Salon shows how to read WSJ for free

In his Salon Machinist blog, Farhad Manjoo shows how to read any article in the Wall Street Journal online (one of the few online papers that charges money for a subscription) for free. As a bonus, he includes an explanation about why this is ethical (though he admits it's "slightly deceptive").
200803210818Remember that the Journal is set up to disarm its pay gate if it thinks you're coming from Google News or Digg. In order to get free access, then, you've got to convince the Journal that you've clicked on a link on one of those sites. How to do that?

The technical name for this is "referer spoofing" (with the misspelling). Spoofing is an easy thing to pull off in Firefox -- all you've got to do is download this add-on, refspoof.

When you've installed that app, you'll see a new toolbar [shown above]

Now follow these steps:

* Go to

* In the refspoof toolbar's "spoof:" field, type ""

* Also in the refspoof toolbar, click the R icon, and select "static referrer."

* That's it. Click around the site; the WSJ thinks each click is coming from Digg. The WSJ is now yours for free!



  1. Next will they show us how to read Salon without a cookie infestation and mandatory ad click-throughs just to read an entire article?

  2. Oh I love me some Salon. I like the irony of this story too because I like keeping bookmarked to skip those annoying as fuck Salon ads when I pop open all my tabs in Firefox in the morning. Once you view one of those annoying ad things you this allows you to access that cookie is smears in your system.

    During the day sometimes when you come back to Salon and your cookie has ‘expired’ and you get that annoying “Choose how to view this article” nonsense, you just click that bookmark and you land back in the story link you just got booted out of.

    Hey, information wants to be FREE right?

  3. Also I just want to tell you that BoingBoing is the one of the few sites I disable the AdBlockPlus Firefox extension on, but Salon like a lot of sites can kiss my ass with all those banners and inserts.

  4. Great!

    Now it’s only fair to point out that if you create/edit a cookie named SALON_PREMIUM with the value:


    you can read as a premium user (without ads!) for free. Don’t forget to set the cookie expiration in the far future.

  5. You don’t need to go all code writing show off to evade the cookie, just run one of those click through ads once and then look in your history folder and drag the one that shows up with “cookie” in it to your bookmarks and from now on click that when you want to go to Salon. I been doing this for years and have transfered that bookmark to multiple machines and browsers.

  6. People who read Salon are intellectual backwater, nothing more that clildren of the wealthy and powerful. I am glad they will read the WSJ, it will teach them how to think.

  7. To those who think the WSJ is the NR…try using grey matter.

    An example of the difference would be the series of WSJ articles and editorial comments regarding the “black box” of Enron in the years leading up to the disaster.

    Enron didn’t surprise me because I read WSJ.

    If you want to know what is happening in the real world where information is money, then the WSJ is required reading, no matter what political persuasion sways you.

  8. This may have worked at the time the article was posted, but it doesn’t anymore. A lot of the content on the wsj sight is free to begin with. The stuff that you need a password for, you still need a password for.

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