Considering the $40-$50 million the Times invested into its paywall project, according to Bloomberg, the ease at which some users have been able to get around it could be considered alarming. The organization has already begun taking action to prevent some of the leaks.
In attempt to keep advertising revenue up, the Times allows clicks on links from social media giants like Twitter and Facebook free. Readers can click as many as they want, and none of the clicks will count towards their 20 free articles a month. According to Adweek, 83 percent of traffic to the paper's site in February was referral traffic.
When asked about the loophole and people taking advantage of it, the Times's vice president of corporate communications Eileen Murphy said to the Canadian Press, "If it was something blatant ... that is likely something that we would make an effort to go after. If there was some real attempt to game the system in some way that was not appropriate it's something we would certainly look at."
Unsurprisingly, the Times has already been forced to take this action. A Twitter feed was created (@FreeNYTimes) that linked to every single article. The paper sent a request to Twitter to shut down the site, citing a trademark violation as its issue.
The Times was originally going to allow for hits from search engines to be free, but BigPond News has reported a change in that decision. Websurfers going through major surf engines will be limited to 5 free articles a day. Though the restriction was initially just for Google, it has been extended to include Yahoo and Microsoft's Bing. The Times has not released a comment on why it made this change.