TimesSelect to become free?

TimesSelectThe subscription-only opinion section of the New York Time’s website appears ready to lose the “subscriber-only.” That’s the suggestion from a Holly M. Sanders at rival publication New York Post. There are many reasons the Times would do this. But the important thing to note here is that, unlike general planning the change appears imminent:

After much internal debate, Times executives – including publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. – made the decision to end the subscription-only TimesSelect service but have yet to make an official announcement, according to a source briefed on the matter.

The timing of when TimesSelect will shut down hinges on resolving software issues associated with making the switch to a free service, the source said.

At this point, it’s all conjecture, but since when would a paper publish something that they knew wasn’t true? Possible reasons for the change suggested by the Post and others include:

  • People paying to read Maureen Dowd, Frank Rich and Thomas L. Friedman
  • The controversy of walled-off columns
  • Internal strife regarding shutting down the service
  • Maureen Dowd
  • Declining numbers of subscribers (though the drop reported doesn’t that large, it definitely doesn’t indicate growth)
  • Pete Cashmore suggests it’s a reaction to Rupert Murdoch and the WSJ
  • People. Paying. To read Maureen Dowd

Lowering the barrier to blogging will do nothing to hurt ad sales or page views. In fact, it’ll greatly increase the prominence of the columns (and columnists…such as Maureen Dowd). Plus, there’s what the bloggers will do [INSERT INSIDIOUS LAUGHTER WITH THUNDER AND LIGHTNING HERE].

Until Kevin finally figures out that he hasn’t deleted my login, I’ll keep posting other stuff at the still-not-prettied-up WizbangTech.

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