The New York Times announced this week that it will introduce a paid model for NYTimes.com in 2011. Its so-called "metered model" will offer free access for a set number of articles per month, then charge once the number is exceeded.
Swell idea—if 15 years too late. When the Internet reached critical mass in the mid-1990s, brand names leapt at the opportunity to offer free content, with the hope of subsidizing print with online advertising. It just didn't work.
Now that print has become secondary to Web-based news and info, does NYTimes honestly believe its coverage (particularly after laying off hundreds of veteran reporters last month) is so proprietary that anyone will belly up their credit cards for information that's either available elsewhere or can be Googled and found re-purposed elsewhere (read: Wall Street Journal's chumpy online pay model)?
In a word: nope.