on the concept of "upgrading" OR how the NY Times lost its status as best online newspaper
The New York Times is asking me to "upgrade my relationship" with them. I'm not entirely sure if that means the NY Times wants to get to second base with me, or if it just wants to maybe think about leaving a toothbrush in the bathroom, and clearing a sock drawer for me in the editor's desk. It must surely be something like that.
The reason it can't be anything else, is that I know that the people at the NY Times are smart enough to know what "upgrade" means. It means that something is taken to a new, better or more intense level. What it does not mean, is having to pay in order to access the same content you used to get for free. Not all of it mind you, just some. Because we're not quite at third base yet. And then there's some extra fluff which you don't really need in addition. News alerts? Bah.
If this is what it means, then the NY Times has fundamentally misunderstood what their net presence is supposed to be. The reason theirs was the most successful net presence was precisely because they participated in the online discussion by giving access to all their content for a few days, as it was written. They also provided a lot of exclusive content. This generated ad revenue, and also made sure that everyone in the blogosphere was talking about the NY Times. Not the Washington Post, because their content was behind walls of cash. Same thing with the Guardian and that other British paper I don't even remember the name of, because it wouldn't let me in. Good online presences means freely accessible content, exclusive content which keeps the readers coming back, and ad revenue.
Remember, NY Times: you're in the news business, not in the money business, and there is no way there is money involved if we go to second base. You're going to have to make me want it.