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Blog: Times Web subscriptions take off?

The New York Times reported momentum for its online subscriber business Tuesday, saying that 156,000 people pay for monthly access to its columnists' material on the Web. The service, called TimesSelect, costs $7.95 and opens Web doors to news and Op-Ed columns from the likes of political maven Maureen Dowd and sports commentator Harvey Araton.

Roughly 40 percent of the TimeSelect total subscribers also pay $49.95 annually to read the daily NYTimes online, according to Editor and Publisher. The other 60 percent of the 390,000 total must register for the service, but can access it free for subscribing to the print publication.

TimesSelect launched last September.

In contrast, the Wall Street Journal Online, the largest paid subscriber business online, has 764,000 subscribers worldwide, according to third-quarter figures reported in 2005.

The New York Times did not include people who sign up for a free 14-day trial to TimesSelect, and then cancel, in its subscriber figures.

Still, I signed up for 14-day trial late last year and was required to give my credit card number in the process. I forgot to cancel the service within the 14 days so I was automatically charged the $7.95 for a month, and then I cancelled. How many more are like me?