How’s TimesPeople — the social networking service the New York Times launched in September — doing?
Not bad. NYT digital CTO Marc Frons tells us it’s attracted “well over 100,000 users.” Frons also said a bunch of feature improvements are coming early next year — in early or mid January — which should make the service easier to use.
That’s a small user base compared to the Times‘ firehose of traffic — 15 million unique visitors in November, according to Compete. So it’s probably not yet measurably boosting the Times‘ Web traffic or engagement numbers. (And it’s definitely not going to help the Times‘ parent company with its cash crisis.)
But we think TimesPeople — which lets you recommend stories to your friends, and see what they’re recommending and commenting on — is a smart feature that will gradually find a broader audience. Which, over time, could get users to read more Times stories and look at more Times ads.
The biggest challenge we’ve had: Figuring out how to add more of our friends so we can see their recommendations.
Right now, the site lets you search for your friend’s name, or import contacts from Google’s (GOOG) GMail, Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows Live, or Yahoo (YHOO) mail. That works for most people, but we don’t use any of those services. (Nor do any of our friends who use GMail know the email address we used to sign up for our Times account many years ago.) So if the Times (NYT) could access our Mac mail account somehow, or let us hook up with our Facebook friends and Twitter followers, TimesPeople would be a lot more useful for us.
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