Paywalled news articles

This conversation started in the Monzo vs Starling: Spying, Defections and Regrets thread. The article was hidden behind a paywall, which caused @cookywook to remind us:

The conversation then became a bit off-topic, so I’ve spun it out over here!

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what about a link to a copy of the full article?

You can register a free account on the Telegraph to get access to one full article. Just takes a moment and you can opt out of getting emails from them.

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For anyone struggling to read the article, I use this addon for Firefox.


Do you (and others earlier) think it’s ethical to trash another company’s business model by promoting hacks for everyone to bypass a paywall? Genuinely interested as to why you seem to feel this is OK. Presumably, as an investor in Monzo, you wouldn’t approve of others publishing ways to loophole Monzo’s income streams?

Genuinely interested in anyone’s justification as to why others’ livelihood is worth reading but not worth paying for.

I’ve seen an entitlement to consume paid–for content for free elsewhere on this forum, and wondered where this entitlement comes from, and if you think it’s unfair but will do it anyway because it’s technically possible.


People are going to do what people want to do. It’s the job of companies to Police that and to construct a viable business model without giant gaping holes in it.

The idea that when a newspaper says “you can have 2 free articles per month” its unethical to then open Incognito Mode to view a 3rd article seems to be stretching the definition a bit far.

I assume when your kids go back for a second free sample at the supermarket you give them a thorough spanking and hope they feel remorse for the plight they’ve put poor Mr Sainsbury in.

Monzo used to offer unlimited ATM transfers abroad, people took advantage of it, Monzo clamped down on it and now they have a viable business model. There’s nothing wrong with people taking advantage of what a business offers for free.

Newspapers have a simple choice, they can paywall their content properly and not have it indexed by search engines or they can put in bodges that attempt to have the best of both and keep low-effort people out. These newspapers choose to expose their content in this way and they could shut down these loopholes tomorrow if they actually felt it improved their business models.


Nice justification but it’s not really an excuse is it? If I leave my front door open it’s still wrong to walk in and take my stuff.

Though if you could lock your door, but choose not to?

I think @tommy5dollar is fair in saying that they could block all these routes should they choose to

For example, FT does not work unless you Google in incognito mode. They could stop that if they chose to

Still doesn’t make it either right or legal. :smile:

Entering another person’s house through an open door isn’t a illegal though :wink:

I assume people against spoofing the user agent to read content, also don’t use ad blockers too, or record TV and fast forward through adverts as that’s stealing? :thinking:

Call me a rebel but morally I personally couldn’t care less blocking adverts and bypassing paywalls.

You can’t compare adverts to paywalls. The companies or individuals get paid whether you watch/interact with the adverts or not. They don’t if you bypass a pay wall. Journalism isn’t free.


For me an ad blocker is more like quickly turning the page on those full page ads in a newspaper, never even giving them a look. Whereas bypassing a pay wall is more like stealing the whole newspaper.

Cheap newspapers are cheap because of the advertisements within them, you’re not obligated to look at them. But enough people do to still make it a worthwhile practice. Worthwhile enough in some online spaces to give the reader the article (newspaper) for free. In other online spaces though you still need to buy the ‘newspaper’, and not doing so is comparable to stealing the paper in my mind. Someone was paid to write it, it’s not unfair to expect payment in some shape or form.

In reality, I don’t care what others might do but that’s my thoughts.


Sure I can.
Online if you’re blocking adverts they aren’t being paid, TV sure they still get buying slots of airtime, catch-up TV again it’s impression based, block the request = no money. Subscription and adverts are just different approaches to generating income.

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Picking up a newspaper in a shop and reading an article, and putting it back, would be the analogy to by passing the payway now and then.

If I want to read the newspaper all the time, I’d buy the subscription. In the same way you aren’t going to go into the shop and read the whole newspaper, and repeat each day. Whilst you could of course use the paywall everyday for ever article to avoid paying, that would be crappy. These billion pound businesses already factor in the direct links coming from Google where you see the article and the next is paywalled. Also if I find a random site with an interesting article behind a paywall, I’m not going to play lucky dip in subscribing for a month on the chance it might be decent. If it turns out they are then sure buy the sub. Again I see this like flicking through magazines on a rack, I’m not going to buy one before skipping through to make sure it’s what I’m after.

There’s a difference between scanning the different headlines within to see if there’s anything that grabs your interest and reading full articles. If you’re reading a full article in the shop I’d expect the paper to then be paid for so you can take it home and read the rest. As you have suggested yourself a little later…

There’s a difference between sense checking if it’s what you’re interested in and consuming the content. If it’s the later in my mind you should pay for it.

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Nah I’d happily give an article a good read in the shop, if I had time. If I end up like meh, well back it goes. If it’s well written, and I spot other things of interest then take my money. People are different. :man_shrugging:

True that, you do you :slight_smile:

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