Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Is the New York Times about to collapse into a miasma of inefficiency, bollixups, and obscene pay for screwup executives?



As Janet Robinson departs the New York Times, $15 million richer – for having quartered shareholder value, gotten rid of many valuable people, and frozen the pensions of Times employees abroad who literally risked their lives for the paper – a new problem emerges.


Seems the Times can't even get its subscription operations straight.

A few hours ago, a notice popped up in my e-mail inbox. I quote it in full:

Dear Home Delivery Subscriber,

Our records indicate that you recently requested to cancel your home delivery subscription. Please keep in mind when your delivery service ends, you will no longer have unlimited access toNYTimes.com and our NYTimes apps.

We do hope you’ll reconsider.

As a valued Times reader we invite you to continue your current subscription at an exclusive rate of 50% off for 16 weeks. This is a limited-time offer and will no longer be valid once your current subscription ends.*

Continue your subscription and you’ll keep your free, unlimited digital access, a benefit availableonly for our home delivery subscribers. You’ll receive unlimited access to NYTimes.com on any device, full access to our smartphone and iPad® apps, plus you can now share your unlimited access with a family member.
To continue your subscription call 1-877-698-0025 and mention code [redacted code numbers] (Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. E.D.T.).
There's just one small problem. I'm not a home delivery subscriber. I'm a digital subscriber. And I certainly didn't want my digital subscription cancelled.

So I called the 877 number in the notice and got a mechanical brushoff. The system is to effin' busy to take my call. It tells me I can call back later. Or write a letter and fax the damn thing someplace or other.

No thanks.

And by the way, New York Times: If you by mistake cancel my digital subscription, don't expect me to renew.

Yours very crankily,
The New York Crank

Update: I just came across this article, indicating that what at first was thought to be the work of a spammer or a spoofer is indeed actually caused by a massive goof at the Times itself.

Second Update - "Pay no attention to the e-mail we sent you": At approximately 4:55 p.m. today I received the following e-mail from the Times:

Dear New York Times Reader,

You may have received an e-mail today from The New York Times with the subject line “Important information regarding your subscription."

This e-mail was sent by us in error. Please disregard the message. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

Sincerely,

The New York Times
Final (I hope) update: Dec. 28, 10:45 p.m.
As you'll discover if you click on the comments, twenty-something readers chose to comment on this post, a good many of them saying, or implying, that I'm an idiot for not recognizing that all I received was some malicious spam.
Not so fast, dumdum. According to an article now on the Times website, written by Amy Chozick, "
"The New York Times mistakenly sent an e-mail on Wednesday to more than eight million people who had shared their information with the company, erroneously informing them that they had canceled home delivery of the newspaper.

"The Times Company, which initially mischaracterized the mishap as spam, apologized for sending the e-mail. The people who received the message represented a cross section of readers who had given their e-mail addresses to the newspaper, said Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for the Times Company..."
You can read the whole story here. So take that, you idiot shoot-from-the-hip nincompoops who implied that I hadn't checked this out and didn't know spam from Shinola! Look who's up to their necks in Shinola now.
.


39 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just got this too - it smells fishy to me. I wonder if they've been hacked??

Johannah said...

Dammit, I just got the same email. After reading of your experience, I won't bother making the phone call. In fact, there was something about the letter that didn't even look or sound like the NYT. I thought it might be spam of some kind. I, too, am a digital subscriber and I don't want that cancelled. I need access to the paid archives. I hope they don't screw that up!

eatyourbeets said...

Hi. I think this email from the NY Times might be a phishing scam. Proceed with caution.

Anonymous said...

Ditto. Just got the same erroneous (i.e., not a home subscriber) message a few minutes ago.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. Received the exact same message, same phone number and code, a few minutes ago. I am a print subscriber but the email address associated with the sub is not the one the email was sent to.

Anonymous said...

I have recieved this as well, two TWO e-mail addresses, and I am CERTAINLY not a home delivery customer since I live in Europe :). Must be SPAM...

Anonymous said...

I am a Sunday Times home subscriber & received the same message. I didn't cancel my service, so my first thought it's some kind of scam to get a credit card #.

Anonymous said...

I think this email may be a scam, I got it too, and I'm not a subscriber at all. I found your site while looking for confirmation one way or the other.

DJ Transpacificus said...

My partner got this message too, also not appropriate to her account - curious if anyone knows anything - mistake? Fake? Trap? Etc.

Anonymous said...

This is a phishing scam.
DO NOT CALL.
If you search the number at google it is related to scams. The NY Times numbers related to subscription are 1-888

This is a 1-877 number

Anonymous said...

I just got the same email. I'm a home delivery subscriber, but I didn't ask them to cancel. Now I can't get through to the toll-free number either. Geez...

And this is after they just raised their home delivery rates.

Albert D. said...

I got the same e-mail just now, and all I have is a free online account with them. Very strange.

Jenn said...

Are you certain this isn't spam? All the NYTimes e-mail addresses are xxxx@nytimes.com, not xxxx@newyorktimes.com. Nor does that 877 number come up in Google for the paper...their delivery service number is an 800 number.

I got the same message as you and did some research, and I'm marking it as spam.

Anonymous said...

I got the same thing. Is this really from the NY Times? I was wondering if its some sort of spam or scam thing?

Anonymous said...

You seriously think this is really from NYT? You're a full-blown idiot. Try Googling that 877 number and you'll find it pops up all over the place.

AvelWorldCreator said...

I got the same message. I looked up the phone number for subscription services for the New York Times. It's not the same phone number. I think it's part of a "phishing" scam but it's hard to tell with this one. :(

Anonymous said...

I just received the same email and I'm not a home delivery subscriber either . . . pretty interesting. I was wondering if maybe it was a decent looking phishing email - i.e. when you call that number it's not the NY Times and they take your credit card info.

Anonymous said...

I am wondering if this is some kind of scam. I got the same email but I do get home delivery. Didn't quite trust it so I went on their web site and emailed them. Waiting to hear back.

Anonymous said...

This appears to be a scam. I got one, and I don't subscribe to the Times at all. Looking at the email headers, the message I received is actually revealed to come from "bfi0.com". So be careful.

Anonymous said...

It's a scam. Not the nytimes.com's doing.

Crankiness is not an end in itself.

Anonymous said...

Dude, it IS a scam. The NYT just tweeted about it.

Anonymous said...

I got this message too and I'm not a subscriber either. I think it may be a spam/hoax message, though, and the 877 number a fake. Your blog post didn't give me any reason to question that thought, anyway.

Shawanda said...

I just got the same email. I'm not a home delivery subscriber and I certainly didn't request that my digital subscription be cancelled. Not sure what's going on over there.

Anonymous said...

I also received the email. I am a home subscriber but I definitely haven't cancelled. This should be fun.

Nelson said...

I got that email too. Apparently it's spam, not sent by the NYT. https://twitter.com/#!/samsifton/status/152100729379766272

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I just got the same message. I AM a home subscriber and no one here requested a cancellation. I'm just going to call their bluff. Idiots.

Anonymous said...

Others are getting this notice today; it sounds phony but the real customer service number for NYTimes rings busy and online access to customer care unworking.

Anonymous said...

I received this missive too. and I also wasted time calling both the number on the letter and the standard number for Home Delivery service. A waste of time as neither are answered.

I don't have a fax machine (my Tardis is in the shop for repair, so I can't visit the 1990s), but I am considering sending them a telegram. Or maybe a letter via Pony Express.

Derek Czajka said...

I got that E-mail too, and I live in California, and only subscribe to their free headline E-mails. Oops!

Anonymous said...

I believe this is a scam, a pfishing expedition. The home delivery website also happens to be down. Quite elaborate.

Karl said...

It's a phishing attack, genius; the NYT didn't have anything to do with it.

Aaron T. said...

I just received the same email today, and I'm neither a print nor a digital subscriber. I once subscribed to the online crossword puzzle, but that subscription isn't active.

Anonymous said...

The email was not sent by the Times. It was a spam email. Think before you make a berating post.

Anonymous said...

Raging just to rage, apparently. This is in fact spam, which a quick Google might have told you. Do some cursory research, please.

Anonymous said...

Crank, I came upon your post while checking into the contact info provided in the email, because I received it as well. Simply put, this looks like a scam and I do not believe the email you received was sent by the NYT. Look at the source address: (nytimes@email.newyorktimes.com)and compare to any legitimate email address you might find in the official NYT site. Be careful, don't be scammed.

Anonymous said...

Hoss, check it:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/12/28/1929232/new-york-times-hacked

Anonymous said...

I recieved the same exact email, however I'm not a digital subscriber either... I created an account on their website to get the headlines emailed to me, but am not actualy a subscriber. This makes me wonder if all subscribers got an erroneous message, or if only a random few did...

Anonymous said...

This is a spam attack. More details here:

http://www.businessinsider.com/new-york-times-hacked-spam-home-delivery-2011-12

Anonymous said...

You're lucky they didn't answer. The e-mail was spam.