When I came across the news this morning that The New York Times had finally put up its paywall subscription my first reaction was – oh well no more quoting the NYTimes anymore.
Then I read some numbers about the whole paywall thing and found out that it has taken the NYTimes some 14 months and $40million dollars to figure out the plan of attack and then putting it all in place.
$40 million for a method of trying to get people to pay for the same stuff they can find from other big name news sites on the web; and not a single innovative idea to try and encourage people to subscribe.
But the part that really got me was that, in what has to be a first, Canada gets to be the guinea pig. As if we’re big consumers of the New York Times in the first place.
Now I was going to try and put together a post full of biting sarcastic thoughts on this brain dead idea but then I read what has to be the absolute best rebuttal of both the paywall idea and the fact that they think Canadians are going to jump all over this.
It is a post by Marcus Carab at Techdirt and as much as I would love to just repost the whole thing I’ll pick out a couple of the salient barbs and then suggest heading over to Techdirt to read the whole thing.
First Marcus thanks NYTimes for letting us be the guinea pig:
Your plan makes perfect sense. The average Canadian starts his day chopping down trees and ends it with igloo sex (which is awesome, by the way) so we don’t need something to be “smooth” and “fine-tuned” unless it’s an axe or a Chippewa concubine. So by all means use us as your whetstone before you go hacking away at the American market – we don’t mind in the slightest. New York is still basically a mythical place to us, so every article you publish is like a dispatch from Oz, and who wouldn’t want to pay for that?
Then a shot at the paywall idea as it stands today
So thank you New York Times for singling Canada out as the only place on the entire planet that deserves to test your unfinished product. Of course, it’s not entirely clear why it’s still unfinished, since the $40-million you spent developing it is more than the combined wealth of our entire nation ever since Celine Dion moved to Vegas, but we have faith nonetheless. I sincerely hope that, with our help, your paywall will be a big hit in the real world.
Awesome stuff Marcus, you make Canada proud.