The NYT’s meter starts ticking

March 10, 2011
recommendations page, and you'll see a sidebar which looks a bit like this:

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The NYT’s paywall isn’t live yet, but the meter’s already ticking. Go to the site’s new recommendations page, and you’ll see a sidebar which looks a bit like this:

meter.tiff I’m clearly a heavy user of I’ve read 155 articles over the past month, according to the system they’ve built at a reported cost of more than $40 million. I’m not at all sure that’s money well spent: my suspicion is that the paywall’s total revenues from the paywall won’t reach that level.

And even at this late date, it seems, the system is doing silly things like make a distinction between “Business,” on the one hand, and “Business Day,” on the other. No, me neither.

As for the Topics, like the wonderfully-named “Blogs and Blogging (Internet),” they take you to barren and unhelpful pages like this one. If the paywall is really a navigation fee, then you’d hope that the NYT would spend a bit more effort making its website in general, and its topic pages in particular, a lot more navigable, with lots of attractive exit points. Instead, there’s nothing — not even a navbar at the top.

It seems to me that the redesigned paywall-focused site — which is feeling decidedly delayed at this point — is still decidedly on the glitchy side. If you’re going to be sending out press releases about your recommendations engine, shouldn’t those recommendations be “Presented by” Thomson Reuters, the launch sponsor, rather than a blank green box?

Still, I’m impressed that my silhouette actually looks a little bit like me. Albeit me on a bad hair day.

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