NYT's TimesSelect ends, subscribers offered limited consolation

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The New York Times officially ended its TimesSelect service this week, opening up all of its online content to anyone on the Web.

The service had 227,000 online-only subscribers at its close. Subscribers, who paid $49.95 a year for access to exclusive articles and archives, are being offered a pro-rated refund and access to Times Reader, Premium Crosswords and the full online archives through December 31, 2007. Times Reader is the digital edition of the print Times.

Times executives are hoping the end of TimesSelect will drive more traffic û and more ad dollars û to the paper's Web site. Without the subscription firewall in place, the Times will be better able to leverage search engine optimization.

Subscriptions to TimesSelect, which was launched in September 2005, were earning the company revenues of more than $10 million.

With the demise of TimesSelect, the Wall Street Journal emerges as the only national paper to charge for online content. WSJ.com currently charges $79 per year for access and enjoys more than 900,000 subscribers. However, News Corp. owner Rupert Murdoch has mentioned the possibility of a free Journal when his company completes its acquisition of Wall Street Journal parent company, Dow Jones & Co.

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