Over the past four years, I have sneezed the NYTimes brand to clients, prospects or colleagues on more than a thousand occasions. I receive a no-charge daily headline service from the Times and quite regularly forward an article to others, which brings the recipient into contact with the NYTimes brand. I am an evangelist for the NYTimes.
But that is about to change.
The Times has decided to launch what they describe as an "exiting" new program, whereby I will be asked to pay $40 a year for a portion of the service I have been receiving at no charge. When I wrote to ask them how this was "exciting" they replied with:
- Please understand that the vast majority of our news, features and multimedia will remain free including our Editorials and Letters to the Editor. Additionally, the distinct voices of our columnists will continue to be readily available in the paper edition on newsstands, and through libraries, colleges and universities.
They described the decision to start charging as "prudent" and the new fee as "modest."
Hmmm - I'm not sure it was prudent to make a move that will reduce the number of people reading their material, especially when similar material is still available at no charge from many online sources. Perhaps they should have done something foolish -- make more money by encouraging MORE people to read them online.
If adding fees and making it more difficult to access their content was the "prudent" thing to do, perhaps they should have been a bit less prudent and a lot more FOOLISH.