As casual Los Angeles Times readers start to hit their 15-article monthly limit, the backlash against the paper's two-week-old paywall has begun.
We've noticed a devastating dip in the number of Twitter and Facebook shares on the L.A. Times' local news blog. (National stories are still going viral, but that's because the rest of America doesn't have a reason to L.A. Times it 15 times per month.) Also, Jim Romenesko has a post on his media blog today that totally pisses on the paywall (and the journalists on the other side) by way of this Tweet:
— Eric Umansky (@ericuman) March 20, 2012
Ouch. An L.A. Times spokeswoman tells Romenesko that, on the contrary, "we do, in fact, have a porous wall and readers can access up to 15 free articles per month via any source including Twitter and Facebook."
But she's wrong, because that's not what "porous paywall" means.
Yes, you can access 15 free articles per month on any computer or device. But after that -- unlike the New York Times paywall -- no social-media link nor Google search can sneak you onto the site.
Lame. As we've said before, this is the most embarrassing business decision since Tribune Co. tried to invent a competitor for the iPad. The L.A. Times doesn't keep nearly enough of a loyal following to charge readers $16 per month. And consequently, in the words of L.A. Weekly's own Dennis Romero, its "blockbuster page views will surely diminish as it pulls you over on the information superhighway to ask for your credit card number."
Anyway, to the goods: How to get past the Los Angeles Times paywall.
• Open a new browser. You can read 15 more articles, and when you're done with those, just open another browser (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, etc.). Rinse and repeat.
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• "Remove all cookies" from your web history. This is really the easiest way past the paywall -- just go into your browser's preferences tab and clear out the cookies. Here's a handy guide on how to delete cookies in various web browsers.
Militant Angeleno notes that for more adept hacker types, using an IP faker is also an option. Or you can bug KNX news radio's Claudia Peschiutta to reveal her method, which she claims to have "accidentally stumbled upon" this afternoon.
That's about it. So no more complaining about the damned paywall! And if you know of any better shortcuts, do share. Not that we want to read the Times, or whatever.