There goes the neighborhood

March 22, 2005  |  Tags:

So ye good ol’ nonsense rag (uh, Straits Times Interactive) has started charging for access, with their solidly loyal online readership of 2171 subscribers (out of 280,000 registered users).

I’d be a pretty upset web-advertiser if my audience shrunk 10,000% overnight, but, hey — at least the Straits Times got some “news” articles out of it, saving themselves the trouble of actually reporting on things that matter. For example:

  • “STI now costs money. Suckahhs!!!@~!”
  • “Aren’t we generous, 50% discount for print subscribers!”
  • “STI gets first subscriber, OMG OMG”
  • “Forum users both complain about and commend STI; see, we can do balanced reporting even if it’s on trivialities”
  • “STI will cease to be free tomorrow has already 2171 subscribers! OMG r0x0r $$$$ we r teh w00t”.

(Note that these articles actually did get published, except I can’t link to them so I had to paraphrase just a little for the titles.)

Not to mention giving their graphic designers a great chance to use the ubiquitous Singaporean “BANNED” sign to stamp out the “free” in a “FREE ACCESS” banner.

Going to the site now, you’ll notice that even the headline summary pages aren’t accessible to non-subscribers. All is not lost, though: you can still subscribe to RSS feeds of STI’s headlines (with short summaries) using the old feed addresses. Here are some you can add to your newsfeed client (e.g. NewsFire for Mac, or BlogLines for the web).

I don’t have addresses for the rest of their sections (really, why would I get world news from ST?) and the RSS page is now subscribers-only, but you can probably guess what they are. Try replacing the URL with world.xml or sports.xml.