Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

New York Times Launching Gilt/Groupon Clone This Month

This one was inevitable: The New York Times is readying its own Groupon-like e-commerce offering, which will launch at the end of this month.

To be technical about it, TimesLimited is really more of a Gilt City clone. Like that site, a spin-off from the Gilt Groupe private sale juggernaut, TimesLimited offers won’t require a minimum number of buyers for any particular offer, but the offers will be limited to a certain time limit.

But big picture is that the Times is trying to hop on the group-buying craze that everyone else wants a piece of. And there’s no reason they shouldn’t: The paper already has the crucial assets you need to make these things work — an ad sales force and a pool of potential customers.

The latter will come from current Times subscribers, as well as registered users of the paper’s Web site. But ad sales chief Denise Warren says the service will be available to anyone who wants to opt in.

What kind of stuff will the Times be selling? “We’re going for a more experienced-based version, more of a curated, upscale offer,” Warren says, without getting specific. But based on the art the Times is using to illustrate its landing page, TimesLimited will appeal to people who like sail boats, lamb chops, and expensive-looking dresses.

And how will TimesLimited be tied into the paper’s move to put up a pay wall, which it it says will launch “shortly”? It won’t, Warren says.

(Thanks to Google’s Chris Messina for spotting.)

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald