A popular trick, called NYClean, to get around the New York Times’ article limit no longer works. The development coincides with the Times’ ongoing effort to shut down loopholes around its digital subscription.

Times paywall shot

Look out, media cheapskates — the New York Times is losing patience with your skinflint ways. After imposing a metered paywall last year to restrict how many articles non-subscribers can read for free, the Times is clamping down on popular tricks to get around the wall.

The latest casualty is NYClean, a bookmarklet that lets readers zap away “over the limit” messages that appears in front of Times stories. I discovered the change on Monday when, after having reached my monthly quota of 10 free stories, I tried and failed to use NYClean to read another story. The tool (see the arrow) zapped the message for a second but then the message came right back:

NYT paywal

This is the second time in as many months that the Times has shut down a trick to evade its meter; in February, readers discovered they could no longer access a blocked story by chopping off the end of the article’s website address. Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy explained the situation this way:

“As we have said from the time we launched our digital subscription model, we are aware of various loopholes to access our content beyond the allotted number of articles each month. It remains a priority for us to protect the value of our content so we will continue to make adjustments to optimize the gateway through technical security solutions.”

The new restrictions come at a time of increased acceptance of metered paywalls. In recent months, popular blogger (and paidContent Live guest) Andrew Sullivan introduced a meter — now at $1.99 a month — while longtime paywall holdout the Washington Post said it will launch one this summer.

The Times’ get-tough measures create dilemmas for readers like me who are running out of workarounds. I like the New York Times but, since I already pay hundreds of dollars a year for a Wall Street Journal subscription, I am not in a position to shell out full fare for a second paper. Perhaps the Times will introduce a grazing option (say 50 articles for $5) or introduce paywall partnerships across publications.

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  1. (in chrome) control-shift-n

    you’re welcome

    1. Dude… you are the best

    2. rofl.. this dude saves my ass!

  2. Mike Forester Monday, March 25, 2013

    The cheapest rate remains Sunday-only home delivery, as Frank Rich pointed out last year. $4/week for the first 16 weeks, $8/week thereafter. Full access to the website.

    1. True, but the tablet plans are a rip-off now matter how you slice it. The $3.75/week plan for smartphones, desktops, and laptops is a much better deal.

  3. Or maybe, people will just stop reading the NYTimes.

  4. “since I already pay hundreds of dollars a year for a Wall Street Journal subscription”

    Well, there’s your problem right there.

  5. Since they put the paywall in place they’ve said that following a link from FaceBook or a Google search would not count against your monthly limit.

    They lied.

  6. Chopping off the end still works if you copy the URL into a different browser AFTER the chop.

    1. you’re an idiot. the solution there is a different browser, not the URL chop. NYTimes can’t tell if you’re using 5 different browsers on your one PC. each browser will appear to them to be a different person.

    2. No Hubba Hubba, you’re the idiot.

      Nice way to treat Joe, btw.

      They help to identify you by IP address, not browser. Cookies also (after all, many IP addresses are dynamic). When an IP address runs up its allotted number, then it’s done for the time period.

  7. It might sound nuts, but the large papers might benefit from entering into a bundling agreement, much like cable tv does. You get these 3 different publications for a flat price…. The effect might be netting a little less, but getting a greater volume of customers.

    It might be a more interesting approach because users have been used to reading numerous publications for free.

    It’s just another angle at selling the product.

    1. Cynthia & Bunny CfC Wednesday, March 27, 2013

      Yes. But they don’t want to share.

    2. I think your idea makes a lot of sense. I would pay for, say, a bundling of The New York Times, The Economist, and The Wall Street Journal. I don’t have a problem paying for online access to the Times, I just think $195/year is too much to pay for one news source and have told them so.

      They seem to want individual subscribers to pick up the slack in lower ad rates when in fact having more subscribers would give them more leverage with advertisers. I think they have their business model back asswards.

  8. Wow. It’s sad that people are making a sport out of cheating a business. Quite sad.

    1. Don’t want to cheat…just out of work. Subscriptions are a luxury.

  9. What did people do before they got the content for free from the web? Go to the library and read the papers there? Go through the garbage at train stations in hope of finding one without too much coffee and banana stains?

    1. Shared subscriptions among neighbors. Bought one at the news stand occasionally if there was something in the paper that mattered to them. There always were and always are going to be people who cannot afford to pay for newspapers. Being snide and holier-than-thou isn’t going to change that.

      1. Once upon a time I was one of those people who scrounged for a free paper or went to the library, At the least, I could justify recycling because someone did pay for that paper I was reading AND because the NYTimes included a projected number of users in their ad rates. Simply because it’s on the web doesn’t mean it should be free any more than the fruit stand on the avenue of a big city’s fruits should be taken without being paid for because nobody is standing outside watching.

    2. Good point. What DID people do before the internet? One either bought the paper or did without. There’s a lot of content out there on the internet. Some say too much (can you have too much?) I my opinion, a lot of it should be free. But should we hold the NYTimes or WSJ or Washington Post to the same standard? Quality, professionalism, integrity make a case for content that cost a few bucks.

      1. What did people do before the Internet? If you had a good local daily, it subscribed to several newspaper syndicates that might include one or more major newspapers, and it reprinted major stories from the NYT, Boston Globe, etc., on its own pages.

        Mind you, the editors of your local paper had to decide they wanted to run the story, but nevertheless. Then there was the public library, and trying to beat out the usual idlers for the paper you wanted. The competition was intense.

    3. In fact, yes, and don’t be so scornful. I’ve read the NYTimes at the public library, at coffeeshops, and I’ve picked it out of recycling bins. I also know where to go on different campuses where they give out free papers.

      Just because someone can’t afford to subscribe to a paper does not mean we all wish to be ill-informed.

  10. I do love the irony of this post. Complaints on how your evasion of paying for the New York Times appears on a site called Paid Content…

    1. So true ! Really shows paid content still has a looong way to go to become mainstream.

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