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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Sun, 20 Oct 2013

I read 10 NYTimes articles today, and it'll cost me 99 cents for the first four weeks to read more, then $15 per month

I don't read NYTimes.com articles that often. But I got a link to one and started clicking around a bit.

There were little "warnings" along the way -- "You've read 5 of 10 ..." -- but I just kept going.

After 10 articles, I got the screen you see at the top of this post.

Now NYTimes.com is probably worth 99 cents for four weeks. But that goes up to .75 a week after that trial period.

That's also known as a 1400 percent increase.


I'm not a big NYTimes fan. I like the work of David Pogue, don't get me wrong, and NYTimes.com's technology coverage is pretty good. But it's a crowded field, and while I know you get the rest of the great journalism from the NYTimes for that .75 per week, which adds up to per month, the fact is that most media sites charge a lot less.

In fact most are free.

It's hard to charge a month and make a case that your content has that kind of value when most of your competitors are giving it away and hoping to support their operations with advertising.

If you're a big, huge, big (did I say "big" already?) fan and reader of the New York Times and spend hours a day on the site, I can justify you paying the per month.

But when it comes to technology news, there's a lot of competition out there, and the New York Times doesn't really stand out.

And for that reason, per month really doesn't beat free.

Here's my caveat: If this is working for NYTimes.com, and they're making a ton of money from subscriptions, MORE POWER TO THEM. I would like nothing better than for this sort of thing to work. But in today's Web news climate, I just can't see it.

I certainly CAN see niche content aimed at well-heeled business audiences commanding a subscription premium. And I can also see a micropayment-based model working out.

I can see online journalism dying on the proverbial vine without something to fund it.

But a blanket /month? That's for the New York Times faithful only, and that's not me.