But of course that becomes a bit of a blurry moral line. If I start browsing Google News in the hopes of stumbling upon a WSJ article so I can read it for free, is that immoral? What about if I google the headline of an article I'm interested in? Automatically setting my referer to facebook.com whenever I visit wsj.com probably goes too far, but then where do you draw the line?
Anyway, I feel very strongly that either everyone from HN should be able to freely read an article shared here, or no one. If no one can read it, then the link shouldn't be allowed here.
Then we'll have the laments: oh the ads, the humanity; or, why does all journalism suck?
Perhaps it is? I've almost never had anyone remark that I was doing something bad when not paying for a software or movie or music.
How is that a linguistic argument?
A car is a rivalrous good. A program is a non-rivalrous good.
The main distinction is that the marginal cost of producing a non-rivalrous good is zero.
interference with copyright does not easily equate with theft, conversion, or fraud. The infringer of a copyright does not assume physical control over the copyright nor wholly deprive its owner of its use. Infringement implicates a more complex set of property interests than does run-of-the-mill theft, conversion, or fraud.
By the way, the infringer was acquitted, since the court agreed he hadn't "stolen, converted or taken by fraud", despite even making money from his infringing activities.
The example of the other case (which, by the way, was only a District Court decision) also seems weak. AFAIK (IANAL), the fact that copyright law preempted state law doesn't mean the two are equal, it just means that both theft and copyright infringement occurred - which is easily seen to be the case, since physical plans were actually removed from a place.
This is where copyright law comes into play which only allows copying the car only under your rules. If somebody doesn't follow the rules that doesn't mean they stole your car but it still means they should receive some form of punishment to prevent future copyright infringement.
You do realize that copyright protection is an invention to prevent artists from being fucked over by commercial publishers, and was originally not intended to limit people from copying content noncommercially?
...which is exactly what the WSJ has been doing.
a lot of artists would PAY to get millions of downloads/views
it's a "logical fallacy" to assume they wouldn't
SPIEGEL: $ 9.40
FAZ: $ 44.90
WSJ: $ 30.85
Guardian: $ 6.99
KN: $ 19.99
I’m sorry, I’m a student, I don’t even have Netflix because that’s too expensive.
Because the publisher explicitly allows it.
It's really simple, if you want to put your content behind a paywall, then put it behind a paywall. Don't leave a backdoor open and then complain when people use that door.
By definition sharing means giving it away for free.
Etc, etc. But again, I know there are holes in my reasoning.
That'd have to be an incredibly large one-time payment. And how would we know how much to pay?
It doesn't seem like an unsolvable problem. The drug companies themselves must have budgets, and the publicly traded ones have a stock price. So someone somewhere must be able to create estimates for this.
Unfortunately, this kind of micropayment will not work for most people and perhaps more importantly will lead to less revenue for the publisher.
Clary Shirky has written about why micropayments  is the wrong model for consuming content more than a decade ago.
We're free to send them any Referer headers we wish... in a request. It's up to them to reply however they wish.
The l.php script basically allows someone to read the magazine without paying for it. The only entity that loses something in that situation is the content provider.
What do they lose?
There is a reason I subscribe to Netflix but not Hulu.
I had only discovered it when I wanted to resubscribe for other reasons; I probably would have done it earlier if I had known the option was available.
The difference between absolutely free like most content on the internet and the WSJ standard monthly rate of $33/month is truly enormous. The NYT, which I also feel is priced too high, is $15/month.
Remember Netflix costs $10/month-- that's the value proposition they need to compete against.
These content producers should charge $5/month, with no scummy "special introductory offers" where you just _know_ they're going to raise the price and screw you in a couple months. At that price I would subscribe to everything I read.
If I click on a google search link, I expect to see the same content google does.. for that matter, it's part of google's own rules... WSJ should not get a pass, and google should now deindex WSJ based on those rules.
Also, I think Facebook (and Twitter, and others) already have a Share button on all WSJ articles that would inform them when you visit that page.
Let's be real, they get data about you in a million ways. It'll all be aggregated somehow, and I wouldn't be surprised if they did aggregate in other ways like IP/browser, and those sharing links definitely leave cookies behind.
Do we know that this will still work on Monday? Maybe this will also be closed and you'll need a special link?
What if my browser could just say "article will be 25 cents?" and I could say y/n? But instead, I have to sign up for a service, hand over my credit card, blah blah, and now you've wasted enough of my time that it was worth just me stealing it.
I'm pretty convinced it's just aUX thing.
This is even true if you only subscribe to relatively reputable traditional news sources, btw. Here are 12 that individually are worth it and most informed individuals would be served by reading on occasion, but few people would want to have individual subscriptions to them: WSJ, NYT, WaPo, The Economist, The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, Chicago Tribune, SF Chronicle, The Guardian, Le Monde, El País, Die Welt. Nevermind the fact that I do have subscriptions to 2 of those, and they compound the problem by serving annoying video ads even to subscribers.
Edit: A model that I would consider fair though (and the journals might not, I don't know their cost structure) is: 2-5 free articles a month without subscription of any sort and with unobtrusive ads, paid subscription if you read more articles a month from that particular journal. Another option is a "library" subscription model, in which you pay $20 or $30 a month, but get access to a broad catalog of newspapers (about what you would find at a large public library in print) and they get profits based on what you actually read. And yes, I have seen this as a startup idea, Netflix for news, but newspapers never seem to go for it wholeheartedly enough for it to be worthwhile to consumers, though.
I have much less brand loyalty now than say 10 years ago. I have less respect for both the WSJ and NYT than I did. I don't think their incentives line up with mine anymore, and it leaves me without a news source I trust the way I once trusted both of them.
A larger entity that doesn't need to worry as much about getting me to hit the clickbait would serve me better as a reader (and I'd then be more likely to subscribe). Or, if I could subscribe to individual reporters or small groups of them in some way (such as Dave Pell's style of content delivery, but more availability and let me pay them some how), it would also better serve me as a reader.
Instead we're stuck with a structure where they don't make enough money, and thus continue devaluing their brands, and we as readers don't have an easy way to know who we can trust to respect us as customers (no surprise video ads, unbiased reporting, etc). So I guess I'll stick with using sites like HN to aggregate the news for me, and stop clicking on the WSJ links. The brand no longer signals unbiased quality journalism to me.
Now a days what we have is: individual journalists/teams that investigate and produce analysis, aggregators like HN or Reddit who point our which content is interesting/relevant and traditional media outlets which mostly serve to vouchsafe to some degree that the content is factual and credible. We can't get rid of the last component because we end up with no way of distinguishing real news from propaganda, disinformation and innuendo, and also because we haven't found a way to directly pay the first group except through the media orgs. A fully centralized system that certified news "accuracy" is the stuff of Orwellian fiction, though, so that's a non-starter. You could have a federated certification system, I suppose, where articles are published by individual journalists and then groups and institutions vouchsafe for the veracity of stories or the record of the journalist (sort of like TLS CAs or a web of trust of journalist peer review), but you still need to come up with a good way to pay all of the parties involved. That said, in principle, I'd rather pay for each individual article, or a monthly fee for access to nearly-all the articles available, than for a subscription to a very specific collection of articles in the way you do now with news subscriptions.
Its much easier for me to pay $10 a month
1. Nobody used it
2. It didn't block ALL ads, just most (based on if you won or lost the bid)
3. There was a LOT of backlash against it because it was google and even though you can opt out of tracking nobody believes them.
4. The old "adblock is free" argument.
It used to be that you'd pay an amount between $1 and $15 per month and it would use that money to "bid" on ad spots like a normal advertiser would. If you won the bid, you'd see a picture, a pattern, or anything else you wanted in that spot. If you lost, you'd see another ad.
The fee split worked identically to a regular ad, so Google would take their cut, the site would take the rest. And any money not spent at the end of the month was refunded back to you (not rolled over, actually put back in your bank account).
But I'm arguing that publishers could simply sell per-article access. As an alternative to subscriptions. I used the current ad-brokerage system as an example, because it's so hugely cumbersome. But I'm not arguing that users should simply bid against advertisers.
- it was poorly advertised (irony!); I only found out about it from a Google engineer that said, "This is probably the kind of thing you'd pay for"
- US only
You can even get your money back when reading accidentally (guess that doesn't work 10 times in a row, but it's a good feature).
I wish there were a way to buy access to individual articles .
If you think a product is valuable, but you don't want to pay for it because you don't like the person selling it that makes you a retributive thief. You don't even have ideology to hide behind, you just don't like someone.
Another useful bookmarklet for deleting annoying DOM elements:
Not because I want to support journalism (though I do), but because having a whole newspaper to flip through every day is so much more productive and efficient than getting dribs and drabs through Twitter and free news sites --- many of which are ultimately sourcing through the journalism that organizations like WaPo do anyways.
Realizing in retrospect how trifling the amount of money we're talking about for a subscription is (it's a tiny fraction of my monthly information services bill [cable/Internet, Netflix, &c]), I feel kind of embarrassed for not having done this a long time ago.
I like WaPo but you might prefer something else, like NYT or WSJ. I'm sure all the major papers are solid choices. Most of you are younger than me. Don't be like me! Subscribe to a damn newspaper already.
StratFor (for example) seems maybe worth it but I feel like the generalist reach and short form style of big news stops it from ever truly educating. I guess what I'm trying to say here is OK, the experience might be more pleasant, but what makes you think WaPo / Guardian / NYT content is even comparably as good as a blogger dedicated to the topic? (honest question to anyone)
The problem is that they aren't. Without even getting into operation mockingbird style infiltration of the orgs, the state of journalism as a whole is abysmal, even on the previously well respected journals, and I get this from journalists themselves, at least the ones with integrity.
Honestly right now my method is to simply find the best journalists and writers, and then follow their work regardless of outlet or publisher, and then I smatter in main-stream-media so I understand what the Fox/CNN viewers and WSJ/HuffPo readers, and NPR/BBC listeners are thinking.
In the end though, the problem is all of them are so tied to the money they get from advertising and very subtle but real and powerful editorial influence from the owners/investors/advertisers, that even the ones people have learned to think they trust, like NPR for example, are shining examples of propaganda disguised as anything but, equivalents of Fox news. The oligarchy has infiltrated our mediums of communication because they are a threat.
The internet is the latest version of that threat, which is why we will continue to see attacks on the freedom of speech of the internet as well.
Major shoutouts to the outliers in this equation though who are briding the gap between traditional broadcasting and the itnernet, such as CSPAN, PBS, Charlie Rose, and the universities doing programs such as Conversations with History (UCTV) and Hoover Institute, et al.
PS: WaPo has gone way downhill in their journalistic integrity lately, I expect they are a major mockingbird pivot point. The best traditional source of news I have found? London Financial Times.
I've been a long-term WSJ subscriber and recently switched to the digital-only subscription due to the quality of their tablet app, but it remains a guilty pleasure of mine to buy up a selection of hard copy newspapers on a rainy weekend and lock myself away for hours.
I hope that high quality news organizations do have a future, but the WaPo? I'm not sure that label fits.
You'll note that the two stories are directly contradictory. The claim made by the WaPo is stronger than Senator Sanders' and yet Senator Sanders received 4 Pinocchios for the claim.
I also like FAIR's analysis of the WaPo's opinion leanings (though it leaks over to supposed factual reporting too): http://fair.org/home/washington-post-ran-16-negative-stories...
In this case I think the WaPo fact-checker was unfair in handing out Pinocchios. Four Pinocchios should be reserved for bald-faced, baseless falsities. In this case, Bernie had a source, based directly off of research. The "fact checker" criticized the details, application, and methodology of these conclusions, and offered its own, completely speculative conclusion that the real number is lower. I'm not saying this didn't deserve a Pinocchio or two, but I do think it's a bad call. That doesn't make it worthless, but I do think it certainly undermines its credibility a bit.
It's lies like that that legitimize Trump in the eyes of his followers.
I agree with this.
I would like to suggest that you extend this discovery from "daily" iterations with, as you suggest, WaPo/NYT/FT to "weekly" iterations with the London Review of Books. Or the New Yorker. Both are very, very good.
Personally, I prefer reading LRB physically (with scotch) and the Kindle delivery of the New Yorker which I read with meals eaten out.
 LRB is about 1/3 editorial/commentary/journal and about 2/3 actual book reviews. The editorial/commentary is a very different flavor from any other media source I know of an is very interesting and refreshing. It's also quite progressive and left leaning which is interesting to me because I am not (so much).
Frankly, I welcome the news about the paywall since it will mean I see fewer links to their "journalism".
Has something changed in the last few years? Did they somehow turn things around?
[edit: Just wanted to point out that the events I'm referring to were about a decade ago. Concretely, before the acquisition, it seemed like the WSJ was driving something like 50% of the daily news cycle with a difficult to discern bias.
Upper management intentionally destroyed that, at least from an outsider perspective.
Reading the other comments and stories about the whole fake news phenomenon makes me think no one has managed to replicate the function they used to serve.]
But this conversation is a rat-hole. We can generate 1000 comments about any major newspaper. I think my point was just: pick one and subscribe to it.
This was one I read recently that actually made a good job of covering the real story in detail: http://blogs.wsj.com/indonesiarealtime/2013/08/26/the-strike...
NYT and WaPo's political slant is almost becoming unreadable for someone who's moderate and disinterested in either US party. I can't speak for WaPo but I've been reading NYT for a decade now and their total abandonment of any attempt at political neutrality was disheartening this past year.
My only problem with WSJ is it's very expensive compared to NYT. About 3-4x as expensive as a Canadian. So I've been using WaPo recently, they're slightly better than NYT but only slightly. Probably going to go full WSJ soon.
I prefer the NYT and think the reporting is better and broader - especially with regard to the fluffier sections like Sunday Styles, the Magazine, the Book Review and so on ... if I had to pick a single news source I think the A section of NYT would be my choice.
However, I have to say that I enjoy reading the Financial Times more because of their practice of condensing a story into a single page without a fold and without a jump to another page. They explore the story in more depth deeper in the paper, but you can read the front page headline column from start to finish without unfolding and page turning.
Also, the NYT has this habit of vastly over-backgrounding quotes ... a ten word quote will have 2-3 inches of comma-delimited background and qualifications and it just breaks the story and is hard to read.
(WaPo vs. NYT was basically a coinflip decision for me, but doing WaPo and then NYT would probably create a pretty significant overlap, and WSJ wouldn't. On the other hand, the NYT is a substantially better site than WSJ).
One axis of quality measures here, using the Foreign Policy Top 100 Global Thinkers list:
Is there any truth to that?
They don't seem to be significantly younger or more inexperienced than other journalists. However, they don't have journalistic heavyweights that do month-long investigations or pump out one price winning report after another. Those are rare anyway.
I know that they use a lot of stringers that remain unnamed. It is not unusual to have freelancers do research without naming them but as far as I know they also contribute whole articles. Likely these are people that also work for other news outlets.
Boy was that dumb of me. I'm sure I would benefit from having perspectives from the WSJ and NYT to pair with WaPo. But my previous state was having no newspaper at all to rely on, just free sites like (bleh) Slate and (unbelievably bad) cable news web sites like CNN. Adding a single newspaper to that has helped enormously.
And it's not just, or even mostly, about improving my understanding of world affairs. It's that the process I use to bring myself up to speed every day is so much more pleasant than it was before. It's like a version of the blogaverse where everything is reported by professionals. It feels kind of like a miracle.
Like I said: it was worth the money. So much so that I'm kicking myself for not having spent the money before. I would guess I get approximately as much value from the WaPo subscription as I do from Amazon Prime.
I feel genuinely sorry for you. I can't imagine reading that every single day. That's a lot of exposure to, quite frankly, a whole lot of clickbait. Don't NYT and WaPo have a limited amount of free pageviews per day?
Come to think of it, there are millions of people in the world whose primary source of news is social media like Facebook, Twitter (both news from your own circle), and Reddit (probably the worst offender? Clickbait titles generate likes, news that a small majority dislikes gets hidden).
[I had written a rather lengthy bit of text about how that's all a pretty good thing, still. Far better than hearsay and an inability to verify national broadcasting, and let's not forget that HN falls in the above category as well and I enjoy this. But this summary says much the same as the very lengthy text.]
Personally I regularly read the Economist. The additional audio format is nice; completely ad free news and you can speed up the less relevant bits. It focuses on some of the more impactful events in the world, which sometimes gives me just enough time in the week to even read news about Africa. Besides, as it is a weekly, it expands on topics in the way that sometimes I'll not bother reading the dailies when something tragic happened. Preferring to wait until Sunday to have some of the speculation filtered out.
Also a company subscription to NYT, FT, and some less known ones.
But the point isn't that you can read the "important" stuff with a free pageviews. The point is that you can click your bookmark bar link for WaPo and just browse the whole site, which is an entirely different experience than just reading a couple stories from them over the course of the week in the process of drilling into a story that's trending on other sites.
Interestingly, a real impenetrable paywall makes me respect the print edition more. FT is a good example. I also like their format, layout and paper quality. But they are a financial paper so the economics are better.
Here's hoping Google actually enforces their policy.
Google doesn't want people having a bad experience on Google which would drive them to consider any other source for search. If a search turns up an article and preview and a click-through doesn't show the same content, Google users will be annoyed, which will drive Google to act.
Google's anti-cloaking policy, while presented as a benefit for users [which it is], is strongly in Google's best interest to enforce as well.
That's for the normal organic search results. I don't know the policy for showing up in Google news and the carousel. I suspect it wouldn't be allowed.
Edit: You can be subscription-only and be in Google news, but you have to show the same limited snippet to both Google and end users. And you get 'tagged' in the UI as subscription only. https://support.google.com/news/publisher/answer/40543?hl=en
but, strictly speaking as a consumer, I must say their paywall is completely out of touch with the way I want to pay for news consumption. I don't mind paying 5c or even 10c per article, but I'm certainly not going to sign up to pay 120$ for 6 months, if I'm only going to read 1 or 2 articles here and there. but since they've done it this way, I can only conclude that most consumers prefer it that way.
- Average age: 40+
- Average household income: 250k+
- Average household net worth: 1.5m+
Also, this is the _actual_ audience not their _target_ audience.
Why do you think the content has gotten worse?
They used to ask important questions, investigate them thoroughly and then make the case for a particular conclusion. You could agree or disagree, but now it's often just an exercise in careful fence sitting, in "being sensible", even on matters where taking a principled stand is the obvious thing to do.
That said, I'm not entirely certain if it's me who has changed or The Economist or both.
Unfortunately I live in Australia so most stuff in WSJ I don't care about. (And we have the ABC)
wsj in particular had some rather absurd hit pieces on bernie sanders.
Just because something cost a lot to make, doesn't mean it's worth a lot. Sorry.
I tried it for a few months and was happy, but found out I don't have time to read articles in full anyway. I'm sure it will work for someone else though.
But, how do you know how much value I'm getting from that news source? I usually get my news from many different sources. And sometimes, I don't even read the entire article. Only a small percentage of the articles are actually of interest to me.
What amount would be close to the value they make from ad revenue?
Micropayment approaches and payment processor rates vary, but I'd generalize to probably 30% take rate. So assume 3.5¢ to 7¢ payment per article. Do you pay for every article you load? Do you pay again if you load the article twice? What if you don't like the article and don't want to pay? I don't think it's quite as simple as 3.5¢ to 7¢ because no one has really proven this model to work yet.
YOu read the first free paragraph, if you like that you pay, if you dont like the rest of the article you dont get a refund since you have already consumed the article.
Subscription feels like monogamy, I've got lots of different things to spend cash on, I don't want to commit at this scale to spending it on things I may not want.
I suggest you try to find a substitute for those entertainment pennies. If you can, and that item is "free", good for you. But I doubt 5 or 10 cents gets you much.
Not to mention that 15 minutes is a very generous estimate, the median is probably closer to 3-5 minutes. Given that the article isn't written for me, that sounds rather fair for accessing it. A print subscription to the WSJ is $400/yr or $1.30/issue, and if I spend an hour reading it that comes out to 6 to 11 cents for a 3-to-5-minute article.
Journalism has always been about advertisers and scale. The problem now is lowered barriers to entry drove up supply, reducing advertising $ available to "real journalism" and entities like nyt and wsj still have vestigial anchors pulling them down further.
Couple that with growing adblocking and it's a bad recipe. How do you put that genie back in the bottle? The net effect has been lowered standards by former standouts in a race to the bottom. I don't see a fix, much less an easy one.
According to this, it will need to mark WSJ links differently in Google News.
Interestingly, I tested it and links from Google news still had a "First Click Free", contrary to OP. To test:
1. Go to https://news.google.com/ from a computer that hasn't visited any WSJ articles that day
2. Click on a WSJ link (mine was https://www.wsj.com/articles/daniel-tarullo-federal-reserve-...)
3. See if the whole article is displayed. For me, it was, but when I tried again it only showed a snippet. So it seems like they're only showing the very first click, which does not comply with Google's guidelines above (which require 3 articles a day to be viewable). Anyone else want to offer data points?
Edit: oh, OP says it's only starting Monday.
(Of course, WSJ may be exempt because of direct communication with Google, which I'd expect anyway at their size and at the fact that they weren't banned when they started testing this. But Google should really note any exceptions in their policy.)
Just a reminder another workaround to the paywall is to you know actually subscribe to the newspaper. That is an option they offer. Obviously not possible for everyone. But if you have the money and want to read and support journalism... WSJ is really far from perfect but it's not the worst newspaper one could be subscribed to.
Also I think their discounted corporate plans program is huge, so depending where you work you may get a discount or it could be free, never hurts to ask.
Also, maybe YC could negotiate some sort of group WSJ discount for Hacker News users above a certain karma count? Just an idea...
Real subscription journalism doesn't do advertising.
We are talking serious news: the first one discovered that a minister had sent 1500 Jews in a train during WWII, the second one has discovered the minister charged of tax collection had an undeclared bank account in Switzerland.
Oh internet, what myths do you believe about yourself? That you are the harbinger of universal enlightenment and democracy?
If they want subscribers, they're going to have to do a better job than that.
$32.99 (plus tax) a month, for digital access.
"Hey, you've spent 29 hours so far this year reading 119 articles. Suggested donation: $62"
I would support that. Might make people more aware of how pervasive tracking is.
They are also a reliable source of Tory puff-pieces, but that doesn't interest me as much.
Before anyone claims that I'm being derogatory and dismissive of privacy claims, I'm claiming there's a loud minority of people that create a PR problem for companies by complaining about insignificant things.