The New York Times is getting rid of their current subscription model. The NYT finally realized they can likely make more money from advertising than from the 227,000 subscribers paying for premium content.

The move comes two years to the day after The Times began the subscription program, TimesSelect, which has charged $49.95 a year, or $7.95 a month, for online access to the work of its columnists and to the newspaper’s archives. TimesSelect has been free to print subscribers to The Times and to some students and educators.

In addition to opening the entire site to all readers, The Times will also make available its archives from 1987 to the present without charge, as well as those from 1851 to 1922, which are in the public domain. There will be charges for some material from the period 1923 to 1986, and some will be free.

I’m pretty confident they will grow traffic pretty significantly as a result of ditching the subscription model (in addition to opening up their archives to everyone). More content will be viewable by search engines. More bloggers will link to them. The cycle will repeat itself numerous times and the end result? More visitors, both from blogs and search engines.

I won’t say the subscription model is “dead” — but I will say any business relying on a subscription model is in serious danger. Too many others will be willing to try their hand giving away information/content and trying to earn revenue via advertising.