The New York Times recently announced plans to create a paywall for visitors who read more than 20 articles on the most visited American newspaper website. The paywall kicks off globally from March 28 2011 and charges $15 to $35 for four weeks of access to the New York Times, depending on the selected package. Subscribers of the New York Times or The International Herald Tribune, the international edition, do not have to pay for access.
The 20 article limit is trying to create a balance between readers who rarely visit and frequent subscribers who make up the 30 million monthly readers, however, visitors from search engines are allowed an extra five articles a day and unlimited visits are allowed from social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook.
“The challenge now is to put a price on our work without walling ourselves off from the global network,” said Mr. Sulzberger Jr.,the chairman of The New York Times Company in an announcement to employees . The New York Times estimates the 85 percent of its online readers will not reach the 20 article limit.
The scheme has already come under fire from users who are exploiting the unlimited Twitter article reads. Users who create lists in Twitter and subscribe to the New York Times Twitter feeds are able to reach articles. One twitter account (@FreeNYT) has created a “firehose” list with all the New York Times Twitter accounts.