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It Took $40 Million to Develop the NY Times Paywall? You Got To Be Kidding Me



Say what you want about paywalls in general. I’ve said an awful lot about them in the past. Say what you want about the ridiculous pricing structure that the NY Times has put on for its new paywall. I think it is priced, well, to be kind, beyond ridiculous. But don’t tell me that to pull this all together the NY Times spent $40 million dollars.

That’s right, according to some reports it cost the NY Times $40 million to set up its new paywall. You know the one that is designed to be porous so you can get around it. You know the one that some hackers have already figured a way around with a few lines of java script. $40 million. Yeah, say that again, $40 million.

If the NY Times spent one half of that, or let’s say one quarter of that on this effort, then, love the Times as I do, they deserve to go out of business. Maybe some NY Times journalist should launch an investigation into what the money was actually spent on. As Phillip Greenspun points out they already had some payment collecting and data processing already set up, so where did that money go? What’s the return there? How many new subscribers does the time need to recoup that investment?

Look, I feel sorry for the folks trying to figure out how to retain profit margins and adapt business models in a world that is changing so quickly it is tough for even the most adept to keep up. But give me a break here. This is just poor, poor, poor management.



  1. LeMel

    03/30/2011 at 6:19 pm

    I can’t seem to find an ultimate source for that $40M figure. I think it goes back to Bloomberg, but what was their source? I’m extremely skeptical about that – why isn’t anyone else? Also, I’d believe that any money they *did* spend was on an engine and what we are seeing now is just one possible tuning of it.

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