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New York Times takes a backward step

I'm a big fan of those news sites that enable complete articles to be emailed for personal use. Two of my favourite on-line newspapers, the Guardian and the New York Times, are among those that have offered this facility. I think it is quite useful to be able to read an article off-line without having to continually retrieve it from the web. However, this week the NYT abandoned the idea.

Now, the NYT offers the same limited service that many other newspapers offer: the opening paragraph and a link to the full article. (Some sites misleadingly call their facility "email this page to a friend" when all they send is the URL. Who's want to be called a friend in a situation like that?)

The argument that I have seen used to support their decision is that the email service meant that users were not seeing any advertising. Bollocks. There was at least one advertisement plus an in-house ad, contained in each emailed article from the NYT, and in any case you had to visit the website in the first place to email the story. Well, as they say in the classics, d'oh!

The Poynter Institute's excellent E-Media Tidbits group blog has been sympathetic to the Times' decision, but the 3martini blog sees it the same way that I do, ie, a "horrible change". 3martini also has a copy of a reply received from customer service attempting to justify the decision.

(I should point out that the "email to a friend" facility on my Postnuke-based sites, and only sends the link. I am seeking a solution to this deficiency.)

Here is a list of sites I visit that offers complete article email services:

I'll add others as they come to mind. Disappointingly, none of them are Australian.