Canadians first to pay for New York Times' free news

A social media loophole still allows you to get to articles for free

When the U.S. media rolls out new services on the Internet, they often hit Canada last. Not this time.

The New York Times‘ confusing new paywall went live in Canada yesterday, 11 days before the rest of the world will get it.  It seems we’re to be their guinea pigs.  How cool to finally be ahead of the curve!  If you missed the baffling details of their new subscription scheme, here’s how it breaks down:

  • You get 20 free articles a month
  • Once you go over, you hit the paywall.  Pay or go home (or, y’know, go to any other online newspaper).
  • Payment is $15 for 4 weeks of web and smartphone app access
  • or $20 for web plus tablet app access
  • or $35 for everything (shouldn’t that be $25?)
  • or pay nothing, if you get to the NYT article you want through Google news or through a link on Facebook or Twitter.

Yes, that last part is for real; the Times doesn’t want to lock itself out of the benefits of social media link-sharing, so they’ve purposefully left a side-door open that allows readers to get to any article for free, just so long as they’re referred to it from Google, or from some goof’s Twitter account. (In an unrelated matter, I’d like to announce my new Twitter feed, @ShewShorkShimes.)

So who’s going to pay for this? And why will readers pay now when they ignored the Times‘ last two failed attempts to throw up a paywall?

I hate to dump on the Gray Lady (ew!), and I generally feel that the Times understands the Internet better than most papers. Their interactive features are incredible!  But this just makes no sense.

A free follow from @ShewShorkShimes to the first commenter who can explain to me what the Times is thinking here.

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