Only the dumb or loyal will pay?
Saturday, January 23rd, 2010
All of us are still puzzling over the implications (and ambit) of NYT’s move to a paywall for its online content, announced this week for implementation in January 2011.
The initial announcement suggested each visitor would get a certain number of free visits — a teaser or sampler — after which they would have to start paying. Print subscribers (me!) would get free access.
Today, Jay Rosen read the NYT-leaves and highlighted statements suggesting that NYT plans NOT to charge people who are referred to an article via a link on another site. This is Rosen’s summary of the meaning of this loophole:
for those people who get their news from the web itself, using search, aggregators social media and blogs to find the stuff they want, the stuff they find from the New York Times will always be available, free of charge. That looks a lot less like a pay wall to me. It isn’t a metered system if I can access the Times via the link economy without limit. This scrambles a lot of what’s been written on the subject.
One reading is that this is a loophole big enough to drive (or steal) a newspaper through.
The outcome could be perverse: loyal patrons, the people deserving the newspaper’s best service and pricing, will pay extravagantly. Drive-by users, without any loyalty or long-term commitment, will be treated royally.
The net result: loyal customers are punished and the best and most relevant info, curated by the social media machine, will be free.