Most of them seem to think it a bit "ho-hum", given that there are dozens of personalized portal offerings out there, including My Yahoo, iGoogle, Netvibes, Pageflakes, etc.
I spent some time personalizing my My Times page (* see below if you'd like to see how I personalized My Times), enough to get the broad strokes of the offering, but not enough time to really see everything that's possible to customize.
And I have the opposite reaction.
I think it's terrific, nailing most of the basics in the first try. I'm already wishing I could do this with my other favorite paper, the Wall Street Journal.
But I have some suggestions for the folks at the NY Times (did you expect anything less?).
In my view the only mistake the NY Times offering makes is that it gives users the option of adding lots of content from NON-New York Times sources, much like a general-purpose, personalized portal offering from the types of companies mentioned above.
Instead, it should focus on offering tons of personalization in setting up one's favorite content from the New York Times online. Just the way each reader wants to access NYTimes content.
And they should offer the ability to get this personalized My Times content on mobile devices.
The other thing they should make sure to add is the ability for readers to comment on everything, and for these comments, along with the original NY Times content, to be immensely search-able and shareable across the web. In full text, not just links back to the site.
Oh, and make it easy to get at all the New York Time video, and share it, YouTube style. The New York Times, like most online papers, is making a concerted effort to add video and other multi-media takes on it's print content. The problem now is that it's not as easy to find, search and share, especially archival stuff.
Basic internet 101 stuff, Web 2.0-style. But just New York Times content. None of the other stuff.
The New York Times is a unique property to say the least.
And I've been a New York Times news junkie for quarter of a century, so my views on this may be a bit biased.
It's a world in itself, with each section have oodles of authority and relevance.
Even their blogs have kick-ass content most of the time.
So let users just focus on getting all that stuff, just the way they want it.
And the heck with all the non-NYTimes stuff. Readers have tons of options for that anyway, and it dilutes the unique value-add of the NYT content.
Oh, and of course it should be free. Ad-supported.
No going back to the TimesSelect premium-subscription stuff.
And let people share their personalized pages with others.
Think this can be pretty viral and powerful. What do you think?
* P.S. If you're curious on how I personalized my own My Times page, read on:
First, I have no non-NY Times content on any of my four, personalized pages. Apparently I'm limited to only four pages...why, I have no idea.
My first page is labeled "My Front Page", which has just the sections of major news I like from the various NY Times sections.
Second page is "NYTimes Blogs", which is a good place for all my favorite NY Times blogs. There're a lot to choose from in almost every news category. And as mentioned above, most are really good.
Third page is "Arts", which has all the Arts/Leisure section stuff, again just the stuff I care about.
Finally, the fourth page, labelled "Op-Ed", which has all my favorite columnist and editorial writers.
I'm sure I'll be tweaking them some more as time goes on, but it's a good first step.