Next week, The New York Times is erecting a pay wall for its most frequent readers. It's pretty expensive but thrify news consumers are thinking hard about how to read as much of the Grey Lady without splurging on an all-digital subscription. But first, some ground rules: The new system allows 20 articles per month for free. Beyond that, a pay wall will prompt you to select one of three payment plans: $15 a month including a mobile phone app, $20 a month including an iPad app or $35 a month including both the iPad and mobile app. To avoid paying that, here are some options that have already emerged:
Advertisers In an offer valued at $150 with no strings attached, the Times has teamed up with Ford Motor Co. to offer "Free, Unlimited Access to NYTimes.com" for the remainder of the year. The offer is for approximately 200,000 hardcore Times readers who don't get home delivery. The trick here is being one of the lucky readers who get selected.
Facebook and Twitter In a very generous move, the Times is allowing all traffic from social media sites to remain unmetered. Visiting the Times from Twitter or Facebook or MySpace won't count towards your alloted monthly articles. For now, this is the law of the land but a Times rep told Forbes that the newspaper will tweak the system if it feels like it's being abused.
Google After you reach your 20 article limit, you can still view five Times articles per day via Google. If you're feeling especially cheap, you can periodically empty the cache on your brower or use another search site like Bing.
Just Buy a Print Subscription—It's Cheaper As it stands, the deluxe, access-anywhere digital subscription costs $8.75 a week. Weekday home delivery, however, is only $6.20 per week in Manhattan (it's a bit more expensive outside New York) and it comes with the same digital access. Additionally, a Friday-Sunday subscription also comes with all-digital access and starts at $7.60 per week.
Update: NYTClean The Eurica Blog has built a bookmark that allows you to read as many Times articles as you want. It activates once you drag the bookmark to the bookmarks bar. Each click supposedly tricks the Times' 20-article limit counter but it obviously can't be tested until the wall goes up so we'll keep an eye on this one.