how to get around the Fairfax paywall - Fitzroyalty
"Paywalls are basically designed to trap stupid people"
8 July 2013 | 33 Comments
Fairfax newspaper websites like the Age started using a paywall
at the start of July. It’s metered, meaning you can view 30 articles a
month before being blocked from viewing more unless you pay to
subscribe. That’s only 1 a day. Fortunately, the paywall seems to be a
simple and weak deterrent that is easy to overcome. If you want to read
more without having to pay for it, here’s how you do it.
Method 1 – change ‘theage’ in the URL of
any article to ‘smh’ and you can then read the same article on a
different newspaper’s site. This also works with ‘brisbanetimes’ etc.
The Fairfax network shares articles from the same centralised platform,
so each article has a unique identifier, but the firewalls appear to be
domain specific, so there is a separate paywall for each domain.
Once you hit the limit in one domain, start reading the same articles
in another. The weakness of the system here is that it assumes that
readers are loyal to the ‘brand’ of a specific newspaper and won’t
browse elsewhere. How quaint. This method of circumventing the firewall
appears to render articles even if those articles have not actually been
published on another site. Not every article about Melbourne from the
Age, for example, will be published in the Brisbane Times.
Method 2 – when you hit the limit in 1 browser, start using a
different browser. The paywall uses browser cookies, so Firefox does not
know how many articles you’re read in Chrome.
Method 3 – as an article page loads hit the ‘Esc’ key quickly before
the paywall popup loads over the top. If you stop it loading you can
read on indefinitely.
Method 4 – change ‘www’ to ‘m’ in the URL of any article. The mobile domain appears to be measured separately.
Method 5 – do what works with getting around the paywalls on the
Australian and News Ltd newspaper websites – select and copy the title
of the article, paste it into Google to search for it, then click on the
link. Following external links to articles is different to directly
clicking on a link to an article on a newspaper homepage. Fairfax needs
external links for SEO purposes so those won’t be blocked.