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: LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

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

LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

Apr 18, 2014

The career-focused social network LinkedIn announced Friday it has 300 million members, with more than half the total outside the United States.

Researchers uncover likely creator of Bitcoin

Apr 18, 2014

The primary author of the celebrated Bitcoin paper, and therefore probable creator of Bitcoin, is most likely Nick Szabo, a blogger and former George Washington University law professor, according to students ...

White House updating online privacy policy

Apr 18, 2014

A new Obama administration privacy policy out Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites. It also clarifies that ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

A homemade solar lamp for developing countries

(Phys.org) —The solar lamp developed by the start-up LEDsafari is a more effective, safer, and less expensive form of illumination than the traditional oil lamp currently used by more than one billion people ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...