happened before but now their strategy is clear and verified. Oddly enough when Soulskill retooled it and pushed it out [slashdot.org], the new link is immune to this.

    The Slash code seems to adjust my links sometimes and I've told CmdrTaco about this but it's really evident on nytimes.com articles.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Perhaps Slashdot (or its parent) has an agreement with NYT. I know that when I get to a paywall, I immediately lose interest in an article; Someone out there must be paying for news, I guess, but I'm not going to be one of them.

    • by houghi (78078)

      Just tried it and indeed the second time it blocks. Removed all cookies and the site worked again, so it seems that a workaround is to figure out what cookies does this and then delete it.

      I was to lazy to do that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Captain Spam (66120)

      I submitted a story [slashdot.org] a few days ago. Click the link once, then close the page. Then click the link again. You should get a paywall.

      Hi. Look at my submission. Now click the link. Now back to the submission. Now BACK to the link. Sadly, you should get a paywall. But if your link didn't go to a corporate dinosaur's website, it wouldn't smell like a paywall. Scroll up. Now back down. Where are you? You're on Slashdot. What's in your hand? Back up to me. I have it. It's a mouse, clicking on those links you like to see. Now look at me. The mouse is now diamonds. Anything is possible when you use the power of the world wide w

  • "miserable failure"? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by abigsmurf (919188) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @09:43AM (#33881938)
    Murdoch's paywall was hardly a miserable failure. The subscriber figures they gave initially did indicate a massive drop in reader numbers but when you compare the amount each user is worth as an ad viewer, compared to how much they're worth as a subscriber, at worst they only had a slight drop in revenue (I did the figures in that other story, CBA to work through them again), at best they had a slight rise in revenue. It does at least hint that a paywall solution is a lot more viable than lots of people thought.

    And that was based off of their initial subscriber figures, if they've experienced a reasonable amount of subscriber growth, they would be making more money than with the ad supported site. Would be interested in knowing if their figures have gone up or down.
    • Murdoch's paywall sites (with the exception of the WSJ) are not just losing subscribers, they're also losing advertisers. [techdirt.com] A newspaper can't survive on subscription fees alone, advertising has always been the largest source of revenue.
      • by delinear (991444)
        Exactly, if they can keep the ad revenue at the same level per user and charge a subscription then it might be more viable even with a big drop in users, but the fact is advertisers don't want to show ads to a tiny userbase, they demand high volume. The result is that you'll first see advertisers leaving, and that loss of demand will drive down the price per ad impression, which means (unless you planned the subscription model around having no advertising - in which case stop being greedy and actually have
  • Porn mode (Score:3, Interesting)

    by spectrokid (660550) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @09:46AM (#33881972) Homepage
    If I surf in porn mode, can NYT see I've been there before?
    • by CarpetShark (865376) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @10:06AM (#33882182)

      "Porn mode" protects you from your wife, not from the internet. Or your boss.

    • by tepples (727027)

      If I surf in porn mode, can NYT see I've been there before?

      Which web browser's porn mode are you using? Does it handle Adobe Flash Player LSOs in addition to its own cookies, cache, and history? And have you tested it with the evercookie demo [slashdot.org]?

    • by wjousts (1529427)
      Actually, it's tiresome, but it does work (in Firefox at least). Turn on porn mode, go to NY Times site (example, link in this submission [slashdot.org]. Leave the page, come back - paywall. Quit porn mode, turn it back on again, go back to the same NY Times page - no paywall. So it'll work for your first visit to NY times, but then you have to turn it off and back on again for the next visit.
      • by delinear (991444)
        It sounds like this is cookie based but that the site checks initially that it can write a cookie, to get around people just disabling cookies. I'm thinking a JavaScript scriptlet could easily get around this, set a check on the page's unload event that deletes any cookies pertaining to the current domain - it would be pretty easy to get this working as a Firefox add-on, if anyone is really that keen to see over the paywall.
  • Too much free competition. They can give out as many 'free looks' as much as they want - but this is the internet, and all it takes for me to look somewhere else is a bit of typing and the enter key.

    It'll mean people will visit once, then leave.
  • You'd think with how much their actual distribution is probably suffering they'd decide to pick up a new distribution model instead of using one from the late 90's. I'm sure they're probably (or at least should be) cleaning up on advertisements.
    • by gman003 (1693318)
      Your argument's flaw is in assuming that Big Media *can* tell that it isn't the 90s. Paywalls, poor comment systems... I half-expect to see a fresh stab at walled gardens sometime soon.
    • by bsDaemon (87307)

      I have a free NYTimes.com account, but also run ABP, so I never see the ads. I also don't actually buy newspapers in print. I guess I'm a leach, but I suspect I'm not in the minority.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Greed knows no bounds. When you buy a newspaper, your dollar pays for the paper and ink, ads pay for the content. Then the newspaper owners thought "gee, we can make a killing now and charge and advertise without having the expense of actually printing.

      It's not just the newspapers either, look at the music industry. I can't for the life of me figure out why people will pay a dollar for a song download when you used to get two songs on a 45 for a buck, and it had to be manufactured. Worse, three dollars for

  • This is why I don't use NYT for a news source. There's plenty of others out there.

  • by Shivetya (243324) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @10:01AM (#33882124) Homepage Journal

    I take the title of the shortened article, paste it into Google, and usually I find a version in the first two entries that allows me to read the entire article. It must be a barrier to the lazy.

  • I tried to register once but it went haywire somehow. I didn't care enough to try again. I just ignore them.

  • NYTimes should ditch the paywall for more ads, it is the only way to make money unless you give them something truly useful and unique for a subscription.
    People can just use www.bugmenot.com to get around logins. [bugmenot.com]
  • In FF, I have NYTimes cookies blocked, so 99% of the time I get the "you have to register - it's free" ! Thing

    Lots of other sites are similar, (SJ Mercury News is bad).

    If I really *have* to read that story, I just use IE and then purge my cookies.

    But most of the times I no longer read the NY Times website directly. It doesn't really matter, because almost every single story on the TV news or ANYWHERE originates at the NY Times.

  • CmdrTaco claims he rejected a story. Yeah right. Want to buy a bridge?
  • I dissent (Score:3, Funny)

    by pickens (49171) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @10:37AM (#33882492) Journal

    There are stories, generally op-eds, "think pieces," and commissioned pieces with original research that appear on the NY Times and no where else.

    As an example, I submitted a story yesterday about Isaac Newton on new historical research that explains why he spent thirty years of his life working on alchemy.

    That story is only on the Times and no where else.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/12/science/12newton.html [nytimes.com]

    Take a look at my submission. I think it's a good story and based on my experience, one that slashdot normally would have accepted.

    http://slashdot.org/submission/1354636/Isaac-Newton-Alchemist [slashdot.org]

    Show me where you can find that story anyplace else on the web.

    • by JSBiff (87824)

      Yeah, well, NYTime is free to do whatever they want. Slashdot is also free to do whatevery *they* want. Slashdot doesn't want to have links which are basically inaccessible to most of their readers.

      Fundamentally, I'm not interested in paying for 100 subscriptions to 100 different news sites, and I think neither is almost anyone else. Since Slashdot links to so many news sources, I can't possibly pay for individual subscriptions to all of them. So, Slashdot does the most reasonable thing in the situation - i

    • by geekoid (135745)

      You want me to pay to read your retelling of things everyone knows? That's a great reason t buy your book, not to subscribe to a news paper.

  • by No. 24601 (657888) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @10:42AM (#33882536)

    I think the NYT is going to work doubly hard, even triply hard to gain some sort of competitive advantage in their quality of journalism. Yes, they have some great stories. But to be totally honest, most of what they write about or offer opinions on is stuff that can be found somewhere else on the Net nowadays. I'd say they are not much worse, but also not much better than a lot of other news sites out there. Good luck to them if they create a stupid pay wall.

  • by jburroug (45317) <slashdot@nOspAm.acerbic.org> on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @11:09AM (#33882806) Homepage Journal

    I've had an account with the NYTimes site for longer than I can remember and I've happily signed up for every pay scheme they've tried. Reporters work hard to provide a valuable service and I'm happy to pay for it. I might be a bit of an anomaly given how poorly news papers and magazines are doing these days, but I also pay for a print subscription to the The Economist, Popular Woodworking, Fine Woodworking, MAKE and Discover. Information I care about, thoroughly researched and professionally edited has real value to me. I hope the Time's latest attempt at attracting readers and making money off them works out, given the problems at the Tribune family of publications right now America is desperately low on world class news outlets as it is.

    Not to say that paywalls aren't a touch annoying and disruptive and I don't want to buy a full subscription to every publication that has a single article I'm interested in, but I wouldn't mind paying some small fee for the one story I wanted to read. The problem is finding a way to sell users a single article at a fair price that isn't overwhelmed by the transaction costs of processing the payment. The market needs a really good micropayment system, that can profitably handle transactions in the $.25-1.00 range. The digital equivalent of pocket change has yet to show up outside of walled off services like iTunes and other app stores.

    Cheers,

    Josh

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      The problem is finding a way to sell users a single article at a fair price that isn't overwhelmed by the transaction costs of processing the payment. The market needs a really good micropayment system, that can profitably handle transactions in the $.25-1.00 range.

      I don't remember the last time I read a newspaper article which was worth $0.25 to me. Most 'news' just isn't very useful to anyone other than news junkies, and that's even ignoring the majority of 'news' that's just regurgitated press releases or celebrity gossip.

  • BBC's model (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pckl300 (1525891) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @11:49AM (#33883336)
    I like BBC's model. News is paid for by the citizens, and is available to everyone, even non-brits. It's like information is a right. And, despite being funded by the government, they don't seem to have much slant that I can detect.
    • Re:BBC's model (Score:5, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @01:10PM (#33884268) Homepage Journal

      It use to be like the in the US. TV news was paid for my the government.
      Many idiots on /. will equate the to controlling the news. But if you look at it in that time period, it was not biased in that manner. When the feds cut the funding, they had to make money by appeasing advertisers. Which has become being a mouth piece for the corporation that sponsors them.

      Some time I try to think about how Fox et' al. would have shown the McCarthy hearings. Scary.

  • On my Android phone, using the Google 'News and Weather' widget, I get this with any NYT reference to an article in the widget.

    Then when I go to the NYT link, I get a blank screen which is the offer to log in.

    It doesn't work on my phone, possibly because it's Flash, possibly cause it just renders badly, I can't really tell yet.

    So the phone widget is getting headline links to sites that con't work on the phone the widget is written for...

    Ah, yes, Google. Such a failure sometimes. Beta is no excuse.

    Mind you

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