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NYTimes Paywall Limit To Extend Beyond Google To “All Major Search Engines”

March 21st, 2011 03:53 admin Leave a comment Go to comments

Chain Link Fencephoto © 2006 Sharon Mollerus | more info (via: Wylio)When the details of the New York Times paywall/fence were announced on Thursday, Times PR representatives told press that it would be placing a five article a day limit on Google referrals, and only Google referrals.

This policy has somehow changed over the weekend, as the Times’ Communications Manager Kristin Mason tells me that the five article limit will now extend to “all major search engines.” Apparently the Google-only clause was only specific to the Canadian roll-out and will be lifted during when the paywall launches worldwide on March 28th.

From Mason:

“After reviewing our options, we decided to extend the policy of five free clicks per day to all major search engines by the global launch on March 28. Our pre-launch period in Canada was undertaken to enable us to test the systems and fine-tune the model.”

“After reviewing our options” … ? Does this mean that it changed its mind? Did someone at Google make hay about being singled out?

For now the Times isn’t releasing any more information on what it categorizes as a “major” search engine (Bing? Blekko? DuckDuckGo? Nobody?), but the above statement brings up a lot of other questions, namely, “Do other search engines even have this kind of limitation technology already in place?” “How on earth will the ‘Times’ pull this off?”

Unfortunately the Times’ response to all of my subsequent asking was, “We really have nothing more to add to the statement.” We’ve contacted Bing, Google and Blekko about their New York Times paywall plans and I’ll update this post if they’re any more responsive.

But ultimately this news also begs another question, “Can this New York Times paywall model get any more complicated?”

Meanwhile, someone’s already figured out how to tear down the wall, using four lines of Javascript.

Source: NYTimes Paywall Limit To Extend Beyond Google To “All Major Search Engines”

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