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Happy birthday, Internet! Here are your lamest lifetime moments

Susie Ochs, Mark Sullivan | Oct. 30, 2013
Yes, the Internet has brought us closer together, but sometimes it's felt like surfing in a sea of dumb.

The Times, they are a-chargin'
The New York Times website receives 29 million unique visitors per month. It's the biggest newspaper site in the country, and all of its content used to be free. But as the Gray Lady's print subscriptions have declined, the Times has joined other major newspapers in experimenting with a paywall system. The results have been...mixed.

In 2005, the company rolled out TimesSelect, a subscription-based service that hid Times columnists like Nicholas Kristof and Thomas Friedman behind a paywall—which Friedman reacted badly to, saying flat-out, "I hate it" (skip to the 1:00 mark of this video).

The TimesSelect experiment ended in 2007, but in 2011 the Times launched its current paywall, which cuts off nonpaying readers after 20 free articles per month. (The company lowered the ceiling to 10 free articles per month in April 2012.) It's famously easy to get evade the limit, since links you click from outside the website—from Google, Twitter, Facebook, and elsewhere—don't count. But it seems to be working. In January 2013, public editor Margaret Sullivan said that subscription revenue had passed advertising revenue for the first time ever.

Now the Times just needs digital subscription offers that actually make sense. At the moment you can't subscribe to the website alone, for example; and if you want to read the news on your smartphone and your tablet, you have to pay twice. That's just silly.

Yahoo Answers: a safe place for imbeciles
It seemed like a good idea when it launched in 2005—and maybe Yahoo Answers really has helped a lot of people do a lot of things. But if YouTube is the place to go to find the mean people on the Internet, Yahoo Answers seems to be the place to go to find the dumb. Behold...

Google goofed
You know that sinking feeling when you delete something you didn't mean to get rid of, or when you accidentally click 'Reply All' when you meant to send your response to the one person that 'Reply' would have reached? So embarrassing. But at least you aren't the Google employee who mistakenly deleted the company's official blog from Blogger back in 2006, drawing a stern "Google needs to get its house in order" admonition from Rob Enderle of all people. Luckily for Google, a 19-year-old student at the University of Texas quickly snapped up the abandoned address on Blogger (a service Google owns) and notified Google so the company could take it back and sheepishly admit what had happened (d'oh!).

'A series of tubes'
Ted Stevens, a longtime (as in 40 years total) Republican senator from Alaska, set the anti—net neutrality cause back several decades with his hilariously primitive definition of the Internet in front of Congress on June 28, 2006. Here are Stevens' own words:


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