Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 11, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

NYT LINKS....I am annoyed with the New York Times. What follows is some high grade blog wonkery, but if you care about creating permanent links to Times articles in blog entries, read on.

URLs for NYT articles have a standard form. For example, here's the URL for James Risen's December 16 story that exposed the NSA's domestic spying program:

http://nytimes.com/2005/12/16/politics/16program.html

This URL works only for a limited time. If you click it now, it takes you to the NYT archives, where you have to pay to see the full article.

This makes the Times undesirable as a long-term blog source, so a couple of years ago Dave Winer negotiated a deal with the Times to provide specially coded URLs that would last forever. Hooray! Then, last year, the Times began providing those special coded URLs directly for its front page articles so you didn't have to go through any special hoops to generate them. Here's what the coded URL looks like for the Risen article:

http://nytimes.com/2005/12/16/politics/16program.html?
ei=5094&en=c7596fe0d4798785&hp=&ex=1134795600&partner=homepage

But guess what? It turns out these coded URLs don't work: after a few days they redirect you to the Times archive, just like uncoded URLs. I've been using these URLs for months on the assumption that they were permanent links, and every one of them is now broken and useless.

I don't know what the point of these ridiculous bait-and-switch URLs is, but today's lesson is obvious: don't use them. They look like they work, but they're worse than useless. Instead, you should continue using the NYT Link Generator to create genuine permanent links. Simple instructions are here, and the links it generates look like this:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/16/politics/16program.html?
ex=1292389200&en=e32072d786623ac1&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland

That is all. You may now go about your regular business.

Kevin Drum 6:17 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (23)

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Comments

Will techniques related to this be used when the governmment goes to war against bloggers, as it just practiced in Cyber Storm?

Posted by: Guy Banister on February 11, 2006 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

"I've been using these URLs for months on the assumption that they were permanent links, and every one of them is now broken and useless."

ROTFLMAO...

Posted by: koreyel on February 11, 2006 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

If the archives are behind a moneywall, how is it that anyone can legally create special URL's to get into them in the first place?

Posted by: Aaron S. Veenstra on February 11, 2006 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

Aaron: The URLs are provided by the Times. They're legit.

Posted by: Kevin Drum on February 11, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: the link to the NYT Link Generator doesn't work. Ironic, eh?

Posted by: duh on February 11, 2006 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

Can we shorten "blog wonkery" to "blonkery"? That's the way of the internet, right?

Posted by: Sean on February 11, 2006 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

I've found that appending /partner/rssnyt to the URL has consistently worked, although of course it may break in the future. For example, http://nytimes.com/2005/12/16/politics/16program.html/partner/rssnyt works. Not sure if this helps with your old links, though.

Posted by: rakingleaves on February 11, 2006 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

why would the NYT provide this service (or not object to it)? Couldn't this allow people to read behind the wall if some blogger just linked to all the key articles?

Posted by: Z on February 11, 2006 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK


Where's the anti-Bush angle on this one?

Posted by: fred on February 11, 2006 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

The links provided in the story's themselves are actually now a feature called "Times File" that is a part of Times Select, the subscription program. The links are not intended to be used, now, by anyone other then Times Select subscribers. So I don't see the point of your complaint Kevin. Unless it is to say that Times Select sucks, then I get it.

Posted by: hedgehog on February 11, 2006 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sure there's a way to blame this on Judy Miller.

Posted by: Chris O. on February 11, 2006 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

The /partner tag only works for registered users. The beauty of the link generator is that you don't have to register to read the article. The correct URL for the generator is http://nytimes.blogspace.com/genlink

Posted by: Daryl Cobranchi on February 11, 2006 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

Where's the anti-Bush angle on this one?

So let's see. You're the first one to try to make partisan hay out of this, and its the anti-Bush crowd whose hate is out of control?

Posted by: frankly0 on February 11, 2006 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

"If the archives are behind a moneywall, how is it that anyone can legally create special URL's to get into them in the first place?"

Exactly. Why is the NY Times allowing a way around their archive?

There's a blog idea--convert all the NY Times article URLs, post by post. It'd be a google sensation.

Posted by: Cal on February 11, 2006 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

if you go to dave winer's place, you'll see why this project was started, and there was a bit on the waxy.org links page where they detailed a bet that dave winer seems to be winning

Posted by: almostinfamous on February 12, 2006 at 1:02 AM | PERMALINK

Don't read NY times. I stopeed long time ago


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Posted by: 4321123 on February 12, 2006 at 6:12 AM | PERMALINK

Hmm, I think the "ex" parameter may be an expiration time. Unfortunately I doubt that increasing it will help, since it's probably tied to the hash in the "en" parameter.

The "ex" seems to be a Unix timestamp (seconds since January 1, 1970). For the now-broken URL it's 1134795600, which is December 17, 2005 (at midnight eastern time). Maybe that's not an expiration date, since the article is from December 16, but perhaps the expiration is a fixed length of time after the "ex" time.

For the URL from the link generator it's 1292389200, which is December 15, 2010. Looks like the link-generator URLs might eventually expire.

Posted by: KCinDC on February 12, 2006 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks.

I put this on my page and all blogs should advertise this fact.

Posted by: demondeac on February 12, 2006 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

The Coretta Scott King funeral was a political event.

Mrs. King's life was entirely political.
And the 4 "Kings" of Politics, 4 U.S. Presidents were there.

The courageous and commendable Reverend Lowery commented that President Bush was a weapon of mass destruction. Neither Presidents Bush 1 or 2 supported the King holiday before it became federal law. The Honorable President Carter commented that the FBI had wiretapped the Kings in the past. Today the FBI wiretapped the Quakers without warrant because they oppose the war in Iraq, althrough through nonviolent means.

Harry Belafonte was uninvited to the funeral because he had earlier called President Bush a terrorist. He was silenced in an unsuccessful effort to sanitize the event.

Was James Baldwin there?
Reverend Jackson was present in Memphis at the time of the Martin Luther King assassination. He is Marching on April 1, 2006 anniversary in New Orleans. At the funeral, truth was spoken. They did not lie. The funeral is appropriate at for the truth. The media emphasized the political points which again were the truth. Let Mrs. King rest in peace.

Posted by: frank on February 12, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, Kevin. Of course, we're all free not to bother linking to the NYTimes. Papers like WaPo and the LATimes seem to be a good deal more blog-friendly -- especially the former, which features blog posts prominently via Technorati.

Back before TimesSelect (B.ST.) I would regularly link to (and quote) Rich, Krugman, Kristof, even Friedman. And now? Nothing. Most readers don't have TimesSelect. And, further, why bother linking even to front-page news item? It's more than likely that another source has a permanent URL to equally good or at least comparable coverage of said item.

Am I alone on this? I was wondering whether other bloggers have also given up on the NYTimes...

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