TimesSelect launches today, cutting off free access to the publisher's flock of pundits. The audience for those stories will shrink immensely. ClickZ managing editor Pamela Parker asks: will adveritsers value the new paid inventory more highly than the free stuff? They might... especially the Audibles of the world, the ones looking for people who spend on content.
David Card observes that for the columnists, TimesSelect to an extent means they're leaving "the conversation." They can't be happy about that. And neither should the Times. Fewer quotations and links in blogs means less share of mind among young people.
Meanwhile, print subscribers are thrilled. I get the weekend paper (to save my ibook from destruction by marauding twin one-year-olds who want a piece of whatever daddy's reading in the morning), which now comes with access to archival stories going back to 1981. Score. Yet I can't make it work. I just called to get my subscription account number (which I need to join up), and the rep I got was clearly overwhelmed. I asked if she was busy; she said the call center was "bananas" and two of the site registration features were not working. She gave me the desired code, but now the member site is totally locked up. No dice.