Twitter Your Way to a Free New York Times

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Did you hear about the news yesterday? Well, it’s a good thing it’s still free because the Gray Lady of news, the New York Times, is going to start charging readers for access later this month.

If you’re a frequent user of the Times website, be prepared for a shock come March 28. Readers will still be able to read 20 articles a month without paying. After you hit your limit, though, you’ll be able to choose from three options depending on how much of a news junkie and connected you are.

So how much will readers pony up? People can decide between a monthly fee of $15 per month for website access and a mobile phone app, $20 per month website access and an iPad app, or $35 per month includes free-for-all access. There are annual plans as well, but they seem a bit silly to sign up for, as they are more expensive when it is broken down by month.

But if you’re really smart, you’ll know a home-delivery package includes a full digital subscription. So instead of paying $35 per month, why not just pay $14.80 a month? It’s still more economical than the cheapest web option. Just don’t forget to recycle the actual paper.

Also, let’s not forget about the search loophole:

Not all visits to will count toward the 20-article limit. In an effort to reduce losses among the Web site’s more than 30 million monthly readers, The Times will allow access to people who arrive at its Web site through search engines like Google and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. There will, however, be a five-article limit a day for people who visit the site from Google.

So after readers hit their limit, they can copy and paste the headline of the article they want to see into Google, up to five times a day. Don’t forget, Google is not the only search engine in the world. And then, there was Twitter.

An account has been set up at this Twitter account, saying that it is for people “…if they have reached their monthly reading limit.” It is a question whether the Times will filter Twitter accounts like these that try to find a loophole around the paywall.

[Update: The New York Times says they will ask Twitter to shut down accounts designed to bypass the paywall. Meanwhile, Nieman Journalism Lab reports that the paywall can be bypassed with a  bookmarklet that strips away four lines of code.]

Avid news readers might not be able to stop by the Gray Lady’s house as much anymore, but they’ll still be able to peek inside.

(via New York Times)

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