I blog using many New York Times links in my posts. With the recent rollout of TimesSelect, I now find that linking to an article that is part of TimesSelect is problematic. News articles are still available free to me and my readers thanks to Dave Winer & Aaron Swartz’ New York Times Link Generator. But this will no longer work w. TS articles (OpEd, sports, business, and International Herald Tribune columnists). So while I as a home subscriber have access to TS, many of my readers will not. Any time I link to such an article, many if not most of my readers will have no access (unless they join TS).
One can argue (& people do) that the Times has a right to monetize its assets and make a profit off them. After all, a newspaper that isn’t a going concern won’t be able to provide any service to anyone. But imagine all or most major U.S. newspapers doing similar things to their online content. Then to read news or political blogs you’d have to subscribe not just to TimesSelect. You’d have to subscribe to the site of every newspaper whose online articles you’d like to read in blogs. Think of how expensive this could become.
Why can’t NYT look at bloggers and their readers as an asset in itself bringing millions of eyeballs to nytimes.com, where they will view ads and buy products they find at the site? If I bring visitors to their site I think I deserve some consideration (on behalf of my readers). Why do they have to make my readers pay for the privilege of reading articles I link to on their site? The Times marketers make a serious mistake in equating my visitors who want to read a NYT article and someone who comes to their site through their own personal choice (i.e. without a link referral).
What’s even more troubling about this is that if TS works for NYT, then they are likely to move more content into the TS framework, thereby diminishing availability of even more NYT content to bloggers & readers. It’s a real slippery slope and it doesn’t bode well for bloggers using news content. Though to be fair, the TS FAQs do contain this statement:
Is this just the beginning? Will the entire site eventually go pay?
There are no plans to make the entire site a paid site.
You’ll notice they don’t say “there are no plans to restrict more content to TS-only.” They probably don’t say this because they DO expect to add content to TS. They only say they don’t plan to “make the entire site paid.” Well, of course, if they did that (rendered the entire site paid) their entire readership (but especially their online readers) would be up in arms.