Feel Free To Browse The New York Times

Yes, now I feel FREE to browse New York Times on the Web! Thanks to NYTimes.com and and best wishes to the site to attract more visitors (to attract more advertisers to have more revenue)

It was disheartening and disappointing to learn about the Maoists drop out from the cabinet today but one news report brought smiles on my face. The headline: Times to Stop Charging for Parts of Its Web Site. I was reading the web site of New York Times which is one of my favorite news sources on the Internet. But I always have difficulties in accessing some of its contents becasue of the pay service. Most of the time, I just purse my lips and start browsing other links. When I really need or want to do read them, I email the link to one of my friends in California who is a subscriber to the TimesSelect. He then sends article in my inbox. Last time, about a month ago, when I did the same, he sent a blog post instead. The title was: To De-select The Subscription Option Press Escape. The blog post said that the Times was soon eliminating its pay service TimesSelect and there was a link pointed to a New York Post article about the possible Times decision. Since then I was waiting for the official confirmation of that report by the Times. In the meantime, I even though that what if New York Times doesn’t eliminate the TimesSelect jus to prove that New York Post report was false!

I knew about the possible development about TimesSelect via a blog entry and in a letter to readers, Vivian L. Schiller, senior vice president and general manager of the site, NYTimes.com say that one of the reasons for the elimination of pay service was the growing influence and impact of blogs or Web 2.0 on the Internet. “Since we launched TimesSelect in 2005, the online landscape has altered significantly. Readers increasingly find news through search, as well as through social networks, blogs and other online sources.”

Paying for news on the web is a tricky issue even for the big players. The only successful pay news site is that of Wall Street Journal (not to be confused with Wagle Street Journal, Wall Street Journal is a world famous American business newspaper!!) Personally, I am very much against it (that is why you are reading this blog post for free ). First, I don’t have I money to pay. Second, I don’t have credit card. Even if I get one, buying news is not in my priority. By the way, to own a credit card, with lots of money in the account, is one of my unfulfilled dreams (one of them, owning an iPod was fulfilled some months back). The first thing I will do after getting hold my own credit card is log on to ebay.com and take part in auction and go to Amazon.com and order a book.

For people like me who are living in a third world country like Nepal, to log on to the site of New York Times is equivalent to taking part in the pay services like TimesSelect though I know I am not really the kind of audience that the Times is produced for or targeted for. It’s not cheap to have Internet connection on the first place. Still, being in a Third World country has its own advantages as well. For example, I didn’t buy any of the software that I am using on this computer for the last couple of years. We take software for granted as we think buying a computer (hardware) itself is a big thing for us and we think by computer it should mean both hardware and necessary software packaged into one. That’s why free things are welcome.

On Microsoft verdict in Europe

Another news report that caught my attention in the past couple of days was about the Microsoft by the second highest court in European Union. I had a kind of mixed reaction to the verdict that Microsoft had abused its market power by adding a digital media player to Windows, undercutting the early leader, Real Networks, New York Times reported. The court also ordered Microsoft to obey a March 2004 commission order to share confidential computer code with competitors. The court also upheld the record fine levied against the company, 497.2 million euros ($689.4 million).

My first reaction was: Why can’t Microsoft do what it was doing? After all, they made the Windows, not the Real Player or Apple. Why can’t Microsoft add a feature in their product? And why on Earth, or in the computer rather, should Microsoft share confidential code with competitors? Why? If people can’t compete, so be it. Let Microsoft rule the computer.

Second thought: well, may be Microsoft can’t dominate the computers like they are doing now! I know this thought isn’t very much convincing and I would be more than happy if some accidental readers of this post explain me. I also think that such feeling (first thought) might have come to me as I haven’t bought any software yet and have no idea about monopoly in software pricing.

Back to the TimesSelect: I want to say Thank You to New York Times for not just eliminating the pay service but also making available the archive for free. Another provision that really pisses me off that in the Times website is its free-only-for-seven-days policy. I not only get information from the Times articles and news but also learn about various aspects of journalism and writing skills. They also provide me important reporting tips and ideas.

I also hope that NYTimes.com will experience a surge in visitors, page views and overall traffic which will help the site to attract more advertisers which in turn will help the site and the newspaper to present more news and information from around the world to its readers around the world. That’s why I am linking to the standard first page of the article on NYTimes.com instead of one that displays the printable of the page that doesn’t contain advertisement. I will also continue linking to printable version as well for those like me who don’t always have fast internet connection. Didn’t get what I am talking about? Try this standard and this printable version of the same New York Times article about Microsoft verdict to find the difference!