Two years ago I discussed how the New York Times would start charging for content. I gave the plan a 25% chance of working and said the company would change course in 18 months. Here is that blog entry.
I was wrong on one point. It took 24 months for the company to decide to go free.
What I have learned from my own experience is that people will pay for financial news online and independent product reviews from the likes of Consumer Reports. Other than that it is tough to get people to pay. This is extremely true of general media where millions of blogs exist which cover the same news and thousands of other news sources compete for attention.
I consider the New York Times to be a premium site on the internet and if they can’t charge, the question becomes, who will. It may not matter because all the studies I have seen point to a healthy online advertising market with much room for growth.
The question worth asking is when will they start sending out the refunds to those who paid already? Didn’t they learn anything from Apple? 😉