Ever since The New York Times announced it was erecting a paywall earlier this month, readers have been devising various methods to circumvent it. While the paper promised to tweak the system if people were exploiting loopholes, it has decided to allow one of the most widely-publicized workarounds to remain: NYTClean.
As the story goes, NYTClean was made by a humble developer named David Hayes during his lunch hour. All it took was four lines of code to take down a paywall that cost the Times $40 to $50 million to build. To install NYTClean you visit this site and drag the NYTClean button to your toolbar. Every time the paywall prompts you to buy one of its $15+ plans, explained Hayes, simply click the toolbar button and it vanishes.
We were expecting the Times to put a quick end to this loophole but, in fact, it hasn't. At 2 p.m. today, the paywall went up so we tested NYTClean out. Turns out, it works perfectly. Once you've reached your 20 article limit, the paywall goes up, you click the NYTClean button and voila! it's gone. If you continue navigating around the site, the paywall will come back but you simply click the button again and it dissolves.
Hayes said a day after he created NYTClean, his site received "tens of thousands" of visits. If the Times continues to allow this workaround, we'll bet he receives quite a few more in the coming days and months.