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Senior Vice-President for Research and Innovation, Professor of Theoretical Physics, Michigan State University

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Update on NYTimes paywall

I posted before on miserly strategies to avoid buying a NYTimes subscription. It now appears to me their paywall is even wimpier than I had originally suspected. When I wrote the earlier post I hadn't yet experienced the paywall (either it wasn't on or I hadn't reached my limit of free articles for the month; I suspect the former). Having played around with it a bit, I've found the following.

If I try to read, for example, the Sidney Lumet obituary (btw, I highly recommend Dog Day Afternoon :-), the browser url bar shows the following when the subscription page has finally loaded:


If I eliminate all the cruft after "html" so that the url bar reads


then reloading lets me read the article for free. This has worked for every article I've tried -- probably 20 or so by now.


Mariano Chouza said...

I'm still unable to see the paywall after accessing 40+ articles, though I'm logged as a free user. But, if this is really their 25M paywall, the NYT should be ashamed of itself :-)

jaim klein said...

In The Economist is the same phenomenon. They have dont know how to solve the conflict: to extend readership and to make them pay.

steve hsu said...

The Financial Times went the other way -- this trick doesn't work, and outside links still hit the paywall. I think the FT has the best coverage of finance and economics of any daily, including the WSJ.

LondonYoung said...

IMHO, the FT covers more than the WSJ, but the FT is less accurate than the WSJ. I think both publications are trying hard to be top-notch, but operating at different points on the "are we sure enough of this article to public it?" curve. The NYT, again IMHO, is really struggling, and the editorial page is leaking into the news ... Sidenote on FT - they have a deal with Bloomberg where Bloomberg links paywalled FT articles for a kickback. This model is working well for both.

David Backus said...

Cruft: great word.

steve hsu said...

You might be right. I guess I was favoring the FT for being a bit more sophisticated in analysis. But for actual reporting the WSJ might do a better job.

Kevin Babcock said...

If you're interested in the business of writing news and some of the recent struggles the New York Times has gone through, I highly recommend you see Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times. If you're less interested in the business part, David Carr drives the film He is a fascinating character, equal parts engaging and acerbic.


I don't know if it's been picked up for distribution yet, but those of you in the San Francisco area can see it at the San Francisco International Film Festival on April 29 or May 1.


Tear_down_that_wall_Arthur said...

Feed on this, it's quicker: https://twitter.com/timeswiretap

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