NYT Links

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.