Free the Times!

The New York Times has gone retro.  They’re creating an online paywall.  The first 20 articles are free.  After that it’s $15 a month.  It didn’t work the first time a few years ago.  But like the McRib they keep bringing it back.

Now I don’t expect the Times to get Net religion. But it should charge a reasonable fee.   $15 is excessive pre-Internet thinking. It’s like record companies charging $10-15 for an online album with protected files, often more than the price of a physical CD.   How well did that work out?

At some point I hope the Times will do the math, accept real-world economics, and grok that it’s better to land 1 million subscribers at $5/month than 100,000 at $15.

If you are an anarchist, pirate, renegade, digital rights activist, or are cheap, vote with your wallet, have little better to do with your time, or are just not in the mood to be old school, you can just say No … just like it was easy for consumers to get around the music industry’s stone age practices with mp3’s and p2p file sharing.

Here are a few ways to free the Times.

  • NYTClean Bookmarklet.  An elegant solution.
  • Go to the address book, delete the text after .html, and reload
  • Twitter feed of Times articles – FreeNYTimes, Free Unnamed News
    , and The Times direct.
  • Use a different browser
  • Use Firefox with Cool Previews add-on, which happens to show the whole article.
  • Paywall Smasher extension for Google Chrome.
  • Launch a new  “incognito” window in Chrome.
  • User Script. Requires manager like Grease Monkey for Firefox or  Greasekit for Safari and scrip like this.
  • BugMeNot. There already is a cottage industry in sites with free passwords.
  • Aggregators.  Links from blogs will be free.  An army of sites will spring up virtually mimicking the Times now that there is a need.
  • Use Google to read 5 free articles a day.
  • Erase all your cookies or just that of nytimes.com
  • Use a different computer or device, or IP address proxy like dtunnel

If the Times cracks down on some of these practices, fear not!  There will be plenty of new cracks, tools, and techniques to take their place.

Note:  The following techniques appear to no longer work.

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