Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Art of Paywall Hacking

Paywalls keep content hidden from public view and make it available only to paid subscribers. What if you only want to read a few articles a year on a particular publication? Why should you have to pay for a year's subscription, when you probably won't get your money's worth?

Since newspapers are being bought up by out of town conglomerates that then fire the city editors, reduce staff, fire the photographers, etc., here's a way to get back at them.

Paywalls are idiotic. Paywalls violate the content architecture of the web. Paywalls ruin the linking mode of related content. A paywall says, "You can't get here from there."

Paywalls are horrible for SEO, because they block content from search engine spiders. Search engines will not index paywalled content. 

Paywalls are bad from a financial point of view. The money made from paid subscriptions is negated by the money lost from decreased views of ads. Paywall barriers limit research on important topics. They prevent people from sharing articles on social media.

Now you too can bust through a paywall and view a webpage without paying for a subscription.

Often you'll be able to view a few pages a month for free, then after that number, you'll be asked to pay for a subscription. Thus, deleting cookies, using private browsing, or using a browser you rarely open can be effective.

A hack that works for the New York Times may not work for the Wall Street Journal. if one technique doesn't work for you, try another one listed below.

(1) Move cursor to web address bar, where the URL (web address starting with http://), highlight all code after the question mark or pound/hash sign ("?" or "#"), delete it, then refresh page.

(2) Do the same, but replace all code after the "?" or "#" with a forward slash: /

(3) Highlight and copy the webpage URL, up to the "?", then paste it into your web browser address bar, but with "cache:" in front of it:


(4) Delete cookies from your web browser, then navigate to the webpage.

(5) Use the Private Browsing mode of your web browser.

(6) Open another browser that you rarely use. For me, that would be Internet Explorer.

(7) Google the headlilne of the article and visit it through the search engine results page link.

(8) Copy and paste the link into a Twitter search and click through to the story from Twitter. Stories accessed via social media don’t count towards your article limit.

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