Monday, April 29, 2013

Ooooh, that tricksy little New York Times...

FINAL UPDATE, 21/11/13:  Forget my bookmarklet.  There's no point, and here's why.  Just open your Chrome browser (if you don't use Chrome, use Chrome).  Once it's open, go to  Once there, right click on the link of whatever artcile/video you want to read/watch, and choose "Open link in incognito Window."   And you're done.  

I admit, had known about using incognito mode the whole time, but had developed the bookmarklet for all those who didn't use Chrome.  I've come to realize that ...well, you really should just use Chrome.


UPDATE, 15/08/13:  Still working on my "super" bookmarklet.  But in the meantime, I discovered something... unusual.  As of yesterday (at least), when the paywall pops up, if you press F5, the page reloads and the paywall goes away.  That probably won't last, but it's working right now.

UPDATE, 14/07/13: So it worked, then it didn't, then it worked it again, and now it doesn't.  This back and forth is making me nauseous.  I have a plan for how to adjust things so that it will permanently work (unless the New York Times changes its arrangement with Google), and I'll post that "super" bookmarklet as soon as it's completed.

UPDATE, 22/06/13: IT WORKS AGAIN!!  But if it suddenly stops working for you, make sure to tell me.

UPDATE, 31/05/13: It would seem the New York Times has made a fix, rendering this bookmarklet temporarily useless.  I'm working on getting a new one up and running as fast as possible.

If you don't care about the back story, and you just want New York Times articles for free, drag the link below into your bookmarks toolbar, and click on it whenever asks you to pay for something.

When the New York Times threw up their paywall a few years back, I must admit I was a bit concerned.  For right or wrong, my news consumption defaulted to, and I was none too excited about the prospect of having to pay for my fix.  But thanks to some enterprising javascript programmer, I was given a two year reprieve.  The bookmarklet, "NYTClean" was a clean little hack which simply wiped away the obnoxious demand to pay for content.

...until February, when it would seem the New York Times programming crew tried to get smart.  Suddenly NYTClean didn't work, no matter how many times I pressed it.

An article on explained the situation.  The author contacted the New York Times spokesperson, who responded with:
When we launched our digital subscription plan we knew there were loopholes to access our content beyond the allotted number of articles each month. We have made some adjustments and will continue to make adjustments to optimize the gateway by implementing technical security solutions to prohibit abuse and protect the value of our content.
 For their part, did suggest alternatives to paying, including a new and improved NYTClean bookmarklet (coined, "NYClean").  Unfortunately, the alternatives were either too cumbersome, or they didn't work (like "NYClean").

So I've developed my own solution, which I'm happy to share to all those who equally despise paying for another person's hard day's work.  To use it, simply drag the following bookmarklet (the one below, which says, 'NYTimes Free') onto your bookmarks toolbar and click on it whenever that pesky "Pay Me" screen pops up.


  1. hm I got this:

    This webpage is not available
    Google Chrome could not load the webpage because took too long to respond. The website may be down, or you may be experiencing issues with your Internet connection.
    Here are some suggestions:
    Reload this webpage later.
    Check your Internet connection. Restart any router, modem, or other network devices you may be using.
    Add Google Chrome as a permitted program in your firewall's or antivirus software's settings. If it is already a permitted program, try deleting it from the list of permitted programs and adding it again.
    If you use a proxy server, check your proxy settings or contact your network administrator to make sure the proxy server is working. If you don't believe you should be using a proxy server, adjust your proxy settings: Go to the Chrome menu > Settings > Show advanced settings... > Change proxy settings... > LAN Settings and deselect the "Use a proxy server for your LAN" checkbox.
    Error 118 (net::ERR_CONNECTION_TIMED_OUT): The operation timed out.

  2. How about making this work for a better news source, like "the onion?"

  3. Thx, nice work!

  4. THank you SO MUCH for this!

  5. Great programming! Thanks!

  6. This doesn't work for me anymore D:

    1. Hm... you're right. I'm looking into it. Stay tune for updates.

  7. referrals from search engines and other sites like huffpost show full articles. if i add (or edit) ref=hpw to the url it shows the article. so make a gizmo that will add on a ref (from a set like google, huff, etc.) to any url in nytimes. maybe add in some http header stuff to make it think this link came from somewhere else.

  8. Hi - This sort of works - The pay wall disappears, but the article remains truncated. Only the first 2 paragraphs show up.

  9. This did not work for me. I received an error message which was

    Type Error: el is null

    Great idea though. I hope you get it to work. Up until this week I could still get NYT Clean to work by halting the page load after the page loaded and before it was blocked. Now it does not work at all.

  10. You're absolutely right, it doesn't work... again. Bastards. I have an idea as to how to get it to work permanently, but I haven't finalized the code. Hopefully it'll be up within a week or two.

  11. Regardless, this is some impressive coding. I'm going to stick to incognito now for NYT.

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. A combination of blocking their gwy.js file (I use Adblock) and repeated cookie accepting and then deleting (followed by a page refresh) still seems to work, but it's a pain.

    If the cookie flushing part were automated it would be a lot easier. Perhaps you can work that in? (I guess it would have to become browser specific at that point.) As it stands their plan is working to keep me from recommending or linking to any NYT content.

  14. Hi Matt,

    I've also been frustrated by the paywalls, and was discouraged when NYClean and then your own bookmarklet stopped working. I've put together my own soltuion for the issue. It's not as elegant as yours or NYClean in that it requires the user to make 2 clicks!

    However it does have the fact that it still works to recommend it. Check out my
    2 click solution to the NY Times paywall on my blog.

    If you have any great ideas about how to make it a one click solution I'd love to see it. I'm not proud of my hack, I'm just looking for a better solution.


    1. Thanks for writing. It's an interesting route you've taken with the redirect to google - one which, ironically, I have been toying with myself. I currently have a web proxy written which automatically does the following:

      Grabs the specific nytimes link of the page that you're on, pulls out the name of the article in the url, searches for that in google, scans the html, pulls out the link of the first result, and then redirects to that (which is itself a google embedded-redirect link). ...but that doesn't work, because when you redirect to a link which redirects, you get a message thrown to the user asking for his/her approval in automatically redirecting.

      So back to square one for me.

    2. Nice one from the other Matt. What his Bookmarklet can be modified to do is:
      Recurse through the NYtimes main page and change each link to point to that first link the Google throws up - some prep time as per my experiment - but it works - I am failing to perfect it though! Only ONE control+click, as you are changing the DOM for the main page.

  15. I have a slightly different but slightly similar 2-click solution, routing through google, available here... unlike the pervious solution, it only returns news results. Hope it helps.

  16. Try this