Saturday, September 20, 2008

Newspaper sites without logging in

Many newspapers, including NYTimes, WSJ and Financial Times, demand logins when visiting their sites via external links.

However, there is a solution. When using Google News (Google homepage ---->News), clicking on links from these sites do not present login screens. I had observed this, when WSJ articles would open when clicked from Google News but would demand login when clicked from any other sites.

The logic here is that the sites want to increase page views; but they also want to show increased subscribers(or paid subscription in case of WSJ). Also, presenting logins to the Google News bot means that Google News will not know the contents of the page, hence leading to not being displayed on Google News.

NYTimes pages can be accessed by Googling the title. But this presents a problem: You cannot access the second page or view the print page to see the entire article.(I think an already-logged in-link from NYTimes works because of the appended 'oref?=slogin' I guess it is a similar script..)

Talking about FT, it seems to have a very very simple html check. FT thought I wouldn't figure it out. View these images for the fun I had in reasoning and hacking:

2 comments:

a fan said...

charlie|thotti,

The policy is, "All recent pages are free to view without subscription. Older pages need subscription."

Thatswhy, when selected from google news, it doesn't ask for subscription because they are recent pages.

«charlie|thotti» said...

The policy you mentioned is half true, half false. Older news sometimes requires subscriptions, but from the websites I mentioned, they expect to get more people to subscribe, so they put up login screens. The pages open up when directed from Google News and Google search.