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Arr! Pirates Take Back the Times

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Just got an e-mail from NYTimes.com confirming the end of the two-year-old TimesSelect subscription experiment. Our friends in New York are thrilled about this and so are we. All the content fit to publish should be freely available. The e-mail isn't exactly a Steve Jobs-esque love letter, leaving us to wonder whether or not there will be rebates for those who recently plunked down $50 for the right to indulge in the opinions of Maureen Dowd, Frank Rich, Nick Kristof, et al (today including Dick Cavett and Joi Ito).

How will NYTimes.com recoup the reported tens of millions they won't be seeing by providing all of their content for free? A good ol' ten second full-page ad of course. Since today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, we figured we'd have a little fun with it, matey!

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Factoid: The LA Times Sunday print edition is second to the Sunday New York Times in terms of circulation. The Timeses are the only papers in the U.S. with Sunday circulation surpassing 1 million copies (as of March 2007 [.pdf]).

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Read on for a reprint of the e-mail.

Dear TimesSelect Subscriber, We are ending TimesSelect, effective today.

The Times's Op-Ed and news columns are now available to everyone free of charge, along with Times File and News Tracker. In addition, The New York Times online Archive is now free back to 1987 for all of our readers.

Why the change?

Since we launched TimesSelect, the Web has evolved into an increasingly open environment. Readers find more news in a greater number of places and interact with it in more meaningful ways. This decision enhances the free flow of New York Times reporting and analysis around the world. It will enable everyone, everywhere to read our news and opinion - as well as to share it, link to it and comment on it.

We thank you for your support of TimesSelect, and hope you continue to enjoy The New York Times in all its electronic and print forms.

For more information, including answers to frequently asked questions, click here:

http://www.nytimes.com/marketing/ts

To contact Customer Service, please send an e-mail to ordercs@nytimes.com.

Sincerely,

Vivian Schiller
Senior Vice President & General Manager
NYTimes.com

NYTimes.com editorial staff explains its decision to free the goods: