The New York Times (NYSE:NYT) made a big step forward last week to focus on the social element of NYTimes.com. The company unveiled a brand new commenting system last week,  encouraging readers to post their takes on articles/blogs on the site. The question, however, is how well NYT would be able to monitor these comments. The company competes in the online advertising space with tech giants Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Facebook.
NYT’s Trade-Off: Encouraging Social With Censorship
Comments on blogs/articles are ideally a forum for readers to express their own views, whatever they might be. It is this aspect where NYT’s social efforts and its traditionally stance on these issue might clash. Even a cursory look of the “FAQ on Comments” reveals that the company is being very cautious of the kind of comments it would permit on its articles.  Considering the high quality of journalism New York Times is known for, it is somewhat justified that the company would not be willing to tolerate strong (or even erroneous) language in any forum.
The flip side is that this could be the very factor in deterring some users to pitch in their comments, especially a potential customer base who might want to participate in these exchanges. Having said that, NYT does have some new incentives up its sleeves, including promoting some contributors to the “Trusted Comments” section where the comments would not be subject to moderation by the company’s editors. Overall, the initiative has its heart in the right place but the censorship policies of NYT editors could need reviewing at regular intervals.
We currently have a price estimate of $7.50 for NYT’s stock, which is in line with the current market price.