Monday, April 4, 2011

NY Times paywall situation and the Kindle. 99 CENTS 1st 4 wks - UPDATE

UPDATE 4/4/11 (Original post was April 2, at 1:40pm.)
The NY Times has an introductory special for full access to the NY Times website and applicable devices:  99¢ for your first 4 weeks.

Some had already used up their 20/mo. quota already and were waiting for Amazon and the NYTimes to get the processes working for the NYTimes on Kindle-Edition option (which may take a few weeks before it's ready) so that they could get the NYT's web access that goes with the Kindle plan which isn't currently available.   This is key for existing Kindle subscribers and works for all the digital device plans being offered right now.

For KINDLE (no choice shown yet), I chose the smartphone app and it worked, as we don't need provide a smartphone model or install the app.

However, you are charged 99 cents and then you give Authorization for them to take autopayments near your due dates.  You can cancel and get refunds or credits and stop the subscription.  I used Paypal.  Some won't want to give such authorizations though.  However, I want my regular full access until I can decide what I want to do next month.

  This was seen by Caddis Nymph of the Amazon Kindle forums, and I finally found it on the Times site.

The original posting
When the New York Times site started charging, at the end of March, for access to the news website after 20 articles have been selected for reading in a month, they announced that full-access would be given to people who are either print subscribers or mobile-phone subscribers, and online columnists wondered aloud why e-readers were not also included for a combo deal.

 Within only a few hours, the Times website was changed to show that Kindle-Edition subscribers will also get full access to the new pay web-version of the New York Times.

  However, Amazon says it will keep in touch with subscribers on how it's proceeding during the next few weeks.  So it looks to be awhile before the access kicks in.
  There is no current option for the Nook, Kobe, or Sony e-readers.

  The plan for web-access + mobile phone access is
    $15 every 4 weeks (rather than every month).
  The plan for web-access + iPad access is $20 per month.
  The plan for access to all 3 types is $35.

  In the meantime, I explored the situation because I had taken the 60-day trial-subcription recently for the Kindle Edition and it is the one national paper I -might- subscribe to (in Kindle format) because their articles are so thorough and well written (otherwise I just go get the Sunday Kindle editions which are easily more than worth it), but I decided I couldn't justify $19.99/mo. and said so in the feedback I gave.  While we've been able read the text-only versions via the Kindle web browser, that won't be possible either, with the paywall as a barrier after 20 website-article accesses in a month.

NYT's first Paywall effort and this one - the differences
  The last time the NY Times tried a paywall, they did not allow access to the popular editorial writers' columns and that didn't go over well.  When something is wholly off-limits (and previously was not), people tend to be  resentful and resistant, so people found ways around it, with people getting the articles and emailing them to large lists of people.   So, that experiment failed.

  This time, they've left the full paper available to all, up to 20 articles accessed in a month, with other access possible and expected.
  The smart thing they've done is to allow further access to articles if you read them via a link from Facebook or Twitter.  Digital Faq wording from their help pages:
' Readers who come to Times articles through links from search engines, blogs and social media will be able to read those articles, even if they have reached their monthly reading limit...On all major search engines, users will have a daily limit on free links to Times articles. [!]
Here are a few examples of "section fronts":
Politics | Arts | Opinion

And here are some examples of "blog fronts":
Well | Bits | City Room '

For nonsubscribers, articles from their archives from 1923 through 1986 are $3.50 each, and views of archived articles outside that date range are free alhough they would still count toward the 20-article monthly limit for free access.  Subscribers get full access to the archives too..

Digital-only subscribers to The Times can create only one account (with one e-mail address and password).  I'm not including pricing information for print subscribers, because the focus here is what Kindle subscribers will get.

The NYT subscription options include unlimited access to on any computer and on NYTimes apps for iPhone, BlackBerry and Android smartphones, as well as iPad tablets.

  BUT, they have no digital subscription to only the NYTimes.  It's always a part of a package, with smartphone apps, the iPad, or the Kindle.

Re the flexibility this time -- To the question below, the New York Times's responses to some questions (emphases mine) :
' Can I still access articles through Facebook, Twitter, search engines or my blog?

We encourage links from Facebook, Twitter, search engines, blogs and social media.
  When you visit through a link from one of these channels, that article (or video, slide show, etc.) will count toward your monthly limit of 20 free articles, but you will still be able to view it even if you've already read your 20 free articles. '

  BUT access to the web-NYT articles through Search Engines involves somewhat tougher rules:
' Like other external links, links from *search engine* results will count toward your monthly limit. If you have reached your monthly limit, you'll have a daily limit of 5 free articles through a given search engine. This limit applies to the majority of search engines. '

Interesting theory about the flexibility reports some theories on why the Times is giving Facebook and Twitter links unlimited access while click-throughs from links using a search engine like Google are limited to only 5 per day.
' According to Matt Rosoff from Business Insider, the Times sees a clear traffic pattern, where social networking sites are driving “a ton of newspaper traffic.”  MG Siegler at TechCrunch basically shares the same opinion, but adds an interesting nuance:  Because people who use Facebook and Twitter to access news are usually younger, tech savvy, and are used to getting information at no cost, the NYT is trying to preserve that relationship with those users… at least for now. '

Their last FAQ point is this:
' Subscribers to The New York Times on Kindle will receive full access to  We are currently working through the technical requirements to verify Kindle subscriber accounts and offer access.  More information will be available soon.

At this time, we're not able to connect other e-reader subscriptions to an subscription.  Each must be purchased separately. '

So, the upshot is that the $19.99/mo. for a Kindle subscription to The NY Times becomes somewhat more attractive to those who enjoy that newspaper, with the unhindered access to the new NYT website included now.

Why the NYT is trying a paywall again
Like other U.S. newspapers, the NYT is losing money, with less print advertising revenue, falling circulation and readers going to to the Web for their news.  This has been documented.

Some might enjoy the article from The Onion on this situation.

Reaction to the new NY Times plans?
I haven't seen much reaction to the New York plans this time, probably due to the flexibility mentioned.  And I've not noticed forum threads on the New York Times inclusion of the Kindle edition.

  I'd like to read any thoughts some of you may have on this one.  In this climate, many may feel a national newspaper subscription is a luxury.  Some will find it worthwhile.  It's a gamble for the NYTimes.

 And if they succeed in this plan the way they have implemented it, will other newspapers decide they want to do this too?  Would other newspaper sites attract as many subscribers as the NY Times might?  I doubt it.  It's staid but it is incredibly thorough.

  Does bundling it to the Kindle make it more attractive?  It does for me, but it's only because I've become convinced The NYT has to do something to stay viable and I like that they've given free access to 20 articles a month and, in essence, unlimited access for those who will depend on getting stories from others linking to their NYT stories from places like Facebook and Twitter (although it's been said the NYT will not be supporting blog or webpages created just to hold NYT links).

  Also, Google searches will get you another 5 a day, and then so would and ...

  Many of my friends forward New York Times articles for private e-mail group discussions of stories (ostensibly maybe not part of NYT and news-reader agreements, but reality enters here) and say it's the one paper they might find worth a subscription.  Some are thinking of finding a way to share a subscription by chipping in to be able to keep discussions going instead of finding links at Facebook.

  But I'm interested in the thoughts of others reading this blog article.  It's a bit of a sea change, for one thing.

Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.
UK-Only: recently published non-classics, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

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  1. I read frequently, it seems the best in nearly every category (depth, breadth, speed, etc) Almost all of my reading is via web-access. Tried the Kindle daily, just didn't seem anywhere near as complete. Frankly, just not sure what I am going to do. They don't offer a "only web-access" plan, and paying $200 per year is a lot. Maybe I'd pay $100/year for web-access. I suspect I'll try one of the sneaky methods for getting around the paywall. Would be nice if there was some way to see how many articles you have accessed (ie 12 of 20), but I can't find it. I understand their need and motivation, I just don't want to shell out that much. But I do really like

  2. Peter, [edited & reposted]
    Which "Kindle daily" ? The full NYT has practically all text. I use the NYT Latest Headlines (several times a day I get headline and story updates for $1.99/mo., which I would drop) then.

    $240/mo. IS a lot. I preferred the idea when it was seen as a monthly thing (since we can stop it at any time) but that's really difficult to justify for most.

    They would do better to charge what you mention for just the web access.

    The 'sneaky' methods are not sneaky. They encourage them. They know they get something out of that also.

    I do have that wording for notifications but thought my blog article was already entirely too wordy. Here it is, from the Digital FAQ I link to in the story:

    "#15. How can I keep track of how many articles I have read each month?

    'When you get close to your monthly limit, pop-up alerts will begin to appear at the bottom of pages you read on The alerts will tell you how many free articles remain in the current month. Note that the number of "remaining" articles does not include the article you're currently viewing; the current article counts as an "already read" article.'

    I do use more than one article a day of course. So 20 won't do, but the workarounds suggested by them, of using Facebook and Twitter links, do provide for unlimited access to articles of interest. You can see the summaries for sections and front page and use 3 or 4 search engines for the title...

    Most interesting stories do show up on the social media sites...

    Write them to let them know you'd consider a web-only for about $100/yr. That's something they shouldn't ignore.

  3. Andrys, Thanks for the reply. The "sneaky methods" I'm thinking about are not the Facebook / Twitter links, but the Javascript hacks that one can install inside a browser. I'll admit I don't know anything about them yet, but might have to learn.

  4. Very interesting piece. I'm about to do a big piece for them, so I'm interested in how readers feel about it.

    I found you because of your nice comments about my book in your 'Books I'm enjoying' sidebar. Thanks. (BTW, I think it's OK to enjoy a book about a painful topic. There is enjoyment and satisfaction in discovery.)

  5. Interesting article about the little applet "NYTClean" that gets around the paywall. The NY Times has only objected, so far, to the use of the copyrighted name but NOT to the use of an applet to bypass the paywall.

  6. Peter,
    I did read about various plans for "countering" the counter, so to speak. We'll each find our own way.
    It could be that they've made no lower Times-only plan because those who go to the $0-plans are already factored in and would likely opt for $0 where tools offer it, and the $20/mo. too-high subscriptions {'too-high' because it doesn't make sense to pay a lot to read news from varied sources if they're all charging} is to cover anticipated loss areas.

    In a sense, the $0-revenue ones would be similar in features to those who will (need to) depend on NYT links from blogs or social media (officially allowed by NYT) -- and NYT knows they have to factor those in, in their pricing.

    As opined by someone quoted in the article -- there could be a benefit in even that group's attention to the articles, if it's not out of hand.

    I still think they should have a NYT-only, lower cost plan but they've studied the possibilities and it's their gamble. I hope they do well enough by it to the extent we can continue to have access to the current quality level, although I see that two long-time opinion editors with larger followings have left or are leaving. For staff wanting to depend on jobs and salaries, the outlook may not look great.

  7. Hi, Dave -
    It's Andrys ('Kindleworld' on Twitter). I did finish the book but left the box as-is in hopes others will take a look at it - that was done before your NYT Top 10 listings etc.

    Because I needed the Kindle search feature to find people already mentioned in a Kindle book but whose prior references I wanted to review for what was said about them earlier, I included a screen capture of Search results for your book and used it as an example of how to do this for finding past instances of a name in a book. That's at

    Will look for your article and hope it fits in my 20 per month :-)

  8. Re workarounds: the Times probably hasn't objected much to the concept simply because there isn't an effective way to prevent them.

    There are only a few ways to allow limited access to pages on a site without requiring them to register, and each method has a countermeasure. Perhaps they'll start by tracking approximate usage: if there are many, many "first-time" hits and not a lot of hits beyond 10 or so, they might have to consider some alternative method of screening non-subscribers.

  9. zlionsfan,
    True. However, starting years ago, they didn't allow article access at their site unless you registered (for free).

    People linked there may not have to register to view the linked article, but I don't remember. I would think they'd require that on the first access because it gives them a database of interested web-readers which most of them want.

    So they do have that. It'd be difficult to monitor/catch the javascript counter-changers, and maybe they'll decide it's not worth it and figure their interest is similar to the those "encouraged" to use links from the social media sites and blogs which will show the articles even if we're beyond 20 for a month. Which is pretty good.

  10. Andrys, thanks for all of that. I read the other post and I'm excited about that find feature once I get a kindle. That's one of my biggest frustrations when I read a book spread out over time: remembering who certain characters were.

    On the Times, I really hope they find the right balance to allow a lot of access, while generating revenue. As a reader, I love getting to the Times free. But that's making it nearly impossible for writers and journalists to make a living.

    I've spoken to many journalism classes the past two years, and there are virtually no jobs for any of those kids on the horizon. We're eliminating entire generations of talent.

  11. My2¢worth and zlionsfan,
    In addition to what you said was happening, some have reported they're turning off javascript on the site for now, which of course will bring some oddities (Background auto log-on etc.) Javascript is needed for a lot there and I think it might be more trouble than it's worth.

    No one should begrudge the Times the 99c for the first 4 weeks, but to get it one must give a credit card and agree to automated payments before the due dates. I think that resistance by some is so high that this won't invite enthusiasm. In my case I'm sure the subs can be cancelled and refunds/credits given as said, if one forgets to stop it (unless choosing to continue). And, it could be said they want to offer the 99c trial only to seriously-interested web subscribers.

  12. Well, I'm still confused about much of the NYT paywall thing. I've had a Kindle subscription for quite a while and am currently billed monthly for the daily download. Then I signed up for the 99c deal, noting on my calendar to remind me when I should unsubscribe to avoid the new monthly charge for full access. But I do appreciate the info you've pulled together here, since it's been difficult to find on Amazon or NYT.

    Caddis Nymphy

  13. Caddis/Albert,
    I don't know anyone who's NOT confused about the NYT paywall details!

    They ought to refund you when the process is in place, but it's nice to be able to continue the full access instead of looking around Facebook and Twitter for someone with the links :-)

    Thanks for the alert you gave!

  14. Dave,
    I do hear you on the situation for newspaper/magazine writers and journalists.

    It's tough in that newspapers on the Net trained people to expect the web version for free because advertising was to pay for it.

    It's difficult for advertisers whether they're getting what they want for money spent, as most of us have ad-blockers or just learn to ignore ads.

    Maybe you read the Onion article I linked. That pretty much says it, and journalism that goes to the story (rather than repeating someone else's work as we bloggers usually do) and gets it in detail (as you do), with analysis or a good basis for it, is pretty important.

    There ought to be a way to handle it the way TV does but we now pay the TV cable or satellite companies.

    Pls send an alert when your piece for the NYT is published.

  15. When the NYT online paywall was announced I wrote to the NYT and asked how online access through the link provided at Starbucks shops would be handled. After all the Starbucks link provides seamless full access around the Wall Street Journal online paywall.

    I have not received any answer from the NYT.

  16. I'm hoping you'll trumpet the news when the Kindle/NYTimes thing is explained/functional. I just tried the 2 week trial of the NYTimes on my Kindle - I liked it, and it seemed a decent way to pay for the NYT in a way that would give my wife unfettered web access.... but I'm not going to pay till they have this working.... (currently I'm doing the smartphone thing for the $.99 trial - but I like the Kindle better).

  17. Joel,
    I'll be trumpeting the news since I am on that 99c intro plan also but I won't be paying that price until I can get both the web and Kindle versions, as neither alone is worth it to me. I picked smartphone but I don't have to use the smartphone app -- I just 'get to' ...

    The new thing is that since the newspapers were made available for the Android (and sync'g) these are available in the Archived Items folder of the Kindles on one account.

  18. ? How does that work? (the Kindle/Android NYTimes connection). I don't see any back NYTimes in my archive on the Android, but I sent the NYTimes trial to my Kindle. Do you mean, if I had sent them TO the phone, they'd be in the real Kindle's Archive?


  19. Joel,
    You can get NYT web access in the following ways digitally:
    1. NYTweb & smartphone app - $15 every 4 wks, or
    2. NYTweb & tablet app - $20 every 4 weeks, or
    3. NYTweb & Kindle - $20/mo., or
    4. NYTweb & all of the above for $35/mo.

    See their Digital FAQ.

    The Kindle subscription we get has newspaper or magazine issues that are also seen in our Kindle's Archived Items these days.

    The -Kindle- App for Android (different from the NYT.Com app for Android) is an app that lets you read normal book content on your Android -- The read-anywhere feature of a Kindle app.

    But, again, that's different from a NYT app for Android. I don't know if Android smartphones keep archives for newspapers or not.

    The NYT trial to the Kindle is, as far as I know, is not ready yet. They're working on how they confirm subscriptions to mobile devices that then allow web access.

    The NYT that's long been available in Kindle Edition subscription format is a normal Kindle newspaper subscription for the Kindle. I don't know how that affects the Android device as an alternate to the Kindle for reading the way we can read Kindle books on our Android devices.

    Newspapers and blogs have always had more stringent restrictions placed on them by the publisher.

    And, none of the other smartphones can access Kindle blogs and newspapers yet.

    I'd be interested in what you experience as you go, on this. The NYTimes is NOT ready for the Kindle itself, yet, so at this time there's no way you'd also see it on your Android.

    But I'm curious what you WILL see when our Kindle subscriptions with Web NYT access are ready for us.

    Sorry I don't know more. :-)


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