Within hours of the New York Times announcing its impending paywall for online content, several Twitter accounts popped up that claimed to have found a loophole. And now the Times is fighting back, asking Twitter to take down these rogue accounts.
The Times will be charging between $15 and $35 per month to access more than 20 of its articles online. This subscription plan covers articles read on iPads and iPods, as well as those found through Google.com.
However, the loophole that several Twitter accounts have found works like this:
Content on the New York Times must be paid for via a monthly subscription unless the user arrives to that content via Twitter.
The Times clearly implemented this loophole because they acknowledge just how important social networking is to their brand, and to traditional journalism in general. However, they surely didn’t foresee the problem it could create.
Within hours of their announcing the paywall (using, ironically, a promoted trend and tweet on Twitter), Twitter users latched on to this loophole and accounts like @FreeNYTimes were born, claiming to begin offering all New York Times content on Twitter, for free, as soon as the paywall was put in place.
However, as Forbes reports, the New York Times isn’t going to just take their lumps: they have asked Twitter to remove the offending account.
A Times spokeswoman is quoted by Forbes as saying, “We have asked Twitter to disable this feed as it is in violation of our trademark,” and went on to say that they have already blown the whistle on other similar accounts.
However, she also says that the Times has no plans to change the structure of the paywall, and that they will be monitoring the situation closely.
We’ve sent out a request to Twitter for more information as to whether they will, in fact, shut down @FreeNYTimes, and will update with a response.