Old Dogs Learn New Tricks
You may have heard the devastating news that The New York Times has finally plugged the famous paywall loophole that allowed users to access more than their monthly allotment of articles. Once you used up your 10 free articles for the month, you could just delete the “?gwh=numbers” part of the URL to easily and freely access the story.
Si Newhouse isn’t the only dead tree aficionado looking to Startupland for frothier revenues. Bloomberg reports that, for the first time in more than three years, the New York Times Company is considering an acquisition and CEO Janet Robinson says its target is technology or information companies that can add the paper’s newfound digital dollars.
One of the more interesting dichotomies to develop in the software ecosystem over the past few years has been the open nature of Google’s app stores versus the closed and controlled marketplace maintained by Apple.
A new app in the Chrome store, Read WSJ, lets users get access to stories protected by the paywall without paying for a subscription the Wall Street Journal. It’s the perfect example of the sort of viral application that a permissive marketplace fosters.
It’s also the sort of thing that is going to produce big headaches for Google, which has had little luck in securing partnerships with the music, television and publishing industries.
The New York Times has been sending out cease-and-desist letters hackers who created various clever tricks to get around the paper’s new paywall, including the @FreeNYT, @freeNYTimes accounts on Twitter as well as the NYTClean bookmarklet which negates the code on a page that brings up the paywall. This doesn’t mean the Times won’t sue or threaten over the functionality of the hacks under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, but the paper doesn’t seem to have plans for that yet. NYTClean has been renamed NYClean; the free Twitter accounts have not switched over yet. –Bb.
The New York Times paywall dropped today! Local taste mapper Hunch took a look at who is trying to avoid the fees by navigating to articles through the @FreeNYT Twitter account (the Times is letting social media traffic in) and compared the freeloaders to readers of The New Yorker and The Wall Street Journal.