Shooting Down Paywalls

By Deane Barker on March 22, 2011

Shooting down paywalls: Jon Marks explains the inherent brittleness behind the new breed of newspaper paywalls.

The New York Times also have a 20 free articles per month thing going. Again, implemented client side using a cookie. Delete your cookies from the site, and it is all yours. Getting around this paywall is so easy that it looks like they didn’t even try to properly protect the content. And maybe they didn’t.

In fact, there is a strong argument to say that a secure paywall isn’t a good idea. The Times of London have a well implemented, pretty secure paywall, but they are one of the few. The Wall Street Journal, probably the most successful pay wall of the lot, do a simple referer check. If you’re coming from Google, you get access. So if you’ve got the energy, just search for the headline on Google to get your free access.



  1. You don’t even need to delete cookies. Just turn off JavaScript.

    That’s right. The paywall is implemented in JavaScript. On the client side.

  2. yes adam is right…if turn of the javascript in your browser, you won’t be able to see paywall ;) but turning off javascript will effect other sites as well, you may not be able to see full content on the page

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