UPDATE: The email was from the NYT, but went to the wrong list, according to Times staffers.
We just got the email which the New York Times PR is saying “looks like spam.” It arrived from the succinct address: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am not a home, digital, tablet or anything subscriber. But apparently:
Our records indicate that you recently requested to cancel your home delivery subscription. Please keep in mind when your delivery service ends, you will no longer have unlimited access to NYTimes.com and our NYTimes apps.
We do hope you’ll reconsider.
As a valued Times reader we invite you to continue your current subscription at an exclusive rate of 50% off for 16 weeks. This is a limited-time offer and will no longer be valid once your current subscription ends.*
Continue your subscription and you’ll keep your free, unlimited digital access, a benefit available only for our home delivery subscribers. You’ll receive unlimited access to NYTimes.com on any device, full access to our smartphone and iPad® apps, plus you can now share your unlimited access with a family member.†
To continue your subscription call 1-877-698-0025 and mention code 38H9H (Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. E.D.T.).
New York Observer editor Aaron Gell called the number in this email—not confirmed to be a New York Times number, but possibly a call center that routes calls regarding Times distribution—and got a voicemail saying call volume is too high to process. Betabeat’s repeated calls to the number were met with a busy signal.
This spam went far and wide (and is now on Github). It appears to have gone out to the Times’s registered users’ list; one user noted that the message arrived in an inbox he only uses for the Times: nytimes [at) thefriedmans.net.
UPDATE: @NYTPRGUY is passing the buck. Via Twitter, “We are investigating emails, please contact Eileen Murphy for full comment: email@example.com.”
If you received an email today about canceling your NYT subscription, ignore it. It’s not from us.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 28, 2011
Two folks on Twitter are now saying the email can be traced back to Epsilon, a marketing firm.
Oddly, the Times‘s home delivery page is down for routine maintenance as of 2:24 p.m.
UPDATE: Epsilon spokesperson Jessica Simon says, “This is the first I’ve heard of it. Let me talk with our email group and get back to you.” UPDATE: Oops.
Today’s subscriber email wasn’t a hack; it WAS sent by the NYT. RT @amychozick: Should’ve gone to appx 300 people & went to over 8 mil.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) December 28, 2011