From Jeff Jarvis‘ column in the Guardian:
TimesSelect was essentially a cynical act. Faced with the goal of finding something to put behind a pay barrier, the paper offered up content that was, indeed, uniquely valuable: its columnists and history. But this was also content with no significant ad revenue attached. So they can say they tried. But the endeavour cost the Times in other ways. It took the paper’s best-known writers out of the conversation and reduced their influence worldwide. Worse, it diluted the paper’s Googlejuice by shutting off search and bloggers’ links to much of its content. Google is no doubt the reason why the paper has now opened up much of its archives – from 1987 to the present and before 1922 – to free access and search. Google has been trying to convince media companies for years that if they made their archives available, they would make more money from advertising than from consumer fees – and they would improve their position and branding in Google searches, gaining yet more revenue. And that is the economic moral to this story: the death of TimesSelect heralds the continued triumph of the open, free Google media model. If Google bought a newspaper (which they’re no doubt too smart to do), they surely would make its content as freely available as possible: the more clicks and links you get, the more you can make.