Asks Mickey Kaus about TimesSelect, which we're all assuming has failed to bring in much money, while disastrously cutting the readership of the NYT's top columnists. What do you do about all the people who paid $49.95 for the service?
It makes me think of Woodstock, where a lot of folks paid $17 for tickets and then had to endure hearing the concert declared free. They just got stuck having paid $17 extra dollars. Me, I didn't go with my friends to Woodstock, because I didn't have $17 to buy tickets, and I had to endure hearing that I could have gotten in free. But those are the breaks. The kids who went ahead and showed up without tickets made the right call. Deal with it!
So what can the Times do? Just restructure what the $49.95 bought. Make the website free again and turn the $49.95 into a different offer: more or longer access to the archives, or a $50 credit at the NYT Store, or a discount on home delivery. Give the chumps who fell for the deal a choice of something good enough that they won't opt for a refund.