My answer: I won’t. And not only won’t I pay, but I’ll also go out of my way to not link to the New York Times. This isn’t me taking a stand against paywalls. If The New York Times believes their content is worth X amount and is willing to charge for it, I say bravo and way to have the guts to do something other than talk.
My problem with NYT’s metered plan (any paywall, really) is that it diminishes the value of a link that I may post.
Here’s why: I’m cruising around and I find an article on NYT’s site and I decide I’m going to blog about that article. I haven’t hit my monthly limit yet on how many NYT articles I can read, so I post it to my blog and it’s all good. Now let’s say 100 people view that blog post (optimistic, I know)—any number of those 100 may have already hit their NYT limit for the month. In other words, my blog post is mostly useless to anywhere between zero and 100 percent of my readers, that number can fluctuate daily and I have no way of knowing what that number actually is.
I said this on my company blog once: When you start to wall yourself off from the rest of the Internet, you become less of a Web site and more of a “rope site.” A Web is sticky—it makes connections so it can hang onto whatever comes into it (re: readers). A rope is something someone can just slip off of when they reach the end of it. No one’s coming back to a blog that regularly links to nowhere (for all intents and purposes). I’d do just as well to not link at all.
Update: Jay Rosen chimed in with these thoughts (among others) on NPR:
If the real part of The New York Times is its influcence, then this is a very risky move with the very heart and soul of the newspaper, which is its ability to affect and influence public conversation.