Journalists Trapped Behind the PayWall

I often see the New York Times’ TimesSelect service referred to as a viable option to easily monetize blogs. The Times put several columnists behind a paywall and asked readers to pay for access. While revenue may have gone up, relevance has gone down:

“A good measure of their popularity is the Times’ most emailed list. Before the paid-wall came into effect, the day’s editorials were regularly listed as the most popular stories on the site, sometimes for days or the entire week. After TimesSelect launched it became extremely rare to find Maureen Dowd or Tom Friedman on the list and they became increasingly perturbed at their stunted reach.”

The Times recently opened up the TimesSelect service for a free-access trial. Suddenly, their writers were part of the online converation again, and quite popular online.

While the service has brought in $10 million for the NY Times in its first year, I have to wonder about the exponential effects of this down the road in terms of prestige, branding, and leadership position among a new generation of readers and writers online.

Other thoughts on TimesSelect from Web 2.0 Television.