The Times gets tough

new York Timesonline

NEW YORK: The New York Times will try to make it more difficult to use Internet search engines to avoid paying for frequent visits to the newspaper’s website.

The newspaper will limit websurfers arriving through major search engines to five free articles per day, spokesman Kristin Mason confirmed yesterday.

That restriction was only supposed to apply to traffic sent by the Google search engine, which processes about two out of every three online queries. Now, other search engines including Yahoo! and Bing will be limited to five free stories apiece as well. The Times’ online fees take effect in the United States on March 28.

It didn’t explain why it decided to expand the restrictions to other search engines.

The Times’ digital fees, announced late last week, will be charged to frequent readers on its website and applications for smartphones and Apple’s iPad Tablet computer.

The fees range from US$15 to US$35 (RM48 to RM112) every four weeks, or US$195 to US$455 (RM624 to RM1,456) annually.

There will still be ways to get around the fees that The New York Times Co is introducing in an attempt to offset a steep drop in revenue from print advertising during the past four years.

For instance, there are no limits on the amount of traffic coming from two of the Web’s most popular tools for sharing information, Facebook and Twitter.

Ford Motor Co’s Lincoln brand is also offering free unlimited access to The Times’ website and mobile device applications for the remainder of this year as part of an advertising deal with the newspaper.

The offers are being made to tens of thousands of Times readers in e-mail messages and in targeted Internet ads. — AP

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