By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Hey, NYT: Select this!

Day One, and I’m already peeved about TimesSelect, the disaster-in-the-making by which the New York Times will charge if you want to keep reading its columnists and a few other “premium” features.

I’m a paid-up, bona fide subscriber to the print edition, which right now is sitting on our kitchen table 25 miles away. So I tried entering the username and password I’ve had for since those dark, long-ago days when I was running Lynx on a Unix account. No go: “Your ID must be either the e-mail address you used to register at or your Home Delivery user ID, not your member ID.”

So I tried to figure out how to get my “Home Delivery user ID,” only to be told it was either (1) the credit-card number we use to pay for our subscription (we pay by check); or (2) a number that’s on the delivery label. Our paper doesn’t come with a delivery label, so I’m not sure what that’s about. My last remaining option is to dig out an old bill. Which, of course, is 25 miles away.

Fie! Fie!

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  1. Mike P

    I had the same issue, Dan. I happened to have not paid my bill yet, so I was able to use that. Of course, I did this at home. When I got to work today, I went to and was automatically logged in as a registered user, but this apparently wasn’t enough to get access to TimesSelect. I had to jump through a few more hoops before I could get to Krugman. Bad enough that they’re doing this… did they have to make it so confusing? Especially for people like us who actually pay more than the cover price for the privilege of getting the thing at home?

  2. Anonymous

    Dan, faced with the same situation, I called the NYTimes circulation department, and they gave me the account ID. Easy as pie. 1-800-NYTIMES.

  3. Anonymous

    I will curtail my browsing of the site to regster my discontent with their short-sightedness and stupidity.I used to browse extensively there everyday. Now all the pennies they make from my viewing even all the still free content,, paid by advertisers will be denied as well.I hate this move. This is the same paper that lectures the universe everyday about doing the right things or even worse , about the right business decisions that SHOULD have been made.What a disgrace!I can afford to pay easily. I WON’T. I hope others wouldnt either.Hey can an anonymous insider PLEAAAAAAAAASE tell us how is the Herald doing financially lately and how is web traffic and revenue performing?N.

  4. mike_b1

    I don’t see why we assume the NYT, or any other source of information for that matter, should be in the business of providing free content. Put another way, how long have you worked for free?Moreover, folks in search of their free NYT fix can probably still search the cached stories on GoogleNews etc.

  5. Jon Garfunkel

    As with Anonymous #1, I called the Times and they fixed the login snafu. Seemed to be systemic.I was started to get delighted about being treated like a paying subscriber rather than a mere freeloader. But when I clicked on the Rita story just now, I got hit with a frickin’ ad before seeing the article! Where’s the justice?

  6. Anonymous

    I’ve been a paying subscriber of the Wall Street Journal online for several years, so the concept of ponying up for relevant information isn’t foreign to me. If you note also, the Herald has been doing the same thing for the last few years for access to their columnists (I think their price point is $29/year).I can’t fault the NY Times for trying to capitalize on their resources. However, looking at the Google model (and for that matter former pay sports cable stations who decided the real money wasn’t to be made airing autobody shop ads to their paying audience, it was getting real ads and exposure to all cable subscribers) it will be interesting to see whether their revenue from non-paper subscribers overcomes the marginalization of their columnists on a nationwide basis, and possibly dropping their online ad revenue significantly. Hopefully for their sake their columnists won’t end up as hard to answer Trivial Pursuit questions in future years…Michael WyattNorwell, MA

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