Monday, September 19, 2005

Select This!

Dear New York Times:

I'm sure I'm not the only person writing you today about the "New York Times Select" subscribership program you just launched. So I'll briefly register my disappointment, then allow you to get back to reading messages from the hundreds and thousands of people who think it's a brilliant idea.

What's that, you say? You have plenty of time? I thought so.

I guess I should have known this was in the works years ago, when I was required to "register" before I could read the Times's online content. You just needed to spend time reviewing the data and identifying what content was the most popular, the "most emailed" -- and then you'd make your money grab. Go capitalism go. I'm glad to have helped you out with that process.

I'll never pay a dime for "Times Select" coverage. I don't rely on Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich for information. I simply enjoyed following their dogged attacks on this godawful Presidential Administration. There's plenty of that content available elsewhere online. Dunno if you've noticed, but in this day and age you don't have to be affiliated with an elite newspaper to have your views published.

And so I wonder what you expect to achieve by locking this opinion content away for a "Select" population. Do you expect to endow some artificial "Select" status on these columns? Is this how you plan to get their "groove back" from the blogs? Have the columnists bought in? It would seem to me that if Dowd, Rich et al. really want to influence world events, they would want to make their pitch to as broad a readership as possible, and not that substantially smaller subset of readers who will fork over $50 for it.

Or are they getting a percentage cut for themselves?