There’s a lot of harrumphing around the blogosphere about the New York Times' decision to again put up paywalls for digital access (the last attempt, TimesSelect, was shuttered in 2007). People are gaming out the angles: Have they chosen the right price points at as much as $20 a month? Why the different prices for the iPad app vs. website access vs. print subscriptions?
But the whole approach is wrong-headed. With its large, affluent, reasonably liberal and guilt-ridden audience, the Times would have more monetary success and more brand success with an NPR-like pay-what-you-will membership model with free events, tote bags, and other goodies thrown in…
The paper should build up [its] goodwill rather than make [readers and fans] feel bilked, or have to puzzle over the merits of various pricing models as though we were shopping for cable packages.
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