(reposting from SmartMobs.com)
The New York Times will stop charging for access to parts of its Web site, effective at midnight Tuesday night. — Thus begins the article in the online Times announcing that TimesSelect is no more, archives from 1987 to the present will now be free, and so will some of the older archives. How wonderful!
With my interest in education, I have particularly agonized over the fact that because its terrific articles and multimedia creations for science, arts and other subjects have only been free for a few days, they have been walled off from students and from connecting for other educational purposes. The most telling aspect, though, in terms of affirming the open future for Internet content is the business side of the Times decision, as it explains today:
The Times said the project had met expectations, drawing 227,000 paying subscribers — out of 787,000 over all — and generating about $10 million a year in revenue.
Link to their website --> http://www.nytimes.com/
"But our projections for growth on that paid subscriber base were low, compared to the growth of online advertising," said Vivian L. Schiller, senior vice president and general manager of the site, NYTimes.com.
What changed, The Times said, was that many more readers started coming to the site from search engines and links on other sites instead of coming directly to NYTimes.com. These indirect readers, unable to get access to articles behind the pay wall and less likely to pay subscription fees than the more loyal direct users, were seen as opportunities for more page views and increased advertising revenue.
"What wasn't anticipated was the explosion in how much of our traffic would be generated by Google, by Yahoo and some others," Ms. Schiller said.
The Times's site has about 13 million unique visitors each month, according to Nielsen/NetRatings, far more than any other newspaper site. Ms. Schiller would not say how much increased Web traffic the paper expects by eliminating the charges, or how much additional ad revenue the move was expected to generate. . . .