Hacking The Wall Street Journal and The Economist and Maybe Everything Else

If you’ve bothered reading this, you probably are an intellect who reads The Wall Street Journal and/or The Economist, or at least have a mind of curiosity, the source of all knowledge. For without curiosity, information will not become knowledge. See how I try to sound clever? That’s the trick of all who are really not very smart.

Enough of that nonsense.

So, I’ve been miffed at The Wall Street Journal (hereafter WSJ) because they allow free users to read only certain articles. If you want to read more, you have to subscribe (i.e. pay). Very much like The Economist which allows you to read one article if you’re a free user, up to three articles per week if you register, and you have to pay for full access.

What I usually do about the locked articles on WSJ is to search similar news on Google and read articles by someone else. Because if the news is big enough to be on WSJ, it probably is big enough to be written somewhere else by someone else. It’s not like I desperately need to know the views of the WSJ author. If I just want to know the fact, it probably doesn’t matter whose article I read although I do subscribe (pun unintended) to the belief that WSJ has better quality articles. While doing this though, I happened to chance upon the hack to read locked articles on WSJ without subscribing. And the answer is to simply search for it on Google and access it through the search results.

For some reason, the same locked articles are accessible for free through Google search results, which works out perfect for me. I’ve tried it with a number of locked articles on the site and met no exceptions to the rule. And while writing this, I decided to try the same on a couple of The Economist articles, and guess what? It works on The Economist too. I’m beginning to think it probably works for every other such sites. Banzai to programming bugs!

I wonder how much revenue WSJ and The Economist are generating through subscriptions, but as someone who refuses to pay, I sure hope they release everything for free and earn through ads instead. That’ll make it easier for me since I wouldn’t have to go through the trouble of running the title of every article I want to read through Google search. If they don’t free it up, I’d probably just continue doing the search. It’s not like the articles that interest me are too many to go through those steps anyway.

The thirst for knowledge is real.

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