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I agree. I've been getting around the paywall since it's been in effect, simply because I refuse to pay to look at ads. If the paid version were ad-free, I'd subscribe in a heartbeat.

I actually spoke to someone at NYT about this a while ago. He presented the usual argument about print versions of newspapers and magazines having had ads for years. I had two responses.

The first was that I haven't subscribed to print magazines that carry ads in more than 20 years. The only print magazines I receive are either ad-free (for example, Consumer Reports), or are included with memberships in various organizations to which I belong (AARP, AOPA, etc.).

My second response was that in the case of print media, there are production and distribution costs that are directly proportional to circulation, as well as third-party retailers who need to make a living selling the periodicals. Most of these costs don't exist for the digital version; and the costs that replace them (software, hosting space, bandwidth, etc.) are much less proportional to circulation.

To add insult to injury, not only does a digital subscription to the NY Times still burden the reader with ads, but the ads are highly intrusive. Pop-ups, pop-unders, interstitials, banners that block the page when you accidentally mouseover them... It's as if the NYT wants to make viewing their site as annoying as they possibly can. That is unacceptable for a paid service.

In short, if the NY Times wants me to pay to read their periodical, then they need to provide me with an ad-free version. Otherwise, the ads are the price I pay. I will not pay twice. Either give me an ad-free version, or I will continue to bypass the paywall -- and will do so with no qualms of conscience whatsoever.

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