The NYT as the Yellow Pages

yellow pagesby Silver Tusk

What Twitter and the NYT Have in Common
[Via Daring Fireball]

Dave Winer:

Neither company has a way to sustain itself financially.

Not only that, they don’t have any ideas. The difference between the Times and Twitter is that we’ve known that about the Times for a long time, and only suspected it about Twitter.

The most telling thing about the NYT’s digital subscription plans is that you can save money on an all-access plan (web, phone app, iPad app) by getting a new home delivery subscription for the weekday or Sunday editions. Think about that. If you want to pay the New York Times to read the news using both their iPhone and iPad apps, in theory, you should be their ideal customer — you’re willing to pay, and you’re looking forward, technology-wise. But you’ll save money by getting several pounds of paper that you don’t want delivered to your doorstep every week.


I’d seen this for years with science journals – if I wanted digital access I had to subscribe to the paper journal, which arrived several days after I had read the articles online and was quickly recycled. Never looked at the ads. What a stupid model. Luckily, many are going to a pure digital approach as an option.

As someone said, the goal of the NYT is more to retain subscribers of the paper on the doorstep than to gain online readers. I think this is the most pungent criticism – mentioned by John – stated as only Twitter can, even if it has no revenue model:

Of course you save money if you let the NYT dump weekly paper wads on your doorstep. They have the same revenue model as the Yellow Pages.

When was the last time you actually used the Yellow Pages that had been left on your doorstep? Or do you just put it in the recycle?

Not a sustainable business model in my opinion.