Sunday, March 20, 2011

20 each?

Cory Doctorow's post (via DeLong) on the New York Times' new paywall has me thinking:

New York Times paywall: wishful thinking or just crazy? - Boing Boing: lots of people are going to greet the NYT paywall with eye-rolling and frustration: You stupid piece of technology, what do you mean I've seen 20 stories this month? This is exactly the wrong frame of mind to be in when confronted with a signup page (the correct frame of mind to be in on that page is, Huh, wow, I got tons of value from the Times this month. Of course I'm going to sign up!)

Which means that lots of people will take countermeasures to beat the #nytpaywall. The easiest of these, of course, will be to turn off cookies so that the Times's site has no way to know how many pages you've seen this month

Of course, the NYT might respond by planting secret permacookies, using Flash cookies, browser detection, third-party beacons, or secret ex-Soviet vat-grown remote-sensing psychics. At the very minimum, the FTC will probably be unamused to learn that the Grey Lady is actively exploiting browser vulnerabilities (or, as the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse statute puts it, "exceeding authorized access" on a remote system -- which carries a 20 year prison sentence, incidentally)

I'm running a dual boot operating system (Windows and Linux). Barring Doctorow's recently decanted telepaths, I assume that puts me up to forty a month which is about four times what I expect my monthly demand to be.


  1. If they track your total access via cookies, I assume a second browser would also do the trick without forcing a reboot. Chrome+Firefox4 should do the trick.

  2. I was wondering about that as well. Has the NYT really thought this through?

  3. I am not sure about 10 views per month; what if Nate Silver got highly active again?