The New York Times last week announced that it’s giving away TimesSelect to students and faculty that hold a .edu email address. TimesSelect, of course, is the paid access site that debuted in January 2006 to a confused and critical web. Editor and Publisher repeated the Times’ claim that they’re doing this for the good of democracy:
“It’s part of our journalistic mission to get people talking on campuses,” says Vivian Schiller, senior vice president and general manager at NYTimes.com. “We wanted to open that up so that college students and professors can have a dialogue.”
But with fewer than 700,000 Select subscribers and declining (zero?) readership among people under 40, NYT clearly had to do something. As Zach predicted, the Times’ Alexa rank has fallen precipitously since the Select launch. Welcome to the Google Economy Mr. Sulzberger.