September 19, 2005

TimesSelect: irritation upon irritation.

I just took the trouble to upgrade to TimesSelect, which is free for me, as a home delivery subscriber. It took about five minutes, then I pressed on the link to go to the TimesSelect page, and I clicked a link to the first article, only to get the first sentence followed by a pitch to subscribe to TimesSelect. And there is no button that says "I'm already a member" or some such thing. I can't figure out how to get in now.

Last week, by the way, I tried to activate TimesSelect and kept getting to a page telling me to try again or, if I continue to have problems, to call a telephone number. Finally, I called the phone number, got through the menus and the hold waiting time, only to get to a person who told me the page had technical problems that day and I should try again on another day.

All I can say is, if you're going to introduce a new barrier to the material, you ought to make sure it's as minimal as you can make it. I know a lot of people are irritated by putting the material behind a pay wall in the first place, and the Times has decided to go ahead and cause that irritation. But they really ought to avoid extraneous irritations! Especially when they are trying to get the new system off the ground.

What I really want to know is whether I can use the NYT Link Generator to link to the articles behind the wall. If not, I probably won't blog about them at all. It's awfully perverse to play up your influential opinion-leaders by making it harder for them to actually get into the interplay of opinion in the blogosphere. Or is the Times hoping this blog thing will blow over?

16 comments:

Jim Bouman said...

I had the same difficulties getting access to Times Select. Today I talked (after a six minute wait on "hold") with Jacob (nln) who fixed it pronto. I'm happy; he's happy (as a first day employee on the help line) that I'm now getting Times Select on my computer screen.

The key: stop using your old log-in; use e-mail address, instead. Jacob said he'd talk with the web site people to clarify the procedure.

Then, I read the op-ed page and understood why Professor Althouse was so irritated at not being able to see what was there.

And who wouldn't be in similar circumstances.

Art said...

I assume these folks are the same ones who are in charge of renewals.
My son gave me a three month home delivery subscription for Christmas.
When it was about to expire, I got a call saying I could renew for three more months at a discount. I said, OK, and gave a credit card number.
A week later I got a call from them saying I could renew for three more months at a discount. I said, I already did that last week.

No more papers, no charge on my credit card.

My guess is they lost the first response and then called again.

I am only willing to go so far to help a business that is trying hard NOT to take my money.

Joe Hogan said...

This is the exact experience I have been contending with over the last few days. And with the same payoff today.

On one level, though, it is proof that not all incompetence resides in the halls of government, as the press has been declaring for the last two weeks. Also, just looking at the lede of Krugman's column today makes me wonder why I am fighting to get into this club.

The Mojician said...

Why not save the environment and cancel your physical subscription?

Eddie said...

Why not save the environment and stop driving your car, never travel on an airplane again, light candles in your home, and join an Amish farm?

Arthur said...

I had the same problem. Jim bouman's fix worked for me, too.

Brendan said...

I am beyond pissed. I thought Times Select only applied to opinion columns (Krugman, etc.), but those damn orange icons were all over today's SPORTS page. Damn them to hell.

Zappatero said...

I just brought up NY Times to see how bad they screwed it up - (professional interest, I'm NOT going to pay for it).

The page wouldn't even load. Looks like they test their plans just as well as BushCo. No wonder they like him so much.

Doug said...

Well, there's no way that I'm going to pay to access the New York Times Op-Ed page, so I guess its goodbye Tom Friedman, Paul Krugman, et al.

My own take on what this means for blogging is here:

An Editorial Decision

Maddox's Mom said...

FWIW...

I signed out and signed back in. Now everything works.

This is dumb.

clint said...

Compare this to the Washington Post's adding technorati apps to show what blogs are saying with links to the article or op-ed piece you're reading.

Which op-ed page do you believe is going to be more relevant this year?

John A said...

Is it plagiarism to copy only the head ("An American tragedy in black and white") from a September article by Mike Bates?

If I had, or even wanted, the print copy of the NYTimes (which seems to be $40, not $50!) and got this stuff as a free service I'd go for it. Seems it has other stuff, too, like setting up your own archive (sort of a "favorites" list of links).

Or if it was, say, $12/year, maybe. Although when a UK paper put their whole business behind a pay scheme (free if you have the print edition!) I wrote explaining that I only read perhaps 2 articles a week and what charge could they offer me? At least they replied, if only to instruct me on where I could position my concern. Perhaps I should have subscribed to their print edition - the mailing costs would probably have put them in the red.

Business Week asks *Is Paul Krugman Worth $49.95?* and pretty much concludes not - again, unless you get it for "free" with the print edition you already have. And the commentors there that like it all admit to having a print subscription.

P. Froward said...

The NYT is hoping that without them to kick around, the blogs will run out of material and asphyxiate. They're not far wrong; the WaPo's and the Grauniad's fact-checkers will have to work shorter hours now to take up the slack.

cyber joe said...

Hmm...it would be odd if after emailing NYT, I found the answer to my Times Select login problems on a blog, but alas, the email address solution did not work for me. So much for going to the trouble of signing up for a weekend subscription last week in order to have continuous access to their Op-Ed columnists. I had been considering doing so anyway, so I still think it's worth it, or at least I think it's worth it for awhile at the discounted intro rate.

P.S. You can read Krugman for free at http://www.pkarchive.org/column/091905.html
or at least you can today.

Stanley Krute said...

It is astonishing how clueless the NYT is as to the effects of this move.

The blogosphere is strengthened. The NYY is weakened.

Suicidal hardly begins to describe the utter cluelessness.

Another emperor is found wandering the streets in stark jaybird fashion.

-- stan

Bruce Hayden said...

John A

I would think the question is really more about copyright infringement than plagerism. After all, you are not claiming ownership or authorship of the work, which really negates plagerism.

As for copyright infringement, there is no clear answer. Copying the entire article is probably infringement. Copying just the title is probably not infringement since there is no copyright. Copying of a brief section would probably be Fair Use. And anything in between that and the full article in the gray area.