Three cases of poorly executed closed-content walls:
- Beebo.Org has revealed a free and easy way to access online New York Times articles that are more than a week old (and are supposed to be obtainable only via the paid archives).
- The Wall Street Journal has a similar security hole that allows free access to Journal stories, which are supposed to be behind a paid-registration wall. As in the Times hack, one may access Journal stories by making a quick and easy change to a story's URL. I saw this reported on a weblog late last year, but the article has been removed.
- Salon.com's "premium" content wall is defeatable with modifications to the cookies on your computer, as explained in the latest issue of 2600.
If news organizations are serious about making users pay for content, they'd do well to plug the security holes. Otherwise, I encourage them to just let the Web be the free, global library it should be.