Free the New York Times's Archives!

Aug. 8.07 | About: New York (NYT)

Holly Sanders of the New York Post recently reported that the New York Times (NYSE:NYT) is finally going to abolish its idiotic TimesSelect service – and about time too. I'm sure that Paul Krugman and the other firewalled columnists, including Floyd Norris, are very, very happy.

What's not clear is the fate of the NYT's archives. At the moment, sophisticated bloggers know that they can't just link to NYT stories: they have to go via the New York Times Link Generator first. Otherwise, the link expires after a couple of weeks. But most bloggers don't seem to know that. And in general the invaluable NYT archives are not part of the conversation that is the internet.

The NYT would be very smart to do away with the archive firewall at the same time as abolishing the TimesSelect firewall, insofar as there's a difference between them. It should follow the lead of the Guardian and the BBC, and make all of its content free online in perpetuity. I'm sure it's worried about losing revenue from LexisNexis and the like. But that kind of short-term revenue-driven thinking is exactly what drove Dow Jones (DJ) into the arms of Rupert Murdoch. And no one at the NYT wants to go down that road.

NYT 1-yr chart:

NYT 1-yr chart