Free Chrome Extension Pushes Past the WSJ Paywall

It's pretty easy it was to get around the New York Times' newly erected paywall, and now there's a free Chrome browser extension that does exactly the same thing for the Wall Street Journal.

The extension, "Read WSJ Extension," has been labeled as a way to "cheat" the Wall Street Journal, but we're not quite so hyperbolic in our view. The reason is because it's always been easy to get around the WSJ paywall. Since arrivals at the WSJ that are directed to the site via search engines like Google skip through the paywall just fine, a simple search on the WSJ article title usually works.

Still, this is a much easier solution. How does it work? Exactly as above. If you click on a "locked" WSJ story, and watch carefully, you can see the extension bring up a Google search and then return you to the story. All it is doing is automating what could be done manually. You can tell which stories are "locked" because a little unlock icon (as shown) appears next to them.

While it's possible News Corp. is frantically ringing up Google to get the extension removed from the Chrome Web Store, this extension has already made the rounds of the Web and as we've said before: what's posted to the Internet, stays on the Internet.
LBowen 3 years ago

The Wall Street Journal needs to get with the times and support online article viewing with unobtrusive side ads. Nobody is going to want to pay a subscription for news they could get from other sites for free.

omegadraco 3 years ago

I will give it to the WSJ for trying to be creative in adding to their revenue stream but I have to agree with LBowen. "Nobody is going to want to pay a subscription for news they could get from other sites for free" What a surprise that their paywall is pretty easy to get around... "so easy a caveman can do it"

OptimusPrimeTime 3 years ago

"The Wall Street Journal is actually worth it to sign up for a paid subscription if you work or have interest in the financial sector. Other than that, on a related note, I don't buy newspapers since a time I can't remember, but people around me do, and I just barrow them when I see something interesting. Let me see, yeah, the last time I bought a newspaper, was on the next day after the Yankees won their last World Series in 2009, I bought every publication available. I still have them in a box somewhere in the garage. "



rrplay 3 years ago

Come to think of it I have a pc client that i should be seeing a bit later today that is a stock options kinda guy. I know that he subscribes to the paper because he's a bit of old skool and reads it on the train and more than likely subscribes to both.Whether he pays for a on-line subscription or not does not really matter to me. Since he a newer client ..I may not ask him about such since ..but just might ask him to keep some 'crickets' out of a casual conversation.

Manduh 3 years ago

It's funny for Google to allow this since they do not support the use of or searching of torrents... this is pretty much the same thing, accessing something for free when it should be paid for. Not that I'm against it :S

realneil 3 years ago

[quote user="Manduh"]this is pretty much the same thing, accessing something for free when it should be paid for.[/quote]

I don't pay to read online news. This is why I recently quit going to the New York Times Web Page, who just changed to a 'pay as you go' system. (I had been reading there for a very long time) However,....I'm not too comfortable with cheating their system just to see their content anyways. It's not worth it.

Luckily, there are plenty of other places to read the news online, so now I stay just as informed, elsewhere.

Manduh 3 years ago

I agree 100%, I would never pay to read the news, not with the free resources we have in this digital age. It's so ridiculous that they would even make people pay. I get that they are a business and need to make money (blah blah blah) but, there are so many other ways for these news companies to generate income (selling ad space etc). They are just digging a bigger hole for themselves by making their readers pay. It would make more sense to let people access the news free online and just make them see ads on the side or what have you. They need to get a clue, selling ad space on free content sites with tons of viewers is where the money is at these days. 

omegadoom13 3 years ago

@Optimus - Even if you have an interest in the financial sector, you probably could find similar financial data and information on other websites for free. Reading this post and the comments reminded me of the AOL subscriber story earlier this year:,2817,2376167,00.asp

Seventy-five percent of AOL's subscribers, mostly elderly users, pay an extra $300 a year for a service they don't need, The New Yorker reported this week.

The most controversial statement in Ken Auletta's profile of AOL CEO Tim Armstrong is the company's "dirty little secret: 75% of the people who subscribe to AOL's dial-up service don't need it."

According to Auletta's source, an alleged ex-AOL employee, most of its subscribers are paying $25 a month for a dial-up fee, not realizing their cable or DSL plans already enable them to log onto the Internet while still retaining their AOL email address. Auletta says most of these users are "older people who have cable or DSL service but don't realize that they need not pay an additional $25 a month to get online and check to their email."

Let's do some math. According to an AOL filing with the Security and Exchange Commission, 43 percent of AOL's revenue in the quarter ending September 30—$563.5 million—comes from its 4.1 million subscribers.

That's 3,075,000 subscribers paying an extra $300 a year for dial-up service. If Auletta's source is correct, this means AOL is collecting nearly $1 billion a year from consumers who aren't questioning their bills.

On another note, Aluetta also attacks AOL's editorial content (which includes TechCrunch and Engadget) by calling "most of what it publishes" "piffle." Over at TechCrunch Paul Carr responds, "Auletta's piece must—and should—have made painful reading at AOLHQ. After all, he's right that the majority of AOL's editorial output is total horseshit. And yet, and yet—his critique lacks an important punchline: so is everybody else's."

AKwyn 3 years ago

@omegadoom13 I fail to see how this applies to the WSJ. Side note: All AOL needs to fix this is to switch to detailed billing; then old people will see the dial-up service and wonder why they still need it so they'll cancel it. And all they need is a nagging voice to make this change.

Anyways, the same things about the Wall Street Journal can be applied to the New York Times; I don't think that the New York Times is worth paying for (thankfully the LA times hasn't erected a paywall yet.) and most of the news has already migrated online (except for some of the past articles that are locked up or you have to pay for.) So why should we pay for the New York Times at all?

P.S. Most of AOL does not have a paywall around it's content, the only thing these people are paying for is the premium features such as McAfee; so you can cancel it without any consequence.

OptimusPrimeTime 3 years ago

"Yeah, I agree with you to an extent, but having it in one place and before or faster than any other publication can have substantial benefits in that sector, thus The Wall Street Journal is worth it.  Now, speaking of paying for  the New York times or any other online newspaper, nah."


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