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May 09

NYT to Follow Pledge Model Too?

This is going to be interesting.  I said a couple of days ago that Wikipedia should follow public radio’s pledge model.  But now the New York Times seems to be considering the same membership model, according to an article by the New York Observer, as well as a metered model that tracks how many free pages you viewed before asking you to pay for additional pages.

So why didn’t I single out the New York Times as something that I could live without?  I do read nytimes.com, so while I consider it an important source of news, it’s not my only source.  In fact, I usually read a few websites for every story that I consider important because I realize that every source has “its angle”.  I would lose a valuable source of information if nytimes.com went entirely behind a pay wall like the Wall Street Journal, but I feel that I have enough websites to understand a story without it.

The key question is whether the New York Times is going to alienate the frequent users who may feel that they are being asked to pay for other, “lighter” users.  Is the New York Times unique enough in the information marketplace to be able to charge a premium, or is it considered simply as another news provider by the market?  Will it be able to find out how high to set the bar between free and paid users?  The Grey Lady is about to find out.

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