12.08.2010

THE NEW YORK TIMES DRIVES ME CRAZY--AND ALL I WANT TO DO IS READ MAUREEN DOWD ON PALIN'S CARIBOU KILL

I've been trying to read Maureen Dowd on Caribou Stew all day--and the Times is stopping me! I'm all for supporting an ambitious journalistic enterprise. The Times is gearing up to start charging online readers--but it had better get its act together before it lets that cement in their paywall get any harder. Their system drives me crazy.

When I click on an article, I'm asked to log in, so the Times can "manage your products"--excuse me? I'll manage my own products, thank you very much. And those are articles I'm trying to manage, by the way. This kind of language reminds me of the way waiters now ask if you have done "working" on your meal, instead of eating it....

Never mind. I'm dreading the eventual onslaught of targeted advertising that will be coming my way, based on reading "habits" that are tracked while I am logged in. God forbid I should leave a Prada ad on my screen while I check the chicken in the oven; who knows what will happen to my profile. But okay, I want to read Dowd on Caribou Stew, so I'm going to log in. But then I'm thrown into spiraling circles of hell when I try to reclaim the password I have forgotten. I can't even try to reset it, or to reopen an account--because it keeps telling me I'm already on their books.

But rather than send me my password, the system tells me it is suffering from a case of error. It has been down with error for hours. Meantime, I'm locked out. And increasingly, frustratingly, furious.  By 7 30 in the evening, I've practically read the entire column where it has been picked up on other, open, easily accessible sites.

This wasn't just a bad day; it happens frequently. Normally, I can figure another way in. But the cement in the pay wall sees to be drying.

This is not the way to win readers' hearts and minds, to say nothing of their credit cards.

19 comments:

by Joan Gage said...

So true--which is why I prefer to read my New York Times on the couch in the family room, even though it gets my hands dirty and I have to fight my husband for the crossword in the Arts section.

Charlotte K said...

AdBlockPlus, it changes your whole browsing experience--almost no ads get through it. Highly recommended for frustration-free browsing!

c said...

The NYT drove me crazy too. It got so frustrating, I caved in and "allowed" my computer to remember my password (this silly machine has a much better memory than I do nowadays).

Problem solved. I think. But, ... how wise is taht?

Windlost said...

i have experienced the same thing. it drives me crazy! read your article today! :)

xo terri

Mrs. Blandings said...

Same, same, same just last Sunday.

William said...

Dominique,

That sounds very frustrating. I use the New York Post website as my exclusive news and opinion source and never run into any access problems.

Jacqueline said...

That's why I won't give up my real-paper subscription...not yet anyway.

The Down East Dilettante said...

A few months ago, I got into a round with their paid archive subscription while researching an article. Once acessed, I couldn't access the paid articles again. Went in circles with a very frustrating woman in their tech support department who never quite 'got' what was actually happening, and it was months before the problem was solved, and yes, I missed deadline. The pity is that I really actually like online Times better (no wasted paper piling up, frequent updates, past articles available, no smudges on fingers or upholstery, what's not to love?).

So they're experimenting with charging us again? Sigh. I'd missed that detail. And I wish Sarah Palin had missed that Caribou.

William said...

It's one thing to take down an animal with a scope and high-powered rifle, but how about a fair fight with Sarah just using her horns to try to bring the Caribou down. Oh, note to Sarah, the grocery store now carries organic meats so no need to gun down a beautiful animal to feed your ugly face you stupid witch.

Anonymous said...

Dominique,
May I suggest that you access the Times and other wonderful resources by making your home page, www.refdesk.com. It's a wonderful way to get to many valuable resources and once you log on to the Times through refdesk, it always opens up. I make an annual contribution to refdesk to keep it up and running. Keep up the great work.
Best, Polly in Salem.

Thea said...

the NYTimes is much easier to navigate than the Washington Post. I know it seems a pain to manage their paper, but now i get particular items (such as their wellness section on tuesdays) and business items every day, separately from their news headlines. also, for teachers and parents, a wonderful daily lesson for high schoolers with math, vocab, news quizzes, etc. it's good to know i can be smarter than a 5th grader! hehe

Valerie said...

Here's what I love about this. Dominique is human! She reminds me that I'm human, too. A day of hanging out in the disposition of warrior happens. Maybe it's even healthy. Returning to slow love fills me with awe and delight.

Colleen said...

I completely understand your problem. I have it a LOT with websites where I have a log-in. What I did today to read Maureen is just google her name and then this particular column came up in the search. I click and I'm in. It's weird how much harder they make it to go in the "official" way.

Kathryn said...

Tapping three times, they sent me three new passwords. Stay tight in your ruby slippers.

mary said...

Thank you for giving voice to the internet access "issues"---frustration is a very minor word.

Jayne said...

Thank you! In complete agreement. I am boycotting the Times. Sorry for the good writers and journalists that I miss, but there are too many other places to get your news with ease.

Anonymous said...

I was just thinking that I may ditch my electronic edition of the NYT and go back to the print edition. I love the idea of being able to read what ever I like without being profiled or tracked; it's something like the freedom of taking a long walk without phone, no GPS, no distraction, just being present and no one looking over your shoulder. Imagine.

Vicky Brandt said...

Easy to solve the problem: just have your computer remember your password and keep you logged in. I never have trouble entering the NYT site, and can happily ignore all the ads, which seem to be taking over our entire culture. (Anyone see "Minority Report"?) At the website of the Union of Concerned Scientists (who try to educate about climate change), I learned that the average American is exposed to 3000 ads _each day_ -- yes, that's three THOUSAND. All encouraging us to buy something. No wonder there's a great pacific gyre.....

casacara said...

It's enough to make you buy the paper!! (Maybe that's what they want)