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NYT and my link-feed
By Dave Winer on Monday, September 12, 2011 at 8:45 AM.

First a few recitals: #

1. I read a lot of NYT stories. #

2. I link to a lot of NYT stories. My qualification for pushing a link is "Would an informed person want to be aware of the information, ideas or opinions in this piece?" If I read it, the answer is likely yes. #

3. If the person who clicks on the link is not a "digital subscriber" it counts against their quota of free articles for the current month. #

Because of this, I've been asked by a few people who read my link flow to clearly identify NYT articles in some way. Perhaps by beginning them with NYT: as I sometimes do. Or with a #NYT hashtag.  #

A picture named lirrTicket.jpgHere are the problems: #

1. It's four or five characters, depending on how you do it. In a 140-character-limited space, that's actually a lot, esp since my new URL shortener has an extra four characters in its name. #

2. If I do it for the Times, why shouldn't I do it for every other publication as well? Because they don't have paywalls? Doesn't seem like a good reason. And maybe they will have paywalls in the future. #

3. It's more work for me. Sometimes I push links while I'm waiting in line at the supermarket, or as a train is about to pull into the station. Adding the extra bit could mean missing the train, or not pushing the link. #

4. Isn't this something Twitter could do automatically? It already sniffs the link. Couldn't there be a user setting that says "Warn me before clicking through to a NYT article." I know this seems like a lot to ask Twitter to do, but -- that shows that it's a lot to ask one humble blogger to do. #

5. Isn't this problem between the reader and the Times? Why should I or Twitter have to worry about this? I have no stake in whether the Times has a paywall. There's no upside for me. I'm doing them a favor imho, free advertising for their revenue-generating service.  #

6. I vaguely remember at one point that clicks from Twitter were not supposed to count against the monthly quota. Was that not true? Or is that no longer true? Or perhaps the people making this request aren't reading through Twitter? (It's possible because my links come from a feed that flows to Twitter.) #

My conclusion is that I would do something here if it could be done for all news publications equally, be totally automated, and not use up any of the 140-character limit.  #

Or I could send a link to this to my friend Jeremy Zilar at the Times and he could see that the right people read it! (Which is what I will actually do, for now at least.) #

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