The New York Times Completes Its Paywall

As promised, the New York Times paywall was erected on Monday, March 28. It seems to already be working, in fact.

End users can read 20 articles per month on the site. Pass the limit, and you are asked to subscribe to be able to read more, via a pop-up message. As you close in on the limit, as well, you should see a pop up that tells you that you are nearly at the limit.

As the Times said earlier, there are loopholes through the paywall, including clicking through articles via Facebook or Twitter. Additionally, users can access five articles daily, each found through five different search engines (AOL, Bing, Google, Yahoo, Ask), for a total of 25 additional articles per day (with a little work).

This goes to show that the NYT isn't after the light reader. Rather, it is interested in the heavy readers, and not even those who frequently arrive at the site via a search or a social networking link, which is the way many people arrive at the Times.

They also aren't trying all that hard to hold out the technically savvy. When you reach your limit, the URL for the story will have a string at the end, something like "&gwh=158847068A1EB619B22B23BD7FEA9C9A." Remove that, and the article is yours to read. There have been quite a few other holes torn in the paywall, already.

The Digital Subscription details are:
  • $15 for four weeks of access to and a mobile phone app.
  • $20 for four weeks of access to and its iPad app.
  • $35 for four weeks of access to all of the above.
New York Times subscribers get unlimited access. That includes those who subscribe to the Kindle version of the New York Times, although that free access is not quite ready to roll out yet; issued a press release on Monday about the program; Kindle subscribers will receive emails about the program in the coming weeks.

Since it was made clear when the details of the program were first announced that Kindle subscribers would not have access, it seems the two parties have come to a deal since then. It’s unclear if Barnes & Noble has come to a similar agreement with the NYT with regards to its ebook reader, the NOOK.