TimesSelect Free For Students, Faculty, Acquantainces . . .
The NYT has decided to make “TimesSelect,” their system of putting their least essential content behind a subscription wall so bloggers won’t read and comment on it, free to university students and faculty. Since I am no longer a member of either of those groups, I’m still out of luck. Or in luck, I can’t decide.
Or am I?
Steven Taylor, who is regardless now entitled to free access by virtue of his faculty status, allows as to how he might “be inclined to read some of it again” and suggests that this might be a “way to let a lot of bloggers promote the NYT’s columnists while still charging most folks.” Steve Bainbridge agrees, although he thinks it’s a diabolical plot to “hook” impressionable young minds–albeit one doomed to fail.
Ultimately, though, since all that’s required to get free access is to enter a valid .edu email address, the gates are rather wide open. As Ben Wolfson reports, after exhaustive scientific study, “as far as I can tell, the Times has given free TS access to people with college- or university-affiliated email addresses, and everyone they know.” His colleague, Fontana Labs, thinks this is not an accident. Citing Mickey Kaus, he observes,
this is just a convenient way of phasing out Times Select, which I suspect is the real motivation. When the paywall went up, I went through a week of wondering what Paul Krugman was saying, but then all the pangs of withdrawal went away and I realized that I didn’t miss the content very much at all. Given the level of blog sophistication right now, Friedman and Dowd are a hard sell.
I do suspect that the loophole is a feature, not a bug.