Today, the NY Times unveiled its new paywall for the NYTimes.com website. Starting at 2 p.m., NYTimes.com has been offering the first 20 articles/month a visitor read for free, but after that, the NY Times would like visitors to pay $15 to $35 per month for unlimited access (there's a special 99-cent/week offer for this first month). Publisher Arthur Sulzberger even offered a letter to readers—and a photo of himself by celebrity photographer Brigitte Lacombe—to explain this new era. But did he realize there are ways around the paywall? Here are a few:
- You can delete the end of the URL—everything after the ".html" or anything that starts "&gwh="—and access the article.
- Another suggestion, via Twitter: "'Private browsing' in Firefox seems to disable it, as does switching browser. Pointless."
- Also clearing browser caches might work because of session cookies.
- And since Canada has had the paywall for a while, a Canadian hacker came up with some code to break through.
Also: If another 9/11-type event (or massive 9.0 earthquake?) happens, the paywall will disappear. Sulzberger said in his letter, "Readers who come to Times articles through links from search engines, blogs and social media will be able to read those articles, even if they have reached their monthly reading limit. This allows new and casual readers to continue to discover our content on the open Web. On all major search engines, users will have a daily limit on free links to Times articles." So maybe keep going to blogs and social media that may link to the NY Times!
Oh, and apparently the Times spent $40 million writing the code for the paywall. That's 2.667 million $15 four-week subscriptions!