Another UK national newspaper TheSun has decided to put up a paywall to read their online content which was kind of expected really.
I’m not a Sun reader but the idea of using a paywall to block people consuming all of your site content baffles me a little especially when their site is so slow and laiden with ads.
After fiddling around, it seems as though they haven’t done a very good job at implementing their paywall and could quite possibly be violating Google’s Advice on Content Cloaking and possibly other search engines policies; that is because the site detects your brosers Useragent and then serves content depending on your browser, in this case, they serve the entire articles to any browser with the UA string mimicking the googlebot where as any other standard UA is served the locked out content.
A little research into how you’re suggested to operate paywalls and still have good SEO is with the use of First Click Free (FCF) which allows users that have clicked your content from a search result to have access to the full article but not others; which is NOT implemented in The Suns site.
Finally to top this off they don’t set in the HTTP headers that the UserAgent will very the content either.
I wonder if Google will notice and penalise such a large brand name for SEO tactics that are heavily discouraged.
So in essence, to read The Suns content for free as though you have subscribed (bypass) all you need to do is change your useragent to the same as the GoogleBot.