Reading List: The New York Times Didn’t Hit a Wall After All

Each day we provide a roundup of five stories from around the Web that our editors read and found noteworthy. Follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day @digiday.

NYT’s Quite Subscription Success: When The New York Times announced its digital subscription plan in March, there was no shortage of those predicting doom and gloom for the Gray Lady. In fact, it hasn’t been all bad. The NYT reports it now has 324,00 digital subscribers — and its Web traffic hasn’t cratered. So much for the conventional wisdom. It also means we should expect more variations of the NYT approach from other Web publishers. PaidContent — Brian Morrissey @bmorrissey 
QR Codes Take Another Hit: In the mobile ad arena, enthusiasm for QR codes — those odd, Rorschach test-looking symbols that have popped up all over billboards and other out-of-home ads — has already diminished. Now they may even wreck your phone. According to Mashable, a company called Kaspersky Labs has discovered some cases of malware delivered to phones via QR codes. Of course, this may just be another one of those random alarmist reports from companies you’ve never heard of (especially given that these incidents took place in Russia), but any news of this sort, arriving at a time when QR codes are barely breathing, isn’t likely to spur interest in the tactic. Mashable — Mike Shields @digitalshields

Groupon’s Scaled-Back Ambitions: The news that Groupon will be meeting with potential investors to pitch an IPO that will net the company $12 billion is just another in a pretty long line (given the relatively short time frame) of disappointments for the daily deals site that has been called the fastest-growing company in history. Although it may seem counterintuitive to call a $12 billion valuation disappointing, that figure follows reports last summer that the company was looking for $30 billion. And now the investor community that was so enthusiastic six months ago has ratcheted expectations back considerably. Some press reports that even suggest that even $12 billion is a stretch, and perhaps $10 billion is more realistic. WSJ — Anne Sherber

The Horror Movie That is Facebook: It’s not only Eric Schmidt and conspiracy theorists who may wake up in a cold sweat from a dream about Facebook’s control of the intimate data on 800 million people; consumers might too. A new website dramatizes how easy it is for one crazed stalker type to invade your personal life via Facebook. The site illustrates that it’s not just data that Facebook houses, it’s consumer histories, friendships and preferences – not to mention data on location, age, religion and more. Facebook’s greatest leverage over consumers, brands and media types is its massive data pool, but that is also its greatest vulnerability. IndieWire — Carla Rover @carlarover

NFC Gains Traction: It’s still only available on one handset, but Google’s near-field communication mobile payment system, Google Wallet, is gaining traction. New Jersey Transit began letting commuters pay for fares using the in-phone sensors at multiple locations yesterday, including New York’s Penn Station. The technology continues to excite marketers as a powerful method of connecting online and mobile behavior to real-world actions and purchases. That opportunity will continue to grow as users become more accustomed to using it and are increasingly given the opportunity to do so. Bloomberg — Jack Marshall @JackMarshall
Digiday Top Stories