The New York Times $40M paywall taken down with four lines of code

I wonder how you explain to your bosses that the $40 to $50 million that they spent of eighteen months has been torn down in less than a couple of days with nothing more than four lines of code.

It turns out that the fancy overly that they use to block people from seeing the content is nothing more than a bunch of CSS and lines of javascript, and for those especially nerdy types it’s all there in the page source.

As Joshua Benton pointed out in a post on the Nieman Lab Blog there are a lot of tools out there that are very good at dealing with bits of code like this:

Unfortunately for the Times, there are plenty of popular (or popular-among-nerds) tools that tactically remove little bits of CSS and Javascript. There’sGreasemonkey, there’s Stylish — not to mention the ease with which a browser extension in Firefox, Chrome, or Safari can be built to strip out code.

Joshua goes on to point out a bookmarklet already created by a fellow Canadian, David Hayes, that with on click tears down that over-priced paywall and all it takes is four lines of javascript.

Called NYTClean it hides a couple of <div>s and turns the page scrolling back on and Joshua notes it works as advertised

It barely even qualifies as a hack. But it allows you access to any New York Times story, even when you’re past the monthly limit. (I just tested it out with a Canadian proxy server — works just like it says.)

Yup have fun explaining that one to the bosses.