Friday, February 03, 2012

Times- Standard Online...What?

You'll recall late last year the Times- Standard announced some changes to their subscription policy. Among them was access to their web site would be restricted. No more free reading of more than five stories. You had to pay for more than that, even if you subscribed to the print edition. I went along and signed up for complete access at the cost of $1.99 a month.

I believe they might have changed that policy without saying anything.

I was over at the in- laws yesterday showing them how to get to the Times- Standard web site. When I clicked on a story to show them how it worked, the Press+ window popped up. Along with advising they had a limit of 5 stories for free, it also said that current print subscribers could read the web site for free.

What? First I've heard of it, and we went through the registration process to set them up for free access. No idea if it worked, so far. When we got to the end of the process there was nothing that said the registration was successful.

So I came home, went to the Press+ site (they handle the subscriptions) and deactivated my account for the Times- Standard. It still shows my account as active this morning so I have no idea if it doesn't work or just takes time for them to deactivate an account.

Checking the Times- Standard site's subscription services, I see a number of options for the hard copy. Non- subscribers to the hard copy can also pay $59.99 per year for access to the stories online or $39.00 for the E- Edition, which is just a .pdf file of the paper. No mention of free access for current print subscribers that I could find.

Guess I'll have to wait and see if Press+ will deactivate my account so I can try and register for free access. If they don't by the end of the month, all I can figure to do is change my credit card info to make it invalid and hopefully they'll cancel me then.

Strange goings on there, in that regard. You can't help but think they're taking advantage of the change in policy by not announcing it. In a way, I don't blame them, but it does seem sneaky.

Addendum: This just in from the Times- Standard. Apparently they mentioned it but I never noticed it and I read the paper every day:

"Fred we ran a front page article, a Q& A, a letter from the publisher and an online story twice all taking about how subscribers would be able to access the website for free when we went digital on Mons. In fact, the Mirror mocked us for running so many stories about going digital. We also explained was the refund policy. It also ran as a box on the home page for two week. Don't really consider that hiding it."


At 8:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Always the toughest site to log into....

Good example Fred.

When the T-S started that sales drive pitch, I just figured their techies would not fix all the shortcuts they hastily created in their programming wizardries to charge money for delivered content that can be had through other delivery mechanisms...

So, all you had to do once the 5 "reads" were done and the 6th was a pop-up blocker box stating you must purchase this if ya want that blah, blah, blah...

At this point, I clicked next, then back "unclicked or closed-out the box,, other methods too you learn when their own site teaches ya how to do it"......then viola, access to stories....

sorry you got hosed while others were taught by T-S insider techies how to "navigate the system acordingly"...only T-S can teach its customers how to avoid paying.....classic sophisticated gobbly gook business mentality by those who obviously don't understand business as well as their schmooze-talking b-s and how far that has gotten 'em in life.....


At 8:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The subscription barrier is easily circumvented. My default browser preferences had disabled it by default, which was not even my intention.

At 10:23 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

I don't mind paying for what I read, if necessary. I'll admit to trying to get around the barrier a couple times on the Ukiah Daily Journal web site. I hardly ever read those stories so didn't want to pay the $2.00.

Trying to sneak through the barrier didn't work. What I ended up doing, assuming the story was too long to read in the few seconds they give you, was copying the text of the piece to my clipboard and pasting it onto an e-mail or some word processing program. Worked well enough.

At 2:51 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

As I write this, Press+ still has my Times- Standard account as active. No way of knowing whether that's because I've already paid through until next billing, or they just don't process opt outs very quickly.

Regardless, I changed my credit card info so hopefully they can't charge me for February. It looks like they normally bill the 9th of the month. Maybe because that's the day of the month I signed up?


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