Mathew Ingram yesterday proclaimed that "free is better" when it comes to news sites, and he offered new evidence to support this assertion.

He pointed to web traffic data of the New York Time's website that TechCrunch analyzed.  According to comScore data, traffic to the paper's site has surged since it ended its Times Select subscription pay wall back in September. 

Between August and October this year, site visitors increased by an impressive 64 percent along with a 52 percent growth for page views.  Clearly dropping the pay wall has boosted the traffic to the site.   

The web analytics geek in me would love to see how the average time on site per user has changed in this time period.  One would think that Times Select subscribers would spend more time on the site since they're paying for it and are probably Times fans.  If that's correct, then perhaps the average time spent on the site has dropped since people who come for free are: 1) not paying for it and 2) aren't proving loyalty already by paying a fee.

What do you think?