NYT: “Gilt for Restaurants Comes to New York”

June 6, 2010 at 8:18 PM (Happenings) (, )

On May 26th (I know, old news, but I’ve been busy), The New York Times Bits Blog posted about a pretty nifty new business venture: VillageVines, a dining site that allows foodies to take advantage off off-peak dining times to enjoy fine cuisine at a discounted rate.

Following the suit of sites that allow members to purchase overstocked luxury products and services through private limited-time sales (a la Gilt Groupe, for instance), VillageVines extends a similar offer to its members.  Beginning in New York, subscribers receive invitations to make reservations at high-end restaurants, usually between Sunday and Thursday.  After securing the reservation with a $10 deposit, the party receives a hefty discount – typically 30% – on the entire tab as a reward for booking a meal during the week.

Hello, win-win.  Not only do foodies have yet another means of justifying dining out, but the restaurants have a better chance of  filling tables.  The hospitality industry is far more time-sensitive than retail.  If a department store doesn’t sell a pair of shoes on Monday, it can still profit by selling that pair on Tuesday.  If a restaurant doesn’t book a table at 7.00 P.M. on Monday, it can’t make up for it at 8.30 P.M. on Monday, never mind at 7.00 P.M. on Tuesday.  As a result, restaurants need to do everything they can to keep their tables full all night, every night.  VillageVines, assuming it takes off (which I’m sure it will), will be an excellent asset to the industry.

. . . Now if only it was to add some of our delicious Boston restaurants.


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New York Times: Still Pro-Blogger

May 25, 2010 at 6:28 PM (Happenings) (, , , , )

Last January, The New York Times took a bold step: announcing the plan to charge frequent readers of its online edition beginning in January 2011. NYT logo Site visitors will be able to view X number of articles monthly (“X” having yet to be determined) before NYT asks that they subscribe in order to read more.  Folks who subscribe to the printed paper automatically enjoy full access to the site.

WebProNews recently highlighted one particular concern: being one of the four most linked-to sites by bloggers, how would this decision affect blog-based inbound links for the news source?

Folks who find their way over to NYT via blogs more often than not are in luck.  As it turns out, that method of reading NYT articles doesn’t go against the monthly allotted article credits.  According to a spokesman, “The pay model will be designed so readers that are referred from third party sites such as blogs will be able to access that content without hitting their limit, enabling NYTimes.com to continue being a part of the open web.”  Not only would a casual reader be more likely to go elsewhere for his news if he had to pay to read the article, but bloggers also don’t like linking people to things they have to pay for (outside of product endorsements, but that’s different).  Smart move, NYT.

That’s all fine and good for the lovely people who read our blogs, but what about us actual bloggers?  If we’re driving traffic to the site, shouldn’t we receive some kind of credit?  Granted, The Times has several months before it will implement this new strategy, and I think they have a good idea so far.  A thought regarding the bloggers: if one can determine how many times one computer has accessed NYTimes.com, I imagine that computer can also get linked to a blog.  Suppose for each link back to the site, the reader/blogger regains one article credit.  Again, The Times has a long way to go, and I am not the one to determine the mechanics, but I bet it’s doable.

Today’s Tunes
“So What,” Miles Davis
“In the Waiting Line,” Zero 7

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