NYTimes offers discounts in mistaken email gaffe

Dec 29, 2011

(AP) -- In today's digital age, it's easy to send out an email by mistake - even for a company that's in the business of communication.

The thought it was sending an email to a few hundred people who had recently canceled subscriptions, offering them a 50 percent discount for 16 weeks to lure them back.

Instead, Wednesday's offer went to 8.6 million email addresses of people who had given them to the Times.

That was the first mistake. The second came when the Times tweeted this: "If you received an email today about canceling your NYT subscription, ignore it. It's not from us."

But the Times did send the original email, Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said.

"This email should have been sent to a very small number of subscribers, but instead was sent to a vast distribution list made up of people who had previously provided their to The New York Times. We regret the error," Murphy said in an email.

"The initial was in error and we regret the mistake," she added.

The damage had already been done, however.

Many people called or wrote in. The newspaper initially honored the discount, even to people who were already paying full price and had no plans to cancel. Murphy said the newspaper stopped giving out discounts to people who received the email in error by early afternoon. She did not say how much the gaffe cost the company or specify how many people contacted the newspaper.

A parody Twitter account called (at)NYTSpam amassed 152 followers by Wednesday afternoon by making fun of the slip-up. The account's description of itself says: "Parody account. Not affiliated with (at) or actual -- just sick of bad digital strategy."

The newspaper has made big strides in raising revenue from digital subscriptions. It says it has gained 324,000 since restricting full online access to paying subscribers in March.

Explore further: Study shows role of media in sharing life events

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NYTimes floods inboxes with subscription email

Dec 28, 2011

The New York Times accidentally flooded email inboxes on Wednesday when a message destined for a few readers who had canceled their subscriptions ended up going out to millions.

NY Times begins charging online readers

Mar 28, 2011

The New York Times began charging online readers Monday for full access to its website and dangled a heavily discounted introductory offer intended to lure its first digital subscribers.

Over 100,000 paid subscribers for NYTimes.com

Apr 21, 2011

The New York Times Co. released its first figures on Thursday since it began charging for full access to NYTimes.com, saying it has signed up more than 100,000 paid subscribers in three weeks.

New York Times suffers quarterly loss

Jul 21, 2011

The New York Times Company said Thursday it lost $120 million in the second quarter, as income from digital subscriptions failed to make up for a steep write-down of its print newspaper assets.

Groupon reveals security breach in India

Jun 29, 2011

The Indian subsidiary of online deals giant Groupon has accidentally published email addresses and passwords from its subscriber database, the company and reports said Wednesday.

Recommended for you

Study shows role of media in sharing life events

16 hours ago

To share is human. And the means to share personal news—good and bad—have exploded over the last decade, particularly social media and texting. But until now, all research about what is known as "social sharing," or the ...

UK: Former reporter sentenced for phone hacking

23 hours ago

(AP)—A former British tabloid reporter was given a 10-month suspended prison sentence Thursday for his role in the long-running phone hacking scandal that shook Rupert Murdoch's media empire.

Evaluating system security by analyzing spam volume

23 hours ago

The Center for Research on Electronic Commerce (CREC) at The University of Texas at Austin is working to protect consumer data by using a company's spam volume to evaluate its security vulnerability through the SpamRankings.net ...

Surveillance a part of everyday life

Jul 24, 2014

Details of casual conversations and a comprehensive store of 'deleted' information were just some of what Victoria University of Wellington students found during a project to uncover what records companies ...

European Central Bank hit by data theft

Jul 24, 2014

(AP)—The European Central Bank said Thursday that email addresses and other contact information have been stolen from a database that serves its public website, though it stressed that no internal systems or market-sensitive ...

Twitter admits to diversity problem in workforce

Jul 24, 2014

(AP)—Twitter acknowledged Wednesday that it has been hiring too many white and Asian men to fill high-paying technology jobs, just like several other major companies in Silicon Valley.

User comments : 0