Saturday, September 17, 2005

I PREDICT they'll end this nonsense in six months, one year maximum:
The marquee columnists for The New York Times' Op-Ed page _ including Thomas L. Friedman, Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich _ generate lots of interest and discussion online. Now, the paper is hoping they'll also generate something else: cash.

Beginning Monday, the Times will begin charging $49.95 a year to people who don't get the paper delivered at home for access to those writers as well as other columnists for the Times' business, metro and sports sections.

The new service called TimesSelect will also include access to the Times' archives, early looks at some sections of the paper and online tools for tracking and storing articles from the Times Web site. The Times will still maintain a separate premium service for its crossword puzzles.

It's a bold move for the Times since the restrictions are certain to reduce the online exposure for those columnists, whose articles are routinely among the most e-mailed items on the Times' Web site. The Times could also see a decline in traffic to its site after bloggers can no longer link to articles by the columnists.
UPDATE. This is just one of the reasons why.

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