A day after Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. announced plans to spin-off more than a dozen regional papers as part of the company’s “transformation to a digitally-focused, multimedia media company,” The New York Times demonstrated how difficult transformations between analogue and digital media sometimes can be, mistakenly sending emails to millions of non-subscribers on the paper’s promotion list, offering them an “exclusive” 50% discount on subscriptions to the paper.
The email, which was intended to go to about 300 print edition subscribers who recently canceled their subscriptions, was accidentally send to about 8 million people, many of who don’t subscribe to the paper, but receive its promotional emails.
Attempts to call the phone number in the email offer were unsuccessful and yielded a busy signal.
The Times quickly sent an email apology to the promotion list, asking recipients, explaining it was an error and asking them to disregard the message, but not before the incident lit up blogs and social media sites with chatter about the SNAFU, which caused some to speculate about a potential spam attack via the paper’s email servers.
The incident happened days before New York Times Co. CEO Janet Robinson, and the company’s top digital media executive, Martin Nisenholtz, are set to retire.