The Huffington Post went topical with its April Fools Day joke this year and decided to have a little fun at The New York Times’ expense. The site now features a prompt with a stern looking Arianna Huffington informing the NYT’s writers they will be required to pay a fee to access the site.
The NYT paywall launched last week and has readers and (non-NYT) writers up in arms for some time. The idea of charging for content in our digital age edges on asinine for some, and the Times’ low, $0.99 introductory fees aren’t fooling anyone. When the London Times introduced its paywall last year, it immediately led to a 90-percent drop in traffic. That number has rebounded somewhat, but the traffic is still around a quarter of what it once was. Fans of the NYT and industry professionals alike have fumed, raged, and in the more mild cases expressed deep disappointment. So it’s high time someone just makes fun of it.
And make fun of it they do. Even if you have no personal feelings about the paywall, then Huffington Post‘s mockery is pretty amusing. It pokes fun at the paywall’s web of rules regarding accessing content. “If you come in through Facebook, you’ll be able to access for free all stories involving animals born with extra limbs. If you come in through Twitter, you’ll be able to access for free words that contain more than six letters, but only those that refer to antiquated transportation machines (i.e. ‘funicular’).”
Of course, we’re sure that only a handful of NYT writers would gasp in horror at losing free access to The Huffington Post–actually a handful seems generous. And the online publication isn’t exactly known for its groundbreaking journalism. Nonetheless, it’s definitely one of the more relevant jokes we’ve seen across the digital landscape this morning, so good for them. Stick it to ‘em, Huffington Post.