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New York - NY Times Sends Email Spam to 9M People, Denies It, Then Admits Error

Published on: December 28, 2011 09:35 PM
By: AP
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New York - In today’s digital age, it’s easy to send out an email by mistake — even for a company that’s in the business of communication.

The New York Times thought it was sending an email to a few hundred people who had recently canceled subscriptions, offering them a 50 percent discount for 16 weeks to lure them back.

Instead, Wednesday’s offer went to 8.6 million email addresses of people who had given them to the Times.

That was the first mistake. The second came when the Times tweeted this: “If you received an email today about canceling your NYT subscription, ignore it. It’s not from us.”

But the Times did send the original email, Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said.

“This email should have been sent to a very small number of subscribers, but instead was sent to a vast distribution list made up of people who had previously provided their email address to The  New York Times. We regret the error,” Murphy said in an email.

“The initial tweet was in error and we regret the mistake,” she added.

The damage had already been done, however.

Many people called or wrote in. The newspaper initially honored the discount, even to people who were already paying full price and had no plans to cancel. Murphy said the newspaper stopped giving out discounts to people who received the email in error by early afternoon. She did not say how much the gaffe cost the company or specify how many people contacted the newspaper.


A parody Twitter account called (at)NYTSpam amassed 152 followers by Wednesday afternoon by making fun of the slip-up. The account’s description of itself says: “Parody account. Not affiliated with (at)NYTimes or actual spammers—just sick of bad digital strategy.”

The newspaper has made big strides in raising revenue from digital subscriptions. It says it has gained 324,000 digital subscribers since restricting full online access to paying subscribers in March.

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Read Comments (6)  —  Post Yours »


 Dec 28, 2011 at 09:56 PM Billy Says:

Can't find any twitter account by that name. I just searched it.


 Dec 29, 2011 at 12:38 AM Wannabe Says:

If the Times wouldn't hate Israel so much, they'd be a great newspaper IMHO


 Dec 29, 2011 at 01:15 AM too busy to read NYT Says:

That explains it! I couldn't imagine why they would email me saying I cancelled my subscription when I never had one, then followed up saying to ignore the first one. By then I assumed it was spam.


 Dec 29, 2011 at 04:23 AM NonniDev Says:

You cannot fix stupid....


 Dec 29, 2011 at 09:46 AM Anonymous Says:

What do you mean "initially?" NYT is required to honor the terms of its offer to anyone who was solicited by NYT.


 Dec 29, 2011 at 08:58 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
Anonymous Says:

What do you mean "initially?" NYT is required to honor the terms of its offer to anyone who was solicited by NYT.

so what? are you signing up?


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