NYTimes Columnists Telling Readers How To Get Around The Paywall

from the they-don't-want-to-be-hidden dept

As we learned the last time the NY Times blocked its esteemed columnists off behind a paywall, those columnists really don’t like being cut out of the conversation. So it’s somewhat amusing, in the wake of the new paywall announcement, that star columnist Paul Krugman is already telling readers how to get around the paywall. Since it will be free to visit stories if you come in from elsewhere, Krugman is telling people an easy way to do so:

But for those who haven’t [subscribed], arriving at this blog via links won’t count against your ration of free nytimes.com views. As I understand it, for example, you can come in via my automated Twitter feed; and of course clicking on links at Mark Thoma or other blogs will also work.

Of course, in thinking about this, you have to wonder if there are going to be additional unintended consequences for the Times. For example, its home page is going to lose a lot of value, because each click now has a significant “cost.” However, if you were to browse another site… say, one some third party set up that linked to the Times’ articles, you could click those links without that cost. Your basic economics has to say that this harms the Times’ own site while opening up opportunities for third parties to collect that traffic. It would be interesting if a Nobel Prize winning economist… such as Paul Krugman… decided to make that point to the geniuses in upper management at the NY Times.

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Comments on “NYTimes Columnists Telling Readers How To Get Around The Paywall”

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Anonymous Coward says:

They’re just now telling folks this? Sorry already figured it out.

There is a website I go to that every Saturday and Sunday, when news is slow, they put in a NYT link to some article that goes straight to the paywall and no where else. I assume it to be some of the NYT staff doing it to drive business. I go copy the title, paste it in the search engine and someone always has it up then or in a few hours. This allows access straight through to the article.

I would recommend that NYT stop that allowing linking to come in. Otherwise their precious paywall doesn’t do much good. If they do, other than to NYC, they will become irrelevant as a news producer.

I certainly won’t go through their paywall as a paying customer because other than the occasional article there is no interest in the NYT and if I can find it elsewhere, I won’t even go with the link allowed.

Steven (profile) says:

And that's why this will be a 'success'.

The paywall will be so full of holes and ways around that most people won’t even notice it’s there. However the fact that it exists will get some people to subscribe for various reasons (I’m sure mostly guilt).

There will probably be a small dip in readership, but I doubt it will be really noticeable in the long slow demise of the paper.

The NYT will be able to claim ‘the paywall works!’ publicly, while to the advertisers they’ll show that traffic really hasn’t gone down much even if they didn’t get many subscribers.

Justin (profile) says:

like a toll bridge

I built my own island and the only way to get there is on my bridge that I also built. On my island I make money by selling ads, having people look at my ads and then deciding to go to the places that are in the ads. My friend thought that my island was a good idea and a place that people would really enjoy so he also built a bridge to my island. But I don’t like his bridge and think that I should be the only one able to control the people and the way they get to my island. So in response I built a toll booth at the entrance to my bridge, but I didn’t want people to feel like they were cut off from my island so I put up a sign and details about how to get to my friend’s bridge that is free. Since I spent so much money on my new toll booth about $40 Million, I know that I have loyal customers that will want to use my bridge and pay my new toll even though there are better options of getting to my island. I don’t see what can go wrong with that.

misterdoug (profile) says:

They're in a bid alright

As newspapers have been forced to turn to the web, most of them seem to think of it as the electronic version of a printing press, which is kind of like thinking of the internal combustion engine as a way to make it easier for horses to pull wagons. It’s going to take quite a few years (and mainly a lot of obituaries) before we stop trying to force the internet to conform to traditional business models.

There’s an old army saying — when the map and terrain disagree, trust the terrain.

Cow Lard says:

Huh, thats a Paywall?

I thought Paywall was a brand of Swiss cheese.
Marketed at Fat Rats who don’t know how to Sniff & Nibble.
Or was that Fat Cats?

The lack of resources always tend to make one resourceful.
For those with too much money not enough brains, try some Swiss Paywall……YUM YUM!

Who said there wasn’t money in CON-Venience?

william (profile) says:

wait… a… sec…

If arriving at NYT from a link doesn’t count as one of your “limited” visit…

what’s stopping someone setting up a pure portal page for all the NYT article? And if you want to avoid NYT catching you, you can link to all the articles in the web that links to the NYT page you want?

So in essence, did NYT just gave up all their potential traffic and revenue on their pages to 2nd/3rd party news sites/agencies?

aldestrawk says:

existing wall vs coming paywall

In December and January the NY Times said their paywall would be going up in January or early February. A sort of paywall was implemented, at least in my geographical region, at the end of January. I am not sure if this was a regional test or just a simple version in relation to the March 28th rollout. I would like to see the Times find a workable business model to sustain themselves. This is an interesting experiment but being complicated is just one of the drawbacks. The current paywall is easily by-passed and it doesn’t matter whether I am going through the front door or a side door. I know how they can make it stronger and that may be how the version coming out on the 28th has been done. I do not see a way that the Times can allow some free access and at the same time limit that access in a full-proof manner.

aldestrawk says:

Clarification on paywall

I think Paul Krugman wasn’t completely correct. My understanding, from the Times faq about the paywall is that the 20 item limit per month applies to all side doors as well, including links via his twitter feed and via other blogs. In addition to the 20 item/month limit there is a 5 item/day limit for links via search engines. That is, even if you have used up your free 20 items you have an additional 5/day via search engines at least. There is unlimited access to blog fronts which is probably what Mr. krugman was thinking of. If he keeps his blog entries short (about 3 paragraphs) that would mean unlimited access to the full blog.
I have seen a post from a Canadian that confirms that the paywall implementation is no different then what I am seeing now. This means the paywall is easily bypassed and they are depending on most people not bypassing it via ignorance, laziness, guilt, or goodwill. I think they intend it to work like shareware.
Whatever the case, the thing that flabbergasts me the most is the $40 million cost. I just can’t believe it would take that much to implement a paywall.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Clarification on paywall

I think Paul Krugman wasn’t completely correct. My understanding, from the Times faq about the paywall is that the 20 item limit per month applies to all side doors as well, including links via his twitter feed and via other blogs.

Nope. According to the NYT, such side doors do NOT count against the 20.

aldestrawk says:

Re: Re: Clarification on paywall

From the faq at:

Visitors can enjoy 20 free articles (including blog posts, slide shows, video and other multimedia features) each calendar month on NYTimes.com, as well as unrestricted access to browse the home page, section fronts, blog fronts and classifieds.

Yes. We encourage links from Facebook, Twitter, search engines, blogs and social media. When you visit NYTimes.com through a link from one of these channels, that article (or video, slide show, etc.) will count toward your monthly limit of 20 free articles, but you will still be able to view it even if you’ve already read your 20 free articles.

aldestrawk says:

Re: Re: Re: Clarification on paywall

oops, premature postalation.
I think I was reading too quickly. So, Yeah, it looks like a very generous policy for free reads. I think despite all the gloom and doom about how this will fail it looks the Times is bending over backwards to not drive away any readers that don’t want to pay or pay as much as they are currently asking. The generous free reading policy is complemented by the ability to just delete cookies to zero out your monthly article count.

aldestrawk says:

Re: Re: Clarification on paywall

Actually the faq is contradictory.

When you visit NYTimes.com by clicking links in search results, you’ll have a daily limit of 5 free articles. This limit applies to the majority of search engines.

If you have an unlimited access via search engine links, why would they say this? We’ll just have to test it when it rolls out to really understand. Maybe one of you Canucks knows if you can get off that snowmobile.

keith (profile) says:

“It would be interesting if a Nobel Prize winning economist… such as Paul Krugman… decided to make that point to the geniuses in upper management at the NY Times.”

Ha! Krugman stopped being a serious economist a long time ago – now hes just a sellout for a fat paycheck and writes to defend whatever position the times wants him too …. which, is his choice and I don’t really blame him. mmmmm fat paycheck.

aldestrawk says:

Re: Re:

It looks like the Times has removed the test paywall I was seeing so I cannot test further, but they are using cookies to implement their paywall. They might be using Javascript to write the cookies but I am guessing they are not. If not, neither adblock nor noscript addons (with Firefox for example) will bypass the firewall.

Anonymous Coward says:

Good luck with the counting up how many times someone has been to the site.

Cookies? Mine get deleted every time the browser closes. IP? That gets changed at least twice a month. Maybe magic fairy dust will work.

However I am more tempted to do as several others have already mentioned, use Adblock to solve the whole thing for them.

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