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Why Paywalls Are Good, But NYT's Is Flawed 256

GMGruman writes "The New York Times has taken a lot of heat for daring to start charging for its product. (What nerve! Imagine if grocery stores, phone companies, or even employees began charging for their wares!) But the problem, InfoWorld columnist Galen Gruman argues, is that its paywall is poorly designed. It encourages unpaid usage in massive quantities via Twitter and other feeds, undermining its very purpose, and it makes multiple-device mobile users — the growing population — pay more than anyone else. Both should be fixed. But the more troubling underlying issue is that the Internet has devalued content nearly to the point where the business reason to create it is disappearing. In mobile, there's a chance to fix that, but in the way is not just the Web's free-loader mentality but the pricing of carriers for data transport that take a larger chunk out of people's budgets than they should, making it that much harder for people to pony up for the value of the content they get through those carriers' pipes."
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Why Paywalls Are Good, But NYT's Is Flawed

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  • by AndyAndyAndyAndy ( 967043 ) <afacini@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @12:24PM (#35588020)
    Paywalls fail. [observer.com]
  • the Internet has devalued content nearly to the point where the business reason to create it is disappearing

    ...or maybe we're just moving to an open content model (i.e., like FOSS). After all, information does want to be free.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Reporters need to eat, though.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by 0123456 ( 636235 )

        Reporters need to eat, though.

        The reporters I've known used to eat and drink an awful lot on their expense accounts.

        • "Well, gentlemen, we either need to cut the expense accounts or throw up a paywall that will add more revenue."
        • by Kjella ( 173770 )

          It's a win-win for the company and the reporter if they can file it as business expenses rather than increased salary, but it comes from the same income. No income and they can't eat on or off the job...

        • by isaaccs ( 1854142 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @02:34PM (#35589964)

          How many reporters do you know? I happen to know one or two writers for the NYT that make a pittance of a salary. Yes, they get reasonable expense accounts. Most journalists in this country would be lucky to have *that*.

          And why do they get expense accounts? Why does anyone in any industry get an expense account? For one thing, it enables (in principle) the worker to perform their job better than they otherwise might. For a journalist, it's the opportunity to meet people over drinks and lunch, make connections, learn about things. You may consider this superfluous, but there are plenty of people who are willing to pay for journalism that realize it isn't.

          Second, the accounts are a perk, yes. And why shouldn't they be? News and journalism works in free-markets like everything else. In every sector, you have people who do mediocre work, bad work, good work, and amazing work. Companies and markets strive to compensate them accordingly. So if you're a top tier journalist, who's to say a company shouldn't offer you an expense account to do your job? You can argue again that it's a waste, but you'd better toe the same line when it comes to every other business sector under the sun.

          Journalists, editors, publishers, all are individuals who do potentially rough work (not in every case, but in some) that serves broader society in a way that is both practically relevant and creatively compelling. They deserve to be compensated, compensated well in some some cases, and not just by someone looking to make a buck off an ad placement on a blog.

          • by TaoPhoenix ( 980487 ) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @02:57PM (#35590244) Journal

            I'd vaguely consider paying for really really good news and analysis -
            But we need a heavily honest rating service that rates the content as useful.
            A 7 page Economist article might get a 9 out of 10, while the ehow SEO'd stuff would be a 2.

            Google is just starting to move in this direction re: their recent backlash against "content farms".

          • Re:devalued content (Score:4, Interesting)

            by the_womble ( 580291 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @04:24PM (#35591472) Homepage Journal

            News and journalism works in free-markets like everything else

            But you do not want them to:

            Journalists, editors, publishers, all are individuals who do potentially rough work (not in every case, but in some) that serves broader society in a way that is both practically relevant and creatively compelling. They deserve to be compensated

            A free market system does not pay what is deserved, it pays for what there is demand.

            At the moment there demand is falling as consumers switch to free alternatives.

            People are quite happy to pay if the product is worth it: the Financial Times, The Economist, The New Scientist etc. have no problem getting people to pay because they have content that does not have a suitable free alternative, because they actually have a high quality product that is hard replace.

            Most newspapers do little investigative journalism, and largely reproduce press releases, government announcements, and whatever else they are fed. The net lets us bypass them and read the original.

        • And where, exactly, do you think the money for those expense accounts comes from?

      • Re:devalued content (Score:4, Interesting)

        by ciderbrew ( 1860166 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @12:43PM (#35588368)
        You find me a decent reporter and I just may pay for a bit of news. The main stream is so full of sensationalist crap, it is no longer fit for purpose.
        You read things like "Tokyo's drinking water is 10,000 times above normal radiation levels". Then you look into the numbers and see that the amount is so tiny, you'd have to drink yourself to death just to get a radioactive blip.
        I say fuck em... It is not a pay wall. It is a wall to protect me from them.

        If you have any data / news for the surrounding lands of the Fukushima power plant please let me know.
        • I say fuck em... It is not a pay wall. It is a wall to protect me from them.

          ciderbrew wins the thread.
        • Yes, yes, lamestream media har har. But then you actually pick up the Sunday paper and find in-depth reporting that you would never have known otherwise, or the Book Review for top notch reviewing, or the New York Magazine for some of the best writing anywhere, or the Travel section to discover stuff you'd never see in Fodor's (which is outdated by the time you read it). Or the Arts section, for classical and theater news that are nearly impossible to find in any other non-niche periodical.

          It's easy to see
          • by HiThere ( 15173 )

            OK, I'm prejudiced. I was once a paper boy. Because of this in college I used to read the San Francisco Chronicle from cover to cover every day of the week.

            That kind of loyalty can lead to a rude awakening. The Chronicle turned from a reasonable paper into one spouting the latest fads, and spewing more misinformation than information. But I was loyal. And it got worse. Finally it was bought by Hearst, and got so bad I couldn't even read the front page anymore. Lies, misinformation, abuse, distortion

        • You're absolutely right. The amount of sensationalist and utterly pointless crap that passes for news these days is pathetic in main stream media. The New York Times isn't mainstream, and doesn't behave this way. Occasionally they get something wrong, yes. But every single day, they publish a paper that gives comprehensive insight into the world's affairs, written with clarity and which demonstrate the talents of arguably the world's best news journalists and writers. It's of huge value to our society, and
      • Ad revenue seems to work well for google....

      • We produce enough food to feed everyone. Let govt provide a basic income, so ppl can do what they really want to do instead of what a boss tells them to. Enough of us will want to do journalism because we love it that it will work.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @12:34PM (#35588202)

      No, information (and porn) does not want to be free. That is a false premise.

      People want information (and porn) to be free. Or to be more precise, people want everything they personally use to be free. It's called self-interest.

      You just have to make information (or porn) worth paying for. That's hard to do when it's so easy to comparable information (or porn) for free elsewhere.

      Just replace the word "information" with "porn" in all arguments and you get rid of the false moral calls that "free information serves a higher purpose" which is just an excuse for not paying for the benefit you get from the information.

      • by pipatron ( 966506 ) <pipatron@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @01:03PM (#35588684) Homepage
        What is it with you people that don't understand anything. "Information wants to be free" isn't some crap excuse for "lol I don't wanna pay". It means that it's fundamental for information that can be copied without loss to spread out, multiply, move around, and that you have to spend a lot of effort to prevent this unless you want it to happen. What you wish or not has nothing to do with it.
        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          by Ruke ( 857276 )
          So "information wants to be free" in the same exact sense that "banks want to be robbed" - in that, if you don't put a whole lot of time and effort into preventing it, self-interested people will attempt to take what they have no real right to, simply because it's easy.
          • You seem to have missed the whole "fundamental for information that can be copied without loss to spread out, multiply, move around" clause. A better analogy would be "money wants to be counterfeited", and even that is lacking as money is more difficult to replicate than data and requires less effort to protect.
          • I agree with how pipatron interprets "Information wants to be free".

            "Free" in this context means "to replicate". "Wants" in this context is in the same sense as genes or memes "want" to replicate. It is not the wants of people and the resulting effect on information that is described in the statement, and therefor it is not really comparable to "banks want to get robbed".

            To observe that "information wants to be free" is akin to observing that "water wants to go downwards" whereas saying "banks want to get r

          • by JWW ( 79176 )

            If banks could just make infinite copies of every dollar, yes, that would be the same thing.

            Of course my argument falls apart completely if you pay any attention to the shenanigans of the Federal reserve.

    • by mldi ( 1598123 )

      the Internet has devalued content nearly to the point where the business reason to create it is disappearing

      ...or maybe we're just moving to an open content model (i.e., like FOSS). After all, information does want to be free.

      OK, sure, information wants to be free. But guess what: free news comes with a price, and that price is reliability and dependability. Yes, we all know many news companies are biased, sometimes report on frivolous garbage, sometimes go all sensationalist, and *gasp* sometimes don't get it 100% correct. On the other hand, they also uncover many things for us (corruption on behalf of corporations, government, etc) and keep us in the loop when nobody else will, at least while being held to a higher standard. T

      • Re:devalued content (Score:4, Interesting)

        by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @04:00PM (#35591090) Homepage

        Most likely what podunk news will become is this:

        a: is the uncensored official record from the town clerk searchable and indexed well. All the official statements and speeches and everything on the record.

        b: an official summary by the mayor, firechief, police chief, etc... or their appointed press people.

        c: blogger / critics. The guy who lost for mayor but goes to all the town council meetings, along with good disucssion.

        Now I ask you doesn't that sound a heck of a lot more informative than the podunk local newspaper.

    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      The real problem is that the actual content started disappearing much earlier. Even in 1960 the news was much less than it had been earlier. This is probably due to TV, but it's also due to increasing centralization of control. And the centralization of control has continued, until now there are probably only about 4 viewpoints commonly presented in the US. Perhaps 5.

      1) Traditional conservative
      2) Modern conservative
      3) Traditional liberal
      4) Modern liberal
      5) Consipracies!! I've got conspiracies for you.


  • Or rightvalued?
    • by 0racle ( 667029 )
      Exactly. Perhaps more people are realizing that just because someone wrote it down doesn't make it valuable. Just because it is in the NYT or Wall Street Journal doesn't make it worth anything. People will, in general, pay for things if they see a worth to it, but if they don't, they won't.
      • Just because it is in the NYT or Wall Street Journal doesn't make it worth anything.

        They're both pretentious dinosaurs who think that their name alone makes them more valuable, focusing more on their brand than their content.
      • It would be different if their journalism was truly exceptional. But it's not so why pay for it?

    • The problem is that someone is posting any AP story to the internet and national news used to be reposting that with a few edits for your local paper. Now, only the NYT, WSJ and a very few other general news sources actually write stories and go beyond what the AP does. I think NYT is doing a great thing and has the right product with which to do it.

  • ISPs and content providers compete to be paid for the same thing, news at 11. In other news, people still refuse to learn how to code effectively.

  • by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @12:27PM (#35588062)

    I think blogs, and even facebook itself demonstrate very well that there will always be some content out there.

    The major news sites just have to revamp, and stop being centers for advertising but centers for content and the people will come back. when a 5 page web article only has 2 pages of actual content you have a serious problem in your layout designs.

    Besides paywalls are only good for only letting the people in who want to know your opinions. The rest of us know your opinions are just that and would prefer facts.

    • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @01:12PM (#35588798) Journal

      Yes, but what is it really worth to you for that, and how many places will you go to to pay on a recurring basis for the news? Just processing and dispute resolution can easily suck up $5-$10 a month on an account. How many of those sites are you going to pony up for? If a large scale micropayment system existed, it might work, but there are still a lot of content creators or managers who feel that the smallest discrete chunk of material is worth $1-$2. That is, of course, unsustainable if you want people to read it every day. In that case, maybe $10 a month sounds reasonable. But if you read news from half a dozen or more sources, you're looking at a very large monthly outlay.

      On the flip side, it's been shown time and again that any population interested enough in a content pool to return on a regular basis for access also has a good demographic base for advertising. It will end up with advertising eventually, and you'll still be paying. And advertisers have the advantage of being a single source for collecting revenue. It's easy to charge them 1-10c/article, because you can guarantee you'll be getting them for 100,000 hits a month - much easier than tracking 100,000 individual accounts.

    • by Hatta ( 162192 )

      The reasons for producing filler are declining. The profit motive has never been a driver of good journalism. Consider Democracy Now!, they do better journalism than any of the network news sources, and they give it away free.

  • by mattdm ( 1931 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @12:28PM (#35588090) Homepage

    The summary here seems to focus on a minor (page 3) point in the article, but, man, what a bad point it is:

    And the Times appears to be making a big mistake by letting people get unlimited access to its content if they come from Twitter and other feeds, apparently to not turn of the young-adult population. All that will do is perpetuate the free-loader culture and simply shift users to those conduits, turning them from grazers to firehose-feeders -- and undermining the whole notion of paying for frequent content usage.

    Silly. This isn't a "big mistake". It's quite canny — they're paying people (with access to content) for providing word-of-mouth advertising. The cost (an article read for free) is very low and the benefit (lots of visitors come by without being annoyed) is high. It's a good move.

    • I agree completely. Plus, if you are going to post more than a few links a month your going to need... to pay to get access.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @12:30PM (#35588120)

    Paywalls are bad because they hide information behind a wall where search engines and casual users cannot reach.

    I think the NYT implementation is brilliant, because content will still be indexed by search engines, and users can get around the paywall in various ways so casual users need not really notice there is one much.

    Where the NYT is falling down is pricing, they should provide a pricing point that lets people who want to support the paper but not be so high that it encourages skirting. The the NYT would have a pay hedge, where you could see beyond it but be happy to pay a small fee at the ornamental gate to enter if you wanted to spend more time inside.

    • They did a good job job walling off their columnists when that was a for-pay section a few back. You can request google to kep the reference, but not the full cache. A few pirate sites copied the NYT columns verbatim. But the NY was pretty effective in closing them down quickly.
      • They did a good job job walling off their columnists when that was a for-pay section a few back.

        That system worked for Google, but still kept casual users at bay. I know I read a lot fewer NYT articles at that point because I simply didn't want to bother to log in (I even had a login).

        The new system works great for both Google and casual users. It's just a question of how the NYT convinces fans (and there are a lot of NYT fans) to give them money to get a bit more. The current pricing is insane because y

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @12:40PM (#35588290)

    Check out this comparison of digital subscription prices across different media:

    You'll notice that the NY Times is grossly overpriced.

  • by almostmanda ( 774265 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @12:40PM (#35588298)
    This will fail because it's difficult for anyone to tell what links are going to work and what links won't.

    Post an article's link to your Twitter account? No paywall.
    Post it to your Facebook page? Paywall!
    Post it on your blog? No paywall!
    Send it in an email? Who knows!

    The rules are confusing. People operate on the assumption that if a link works for them, they can share it with everyone. This is going to result in a lot of frustration.
  • Right Price (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @12:42PM (#35588332)
    I like the NYT content enough to pay a flat $5/month for all web access combined. If they would hit that "why not?" price they should get plenty of subscribers. Above that and I really ask myself if it is worth it. $35/month is getting close to cable TV pricing, so I don't know what they are thinking with that.
  • No the NYT is being shat upon because they are charging more for their wares than people that serve up video and audio. It's $36/year to subscribe to Pandora. NYT wants $35 for a month's worth of access. And you think WE are the insane ones? Get a grip.

    • by blueg3 ( 192743 )

      Except they want $15/month for access.

      • Even at $15 a month, wouldn't that be too much considering the price of delivery is so low? My real point was the cost is not within reason. I predict it will fail and they will lower it.

    • by hahn ( 101816 )
      People that serve up video and audio don't have to pay for the creation of the content (at most, they have to pay for licensing which will almost always costs far less). Why are people complaining? NYT provided a price point that it thinks it's worth. If the public disagrees, we and NYT will find out soon enough. That's how capitalism works. Nobody's pointing a gun at your head to tell you must pay it. Likewise, you are not entitled to their content if you're not willing to pay what they ask. You hav
    • That would be a more valid comparison if Pandora did something other than stream content other people generated, and pay licensing fees to those people for streaming it. I can guarantee you that if Pandora actually had to find, record, produce and market the bands you're listening to through their service, the subscription fee would be a hell of a lot more than $3 / month.

      • Well let's use HBO then. It's $45-50/month to create entire TV shows that cost millions to make. Compare that to the $35/month for NYT all acess and you start to see a disparity in value. Big time.

        • Ah, I see - you think that an hour or two worth of original reporting produced & delivered daily, produced by actually hiring and sending journalists all over the world to the places where the stories are happening is MUCH cheaper than a 1-hour-a-week television show, filmed in a single location, usually with a cast and crew numbering in the dozens?

          I'm not certain your comparison underscores the point you seem to think it does. Running a news organization requires quite a few salaries, and a lot of tra

  • The major difference between print and video is the annoyance factor of ads. Advertisements in print are simple. They often are black/white, have no movement and no MUSIC SHOUTING AT YOU. (Really annoying when you view stuff at work...) They don't pop up over the content, or even under the content. Video stuff is different. Half the reason why google became so big is that they restricted adds to words, no movement, no pictures, no sound, etc.

    THIS IS A HUGE DIFFERENCE See how annoying someone shoutin

    • by sconeu ( 64226 )

      They could even offer a double route - ads if you don't pay, no ads if you do pay.

      If only there existed a tech blog that did that. I even have a great name for this theoretical site... We could call it... Slashdot!

    • TNT/USA/NBC/ and most of the internet all use an advertiser supported model. Their adds are annoying, but the content is free.

      TNT, USA, and the other cable networks aren't free. The cable/satellite provider pays the network for the channel, and that charge is rolled into the charge that customers pay for the packages that include that channel. It's not as obvious as the premium movie networks like HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc., since you don't have the option of individually subscribing to that channel.

      You also missed a third business model. The PBS model of free to everybody content, funded significantly by viewers opting to pay for

  • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @12:53PM (#35588530) Homepage Journal
    Right now a subscription to the physical paper cost abour $400 a year. To deliver to my house they have to pay a fee to transmit the paper to my local newspaper, and then pay my local paper to print and distribute the NYT. We can assume that this a non trivial cost. We can assume that some of the profit. We can also assume that what the papers are trying to fight are the falling ad revenues.

    What I can't understand is if the mobile version and web version still have ads, and the printing costs are eliminated, and distribution costs are all but eliminated, why they need to choose the $180 price point a year instead of the $99 price point. I can see $200 on the iPad, with more limited ads.

    It is the nature of an enterprise to try to maximize profit. The NYT, and The Daily, and WSJ, all are trying to maximize the value of a product. However, I can see publications like HufPo, using the overestimation of value of the other rags as an opportunity to put them out of business. I have no ill will for the NYT, I have subscribed to the digital editions when they were more reasonably priced. I think they will find few customers at this price point.

  • From a commercial sponsor. They said because I was in the "1000 click per month" group. I have to decide by Sunday. I hope I wont get inudated by extra ads then. the Times is already pretty obnoxious with an average of three video ads per page.

    At 50 cents per day, the subscription price was higher than I wanted, but not onerous. Its 1/4 the print price. I was going to procrastinate signing up hoping for some discount.
    • I got an offer on March 17, a few hours after the Important Announcement(TM), and already "decided" there. No increase in ads (just had to confirm I wanted it by re-entering my password at nytimes), but then I block Flash except from those few sites (gaming etc.) or pages that I want to use it on so I just get GIFs and JPEGs and I guess whatever cookies they feel like adding.

      So not much changed since then, other than I have a free subscription to the Web and app versions until Dec. 31 and maybe Lincoln kno

  • My biggest problem with newspaper paywalls is that in any different week I get linked to stories in probably 15-20 different news sites. If every site charged $30+ a month to access, how many could I possibly afford? I wouldn't mind paying a bit to support news agencies but if all of them put up paywalls, how can they expect us all to pay for every one of them? NYT might be able to get away with it but a model like that would dry up every small paper out there because no one would pay for them. If it were s
  • Here's the deal,

    IF news outlets can't make money, then eventually there is no need to be a news outlet. IF enough news organizations fail, then there will be a demand for GOOD journalism. When the demand is there, the money will be there, and paywalls will make good sense.

    BUT not now. Right now we've got every broadcast and cable news outlet flooding the Internet with news content. Some of it is even decent coverage. So as long as there is a decent option for free news, then paywalls are irrelevant.

    • IF news outlets can't make money, then eventually there is no need to be a news outlet.

      That may be true, unless you accept the possibility that mainstream news is little more than pure corporatist propaganda that has value to its owners that extends beyond the operating profits of the media outlet (i.e., the power to influence opinion is more valuable to the media owners than the outlet's operating profit). In that case, the real question is: does the loss of operating revenue in the Internet age make media outlets have to rely on 'selling influence' as their sole source of value?

      If there

  • Trying to get payment is hampered not so much by people's unwillingness to pay... but by the inconvenience of paying.

    1. I don't want to sign up for every single site. This is what really hampers most paywalls. The internet gives you loads of content from lots of sources. Links are being sent all the time. So you need a way to give payments without requiring people to sign up for every single site.

    2. Micro-payments seemed like an interesting solution... except once again... there is no standard and of

  • the pricing of carriers for data transport that take a larger chunk out of people's budgets than they should, making it that much harder for people to pony up for the value of the content they get through those carriers' pipes

    Bah humbug. The actual content on most sites isn't all that large. Strip out the flash ads, images unrelated to the article, gratuitous javascript, etc., and you're left with the very small amount that actually matters.

    • Do I have mod points? No. This is the single biggest reason I run noscript and adblock, folks. Making your page load thirty times faster by stripping out the crap I didn't request? Awesome. Preparing for bandwidth caps by eliminating most of the large binary blobs I download? That too. When you're paywalling three-meg flash ads, people will start resenting those shenanigans.
  • But the more troubling underlying issue is that the Internet has devalued content nearly to the point where the business reason to create it is disappearing.

    Err, you mean devalued USELESS content. Note how "we" call it "content" instead of information or news, because information and news are valuable. "content" on the other hand is a placeholder to cover up some empty space.

    Lets summarize the "valuable" content I see when I pull up the times front page right now:

    Radiation is bad for your kids. no kidding? I never knew. Thank $diety the times is here so I can learn that. I was going to feed my kids enriched U-235 tonight, but now I'm "scared straight".

    An ol

    • nice :)
    • by Phrogman ( 80473 )
      Yes, as the volume of information on the web is going up, the quality and relevance of it is decreasing. I no longer read the newspaper for the most part because I can get the information I want for free on the web - and usually faster. However, as the quality of the information on the web drops - or is lost in a sea of filler content surrounded by ads - the focused nature of the newspaper might become more attractive, but only insofar as they don't start padding it out with dreck like the stuff you listed.
  • The nerve of these massive media companies controlling almost all aspects of our knowledge of events around us and internationally. How the quality has sunk as share prices have risen, the unrelenting drive towards profit damaging concepts like professional integrity, validating the facts, and presenting the facts in a neutral fashion.Why, for all these things they've done we should pay them more.

    Er, no. The reason blogs have become so damn popular and competition for conventional media outlets is because t

  • by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @01:43PM (#35589274) Journal

    1. NYT's paywall is a stupid hack that your dog could code around.

    2. Back when newspapers were necessary, users could afford to have one, maybe two newspapers delivered, unless money was no object (and those for whom money is no object are on the other side of the economy and don't matter to this side). So they got one and they read that one religiously. And it mattered which one they chose. For a marginal amount, you could get one that was better than all of the others. You could get the news you needed for the money you had, and you weren't living with second-best. So it was a deal. Now that everyone has free access to tens of thousands of news sources, nobody needs a paper. Everyone gets more news than they need, for free. So asking people to pay for it is like asking them to pay for bottled air. Sure you'll find a few suckers, and connoisseurs, and emphysema victims or others who are dependent on your exact product, but the rest will think you're just plain nuts.

    And at this point, even if ever professional news organization on the planet went to a paywall system, people would crowd-source their information, and the only way to keep the crowd from supplying it is for the news organizations to pay significantly for information from principal sources in the crowd. But we're a ways off from that sort of global social whoredom.

  • Read all the reviews on the AppStore about how buggy the NYT iPad app is. It would be fraudulent to put the NYT behind a paywall with an app that crashes all the time. In addition, you are already "paying" for the service by virtue of all the terribly intrusive advertising you have to undure (I had an audio file just start playing on its own while I was reading an article one day...that was the straw that broke the camel's back and I uninstalled the app). Customer service was useless, editor, ombudsman and

  • Paywalls decrease the number of individual views for advertisers. Whether this will work or not remains to be seen.
    Perhaps they should have adopted an "App" model. I think it may have cost significantly less to let coders build some NYT clients/readers for various platforms.
    As to the internet devaluing content, that is the last dying grasp at a straw for industries that have failed to evolve with the rest of us. These are the same industries who alienate their customers by suing them for making backup co
  • But the more troubling underlying issue is that the Internet has devalued content nearly to the point where the business reason to create it is disappearing.

    And you expect quality news to disappear? Really? There's more valuable content than ever right now, in spite of the fact that we've been hearing the same sob story for a decade now about how there's not enough money to be made from internet advertising.

  • People don't want to pay for what they consider they have already payed for, to the ISP. What would work is some kind of micro-payment system where the ISP adds the cost of access onto your bill and channeled payment upstream to the content provider.

  • The POINT of the internet is free, unhindered access to communication or information. If your business prior to the internet was selling information, you had better figure out a way to make money by giving the same information away for free or you will fail. There are thousands of companies already making staggering amounts of money this way... stop trying to do things your old stupid way, and start doing them the new smarter way. News agrigators pissing you off? Start agrigating the news your self. Team up
  • You make two fundamental flaws; equating web content to physical goods and assuming that a system designed for academic information sharing (that originally banned all commercial activity) is well suited as a business/retail platform.

    Physical news papers have a significant cost to print and distribute, per user. One more viewer on a web site has a near-zero cost.

    Many print magazines are virtually free as subscriptions often just cover the cost of distribution. Advertising pays for the production and prin

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"