Friday, April 13, 2012

Mobile Tip: Tricks To Read Behind Pay-Walls On WSJ, LA Times, And FT (Might Work With Others Too)

Note: This isn't really just a mobile tip because it also works on desktop browsers as well.

Paid walls are going up left and right.  It’s getting ugly out there.  Frankly, I don’t mind it so much because there is still a lot of content out there.  Having said that, it is irk-some when you click through and you cannot access the page without paying.  It’s free-enterprise.  We as mobile readers, or desktop ones, will just have to accept this.  However, it doesn’t totally mean that just because we’re not willing to pay for content, say on the WSJ or the LA Times, that we cannot access here.  Here are a couple of tips that might help.

Let’s go with the WSJ.  See the following pic?

Annoying but manageable.  Simply copy and paste the title of the article and search it in Google and you’ve got this.  The whole enchilada.  Awesome, isn’t it?  Don’t free too badly for News Corp.  Vast majority of their readership pays.  I’m sure like myself, you only read a couple of these articles a month. Hence, it doesn’t justify paying hundreds of an annual subscription.

And if the search option doesn't exactly work for some sites, here’s another option that may or may not work with some papers online.  It doesn’t work with the WSJ but it does with the LA Times.  Get an Instapaper account.  It’s free.  It’s an excellent service you want anyway.  What Instapaper does is allows you to bookmark the text of a post for reading later.  It’s got two tools that you’ll want in your browser bookmark.

One is “Reader Later” and “Instapaper Text”.

Simply go to the LA Times article you want and click on either.  As you can see here, the pay-wall does not even allow a preview of the post.

So be it.  Now go to your Instapaper options. “Reader Later” obviously saves the post for your reading later if you wanna read it at a coffee shop or hit “Instapaper Text” and you get taken to another page with mostly the text of the post, without the trimmings.  Let's say you hit "Instapaper Text", now, you can see the whole article and just the text too.  Even better.

Awesome, isn't it?

How about other pay-walls like the NY Times or Financial Times?  I haven’t hit any limits on the NY Times yet.  Ever.  However, FT isn’t playing ball. Sometimes, doing a search like we can do with WSJ works, Other times, it doesn’t.

Then there’s always the trick of trying to clear your browser data and hope that the paper you wanna read isn’t up-and-up on this trick and you can reload on the number of views allowable by the paper.  And if you really really want to know what’s going on, I’d go search the topic and find probably dozens of other links to other news sources that have not put up a pay-wall.

We are still far from the days when every bit on the Internet will be locked up to those of us unable or unwilling to pay for access.  Again, not saying pay-wall is bad.  I think it’s good if the site provides value beyond what they had previously offered for free.  

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