Guess what? The New York Times is super proud of TimesSelect, that whopping success for which 218,000 (hey, that's .0007% of the U.S. population! Uh, if our math is good!) have signed up. We know this because they're trotting out Editorial Page Editor Andy Rosenthal to do a dog and pony show in today's Observer. Andy is beaming about the assload of contributors he's signed up to offer web-only content (Stanley Fish, Will Leitch, the dude who played guitar for former Bad Company lead singer Paul Rodgers during the recent Queen reunion tour). And blogs? They've got TONS of blogs! They've got blogs about blogs!
And for every blog and essayist, it seems, there's an editor: George Kalogerakis, Mary Duenwald, Carla Anne Robbins, and David Shipley all have new roles. Shipley in particular has a well-defined mission that highlights the Times' fine grasp of this emerging online medium: "David's been given a big mandate to do Internet stuff," says Rosenthal. Well welcome!
But what of the regular OpEd columnists, who were so famously resistant to being walled off during the initial imposition of TimesSelect under Rosenthal's predecessor Gail Collins? Collins, soon to resume columnist duties, can finally see the other side of it: "I'm in that grumpy-but-understanding state the columnists were in," she says. But hey! More and bigger!
Even though TimesSelect is a failure by almost every metric, even though the pay-for-content model reeks of Web 0.5, even though it's shockingly inferior to almost any advertising-based revenue plan, even though it might actually be worse than Salon's SitePass, the paper plans to continue its surge, consequences be damned.
Finally, a small note of clarification. Rosenthal claims that Gawker "insists it never reads TimesSelect." Not true! We never said we don't read TimesSelect. We just said that we think it's a horrible, hideous idea.