The Porous Pay Wall at The New York Times

For those who want information to be free -- or at least pay the media the value of the product they provide -- here are a few ways to pay the New York Times the fair value of what they provide: zero.

Their ballyhooed "pay wall" (reportedly costing them tens of millions of dollars to develop) has some Swiss cheese holes that allow easy entry. Normally, you get twenty free articles a month and then an annoying big banner comes down that blocks most of your view. The banner informs you that your limit has been reached and you can pick various payment options that allow you to read more.

But there are ways you can tunnel through the wall that are easier than some of the software solutions that have been bouncing around the internet. The easy way is just to use different computers (including iPads) in your home. Each one gets a "free ride" of the aforementioned 20 articles.

The next flaw in the wall is that you can still follow links to New York Times articles that are embedded on other sites.  Those seem to have escaped the attention of the number crunchers at the Times.

Another related method is to set up Google alerts. Often these will contain New York Times articles. You can link through those alerts and tunnel right through the wall.

Or, if you do not have Google Alerts set up, once you come across a New York Times column of interest, remember a few words in the headline or body of the article. Then go to Google and put those words into the search engine. Voila -- you are in and the ticket price is zero. 

David Gerstman has some tips about burrowing through the Pay Wall, as well. He has been using various search engines/browsers  to "break through" the wall once he has reached the 20 article limit.

David writes:

Also if you have an American library card you can access articles in the New York Times database through your library system which has research databases. I have reason to believe that most American universities have similar access.

Now a link to the articles may not help, but you can get the complete articles. The libraries and universities have paid for access, so you don't have to.

A website, NewsBank,  might also be useful.

Another suggestion comes from Brian of London, who guides people to this website  to learn how to collapse the wall.

I imagine at some point, the Times management -- usually asleep at the switch under the poor management of Arthur ("Pinch") Sulzberger -- will stop hitting the snooze button and hire some real talent: a software designer equivalent of Hans Brinker to plug the pay wall.

In the mean time, happy hunting.
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