Polite Message to The New York Times: No, I Don’t Want To Upgrade

Polite Message to The New York Times: No, I Don’t Want To Upgrade

I’m a paid subscriber to digital version of The New York Times. My monthly bill is £8.50 a month which is not insignificant. And The New York Times has been doing very well with subscriptions of late. It recently reported having over 10 million subscribers!

But like any subscription scheme, they’re very keen that I “upgrade” to a more expensive tier. There’s something called “All Access” which bundles in recipes, The Wirecutter (their product reviews site), games and The Athletic.

Taking each in turn:

  • Recipes – I don’t want because I don’t use them that much and BBC Good Food or other free sites tend to be fine for my needs. Also, I don’t need to decode how much butter “one cup” might be, or what “all purpose flour” is.
  • The Wirecutter – This is great – it’s a bit like Which for Americans. And therein is the problem. Many of the items I go looking for are US-only. So handy, but not handy.
  • Games – Well I play Wordle, but that’s it.
  • The Athletic – I do subscribe to this too. But when I tried to cancel thinking I’d get both The Athletic and The New York Times in a bundle, they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse that was cheaper than the bundle.

So I don’t want to upgrade.

But this isn’t an answer. Whenever I open the Time on the web, I can expect to see at least one footer banner overlay.

The above is on an HD screen. If I’m on a lower resolution device, it’s even more invasive. I can expect one of those every session.

Then there’s the blue box at the top that say “TRY NYT COOKING.” It’s there permanently, on every single page. Previously it just said “UPGRADE” on every single page.

And then there are the emails.

So many emails.

The above shows that I’ve had 67 emails in the last year (3 of the 70 listed were in 2022), with 15 in the last two months!

I can opt-out of marketing communications within email settings, but that also means losing other more useful emails.

I understand that growing their subscription business is key to their future, but this is just ridiculous, and at this point, I’m more likely to unsubscribe altogether rather than “upgrade.” Thanks, but no thanks.

An aside: previously The New York Times didn’t even allow you to cancel your subscription online. You had to phone someone. They do at least seem to be offering this again. I may yet take advantage of it.





2 responses to “Polite Message to The New York Times: No, I Don’t Want To Upgrade”

  1. Kevin Spencer avatar

    I’d been a NYT subscriber for years. We had the plan that included delivery of the Sunday newspaper to you as well. For one reason or another we found we didn’t really read the print edition. So, as you mentioned, you can’t really do a lot of the cancel things online without speaking to someone. It wasn’t a great experience on the phone if I’m honest and I ended up cancelling everything.

    Until today, when I realized I did still want to read the online articles and Charlie Eccleshare’s Athletic essays. So back in the NYT saddle again.

  2. adambowie avatar

    I just saw your blog on the same subject Kevin.

    I *think* I can now cancel my digital subscription online, which is certainly different to a few years ago, when I phoned following a rate rise, and had to speak to someone in the US operating on US opening hours. They did at least offer a UK phone number to call.