The New York Times Paywall is Coming

Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. spammed me this morning to say that the NYT.com is moving to a subscription model very soon.

I blog about this topic only because I was once such an ardent front line promoter of the free-and-open model back in 1995 when Forbes.com launched and the traditional newsroom wanted the Wall Street Journal paid-sub model. I still maintain subscription content is a mistake in most cases, or at the very least, digital access should always be free to those antediluvian enough to continue paying for the print version.

Anyway, here’s the terms of the Times – of some interest as they surveyed me last fall with a lot of different possible scenarios and permutations. I’m moot due to the print subscription:

“On NYTimes.com, you can view 20 articles each month at no charge (including slide shows, videos and other features). After 20 articles, we will ask you to become a digital subscriber, with full access to our site.

On our smartphone and tablet apps, the Top News section will remain free of charge. For access to all other sections within the apps, we will ask you to become a digital subscriber.

The Times is offering three digital subscription packages that allow you to choose from a variety of devices (computer, smartphone, tablet). More information about these plans is available at nytimes.com/access.

Again, all New York Times home delivery subscribers will receive free access to NYTimes.com and to all content on our apps. If you are a home delivery subscriber, go to homedelivery.nytimes.com to sign up for free access.

Readers who come to Times articles through links from search, blogs and social media like Facebook and Twitter will be able to read those articles, even if they have reached their monthly reading limit. For some search engines, users will have a daily limit of free links to Times articles.

The home page at NYTimes.com and all section fronts will remain free to browse for all “

The local rag, the Cape Cod Times, went to a metered paywall late last year. Maddening as hell to pay into a tiered model that tells me I have used 7 of 50 story clicks in a month. Whoever the financial whiz was that came up with that complex tiering system needs to be spanked.

I pay because I used to work there and somewhat like their local coverage — but a lot of the locals around me have moved on and given up on the Cape Cod Times. A death sentence for a local product that can only survive with local impressions. And if the pricing is going to happen — go flat and keep the complexity out of it. Please.