Today the New York Times launched its much buzzed-about “paywall,” requiring readers to pay at least $3.75 for a digital subscription. Readers are allowed to access 20 New York Times articles per month, but will then be greeted with a popup coercing the reader to subscribe for future access. However, it has been noted in blogs and other press that readers who access New York Times via social media, such as by Twitter or Facebook, would not face this limit.
This does not seem to be the case. Today, I found I was approaching a limit access to the New York Times after accessing articles from @freenytimes, a twitter account designed just for this very purpose. And while it may look coincidental, The New York Times has said that as long as it doesn’t use its logo, the Twitter account can tweet its stories.
In A Letter to Our Readers About Digital Subscriptions, the New York Times explained that casual readers would have unlimited access to New York Times articles:
Readers who come to Times articles through links from search, blogs and social media like Facebook and Twitter will be able to read those articles, even if they have reached their monthly reading limit. For some search engines, users will have a daily limit of free links to Times articles.
What’s interesting is that while you can still use Twitter to get unlimited access to New York Times articles, the first 20 articles you access via Twitter, or any other social media outlet, count towards your 20-article limit if you haven’t reached it yet. If you click on 20 articles from @freenytimes, then visit NYTimes.com to read an article organically, you’re SOL unless you feel like subscribing.
Which is still not very enticing, considering you can apparently still get around the paywall even after your limit has been reached with Twitter.