Lion of the Blogosphere

NY Times vs Wall Street Journal paywalls

Both newspapers believe that some people should be able to read their articles despite not being paying subscribers, but they have different approaches.

The New York Times believes that you should be able to read ten articles for free each month, presumably because the teaser will show you how awesome the paper is and make you want to sign up and start paying. However the NY Times tracks this based on cookies, so it’s ridiculously easy to circumvent, just visit the NY Times website using an incognito window (Chrome) or private window (Firefox). These modes don’t send any permanent cookies to the server, so each time you open an incognito or private window you get to read another ten articles for free. It’s a good idea to visit random sites on the web using these modes anyway, because why do you want web advertising companies tracking everything you do?

The Wall Street Journal believes that you should be able to read their articles if you are linked to the article from another site. And they check this based on the referring URL that your browser sends to the server, but your browser will only send a referring URL if you are NOT using an incognito or private mode because those modes do not send referring URLs. So if you see a WSJ article you want to read, the easiest way to generate a referring URL outside of the WSJ site is to go to Google, type or paste the headline of the article, and then click then link. The WSJ paywall is somewhat more of a pain in the ass to get around than the NYT paywall, or most other newspapers which use the same scheme as the NYT.

I don’t think you are doing anything illegal by doing this. Both of these newspapers have purposely put these holes into their paywalls because they WANT some people to be able to read their articles for free. These holes took effort for them to program. They went out of their way to create them. Using these holes, I think, is kind of like going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and paying just $1 instead of the suggested admission of $25, except in one case you are getting a good deal from a charitable institution dedicated to art and culture, while in the other case you are getting a good deal from a private corporation dedicated to making a profit.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 19, 2015 at 10:01 am

Posted in News

21 Responses

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  1. The WSJ is better written than the NYT, which has become colloquial and dumbed down over the years.

    slithy toves

    August 19, 2015 at 10:44 am

    • Toss-up. WSJ’s quality – both in terms of writing style and intellectual considerations – rapidly deteriorated after the 2008 Murdoch takeover. I don’t bother buying either anymore and instead rely on the FT, the German-language press, and other web sources.

      Viscount Douchenozzlé

      August 20, 2015 at 1:23 pm

  2. This info is appreciated.

    Now, kindly explain out how to get behind the Economist paywall.

    Thank you, kind sir.


    August 19, 2015 at 10:55 am

    • opera mini
      uc mini
      opera mobile offroad
      opera max
      cookies disallowed/incognito mode

      opera 12 in turbo mode, delete cookies



      August 19, 2015 at 7:33 pm

  3. who cares about the NYT or WSJ making money?

    If they don’t like it, we’ll simply import some people who will write their articles for less.

    I choose to fight income inequality by impoverishing decadent urban journalists.


    August 19, 2015 at 11:24 am

  4. When does LOTB roll out a subscription model with $7.95/month exclusive Guido Law content?


    August 19, 2015 at 11:44 am

  5. Currently on the NY Times websites main article.

    “The Smells of Summer

    On certain summer days, simply walking down a New York City block means being assaulted by smells.”


    August 19, 2015 at 1:12 pm

  6. Yeah, right. It’s like saying that it’s so easy to cheat on your taxes because the government doesn’t want smart people to pay taxes. Makes sense?


    August 19, 2015 at 2:20 pm

  7. good post, lion.

    except the museum is a power hungry institution, too.

    did you read lila, the sequel to zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance?


    August 19, 2015 at 2:42 pm

  8. If you have a .edu email, wapo is free completely.


    August 19, 2015 at 7:27 pm

  9. I love how you have less time to blog now that you don’t have your job anymore. It’s just so representative of the bullshit economy that exists now.

    I feel your pain; until recently I was in the same situation. They must have resented you for being able to get all your work done before lunch.

    Winston Smith

    August 19, 2015 at 8:43 pm

  10. O/T – Lion, will you be blogging about Mr. Subway Sandwich, Jared Fogle, pleading guilty for having sex with underage girls? It could be that he was married to unattractive women, which led him to seek minor women, who would be more willing to sleep with him, than nubile 20 year olds, who are solely interested in the attractive, alpha types. Hiring escorts/hookers, would made him more visible, with his sexual activity.


    August 19, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    • So there’s a whole other dimension to your stupidity that’s not all about proles. Please elaborate.

      Lloyd Llewellyn

      August 20, 2015 at 12:30 am

      • A high profile, yet creepy, unattractive guy like Jared (who isn’t married to a trophy wife) would have hard time getting sex with 20 year olds, who are at their prime.

        So what is stupid about my speculation of his habitual, sexual escapades with underage girls, which is more of a hush hush underworld than escorts/hookers?


        August 20, 2015 at 1:06 pm

      • Because it’s not easier for him to have sex with underage girls than legal ones and that goes double (triple? quadrdulple? quintuple?) for prostitutes. What world are you living in?

        Viscount Douchenozzlé: I hope for his sake his whole persona is an act.

        Lloyd Llewellyn

        August 25, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    • Who cares? This might be a good time for JS to do a bit of self-examination.

      Viscount Douchenozzlé

      August 20, 2015 at 1:24 pm

  11. Or use BrekathePaywall!


    August 20, 2015 at 1:20 pm

  12. Newsday seems to have one of the hardest paywalls to circumvent.



    August 21, 2015 at 12:30 am

  13. Google for Newsday owned Cablevision and see why, Peter.

    Also folks, despite incognito browser modes, scripts from common domains like google, even the presence of social media like/share buttons, communicates plenty of identifying data and metadata about your IP, browser version, window size/positioning, OS versions, synchronicity of action with other users, and the like. “Footprint” as it were.

    The more ISPs owning content and bandwidth preferences shown, etc., the worse it all gets.


    August 21, 2015 at 1:06 pm

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