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Skip the Paywall?

Published by marco on

I recently stumbled across a recommendation on Reddit from /u/schoschi1337 for reading articles that are behind paywalls (without paying for the subscription, of course). I recommend paying for the content that you read online. I pay for a lot of stuff I read online.

Paying for content honestly the only way to combat low-quality, high-engagement tripe that is otherwise the lowest common denominator of 95% of the Internet, where everyone’s hustling for the increasingly fragmented and increasingly worthless attention of hyperactive and impatient consumers trained by decades of clickbait to…wait, where was I? Oh, yeah. Pay for your content if you like it.

If you’re still trying to find out whether you like it before you pay for it—a perfectly legitimate thing to do when everything is on a subscription model these days—then sometimes you’ll have to figure out how to get into a walled garden, like a ninja 🥷.

To that end, there’s this thing called 12ft (i.e. “Show me a 10ft paywall, I’ll show you a 12ft ladder”) that lets you get around paywalls. I used it the other day and it worked perfectly. Just go to the web site, paste in your URL, click “Remove paywall”, and tada! You can also just paste your URL after https://12ft.io/ and it will work, as well.

As to how it works its magic, it claims that,

“The idea is pretty simple, news sites want Google to index their content so it shows up in search results. So they don’t show a paywall to the Google crawler. We benefit from this because the Google crawler will cache a copy of the site every time it crawls it.

“All we do is show you that cached, unpaywalled version of the page.”

There’s a ShortCut for iOS (although it’s untrusted, so “buyer” beware). I haven’t tried either the ShortCut. I thought I saw a browser extension the other day, but must have been dreaming because it’s not there anymore. Maybe the author retracted it.