Did you know that the New York Times shelled out an astounding $40 million for a paywall solution recently? Additionally, did you know that it may be bypassed with just a few clicks? Although it costs a considerable sum to safeguard this content, there are actually a surprising number of ways to browse the NY Times for free right now. Clearly, there are still lessons to be learnt as newspapers make tentative, hesitant moves to generate money online.
Continue reading if you’re curious in how the Internet has eliminated $40 million worth of work.
A Quick Word Before We Begin
This piece isn’t intended to deny the New York Times or its journalists of money; rather, it’s meant to show how simple it is to get around protection like this. Any such techniques are not the creation of MakeUseOf.
However, we believe that this is in the best interests of our readers, therefore this essay. If you have strong feelings about this topic, please share them in the comments section at the end of this post.
1. Clearing Cookies
IP (Internet Protocol) addresses are not being used by the paywall to track visits. Additionally, the website offers you 20 free articles each month, which are tracked by cookies. Once you have read 20 articles using Chrome, you are free to read another 20 using Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, and so on because each cookie is specific to a different browser.
In light of this reasoning, you can just delete your cookies and continue browsing (since you probably don’t want to switch browsers just to read the news). The only issue with deleting all of your cookies is that other websites you often use and visit might stop remembering who you are.
Note: Since cookies are necessary for the site to function, you cannot completely disable cookies in your browser.
2. Removing The Overlay
Any additional articles you try to access after article number 20 will display an overlay that prevents you from scrolling the page and viewing the material below the “purchase a subscription” button.
A bookmarklet created by Dave Hayes of euri.ca removes the annoying overlay and enables scrolling once it is clicked. When you reach the paywall, drag the NYTClean bookmarklet to your bookmarks bar and click it. The overlay will vanish, allowing you to read the article once more.
3. The Google Approach
Use Google if you truly need to view an article that is protected by a paywall (for a select few). If you use the whole article title or URL in a Google search, the desired article should appear as the first search result.
You should be allowed to access the content while you are coming from a search engine result because many websites consider the “initial click free.” Repeat the procedure and click through from your search results to read your next article. Using this technique, you should receive 5 free articles per day.
The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times are two publications with paywalls where this method has been found to be effective.
4. The Social Backdoor
The newspaper wants to strengthen its social networking capabilities, therefore for now, items that can be viewed via Facebook or Twitter are free to access. You can use this page to identify Twitter feeds that are pertinent to your interests, so you don’t have to follow every article.
It’s important to note that the text stipulates that if this manner of material access is misused, this benefit will be removed. How soon this will happen is unknown, but if you can’t click the stories, what good is following the paper on Twitter?
For updates on newly released NY Times articles, you may also follow @freeUnnamedNews.
5. Browser Extensions
Greasemonkey can be installed by Firefox users, and Greasekit by Safari users, to run user scripts (like this one at userscripts.org) that purport to circumvent the paywall. Installing scripts from sources like this should only be done with caution, and you should turn them off when not using the NY Times website.
There was a Chrome plugin that accomplished this with just two lines of CSS, but Google removed it, and the New York Times changed a few classes.
There are many problems with the decision to pay for access to internet material. Search engine optimization is harmed when content is completely hidden. On the other hand, leaving content online where it is easily accessible would inevitably lead to a similar disaster.
The newspaper will undoubtedly strive to safeguard its material in other ways, so these five strategies are unlikely to be effective for very long. This article should shed some light on the challenges faced by conventional print media outlets and the challenges associated with safeguarding material that is intended for both devoted readers and search engine visitors.
How do you feel about the New York Times paywall? Have you visited the site via one of the aforementioned methods? Any further methods? Comment below with your ethical, technical, and financial reports.