How to climb the paywall

By Isaac Azuelos

Now that the Gauntlet — through our brilliant editorial — has successfully convinced you that paying for quality content is reasonable and that The New York Times’ paywall isn’t an act of evil, we’ll show you how to completely circumvent it.

The paywall is surprisingly well thought-out, lacking the disconnect traditional media has always had with the Internet. Not stifling the traffic from social media and allowing a total of five redirects from search engines every day is such a startlingly good way of not alienating non-subscribers the way paywalls often do.

By only targeting people who actively go The New York Times as their primary news source, they’re keeping themselves an active member of the social media.

Of course this same search-referral permits frugal users to view a total of 160 stories in a 28-day span for free if they’re cheap enough to deal with the inconvenience.

The paywall’s problems almost entirely reside in its payment structure, making that inconvenient option much more palpable. That one can expect to pay $15 every four weeks for to view the website on an iPad and iPhone through the devices’ Safari browser makes sense, but being expected to pay another $20 — more than the cost of the basic subscription itself — just to use the native app for a smoother experience is unjustified.

Both The New York Times and their users would benefit from a simpler, device agnostic approach to pricing. Users would feel less gouged and The Times is less likely face resistance in their paywall while providing a better experience.

As far as the moral standing of sidestepping a paywall, it’s hard to espouse the traditional technophile’s want for of total information freedom on the Internet in the face of such an unreasonably accommodating annoyance. Of course, as a technophile, the cookie-induced, semi-transparent div tag that makes up the paywall isn’t much of a hindrance. And that’s why you’re here, cheap jerk.

A number of ways of circumventing this paywall have been discovered by enterprising high-schoolers which range in complexity from DOM manipulation to simply modifying the URL in your browser.

CSS trickery

Inspect the element that is the paywall and delete it. It’s the last div tag in the html’s body. If you don’t know what that means, you might want to keep moving down this list.

Cookie destruction

For the Sesame Street inclined, you could sadden everyone’s favourite monster by deleting your cookies. If you don’t delete only The New York Times’ cookie, you’ll have to re-enter all the passwords you haven’t saved to browser, which should be all of them.

Address fiddling

See the ugly, untweetable address up in the address/omni/awesome bar? Try backspacing over everything after the “.html” and resubmit to see the story.

Wallet withdrawl

You could always just pay. These are hard-working people who honestly believe they deserve your money. They might be on to something. I can’t believe I just said that.

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