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The New York Times has finally scrapped Times Select — the service that charges online users a fee to read certain columns, archives and blogs. It turns out advertisers didn’t like it, and neither did the columnists whose readership declined after their work went behind a paid wall.
I didn’t like it, either. Although I buy the Times almost every day for my subway ride, I’m not a subscriber. So going online meant having to pay an extra fee for content that frankly was usually picked up by the blogs, in any case. The added value just wasn’t that great when I was scanning for headlines and had already seen most of the paper.
Classmates.com is a different case of charging for content. What bothers me here is that the company seduces users into signing up for free membership (I think I was linked to it from some other site once) and then requires them to upgrade to a paid service to check any messages that are sent their way.
I don’t want to pay a monthly fee just to see who signed a guestbook when I didn’t even write up a profile. And yet I get a constant steam of e-mails from the site, so now I am trying to take all traces of myself out of there. It may boast 40 million members but I wonder how many of them actually find the site to be bothersome. Something to think about as it prepares for its public offer.
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