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Published on August 9th, 2011 | by Sharilyn Johnson


Area Man Circumvents Onion Pay Wall

The Onion has been looking for reasonable ways to monetize its website for a while, so said editor Joe Randazzo at a recent Just For Laughs Comedy Conference panel of online content providers.

Their wish is their own command. Word surfaced today that the Onion is now testing a pay wall to all those outside the US. Readers are now charged $2.95/month or $29.95/year if they want to read more than five Onion articles per month.

What does this mean for Canadian readers?

The Onion just announced their print version’s expansion into Toronto this fall, which I’ve been told will include a limited amount of Canada-centric satire. The launch will undoubtedly benefit from those stories going viral. But if you know your friends might have to pay to play, why would you bother tweeting out a link to an Onion story?

Plus, considering what Canadians have been going through recently with internet service provider price gouging, is this really the best time to ask those north of the 49th to pony up more dough for anything online?

So many questions, all of which would’ve been best posed around whatever boardroom table these decisions were made at.

But since we’re well past that point, there are a few ways to circumvent this:

As far as the Onion itself is concerned, just hit “Esc” once the text loads. That prevents the pay pop-up from appearing. We can thank the people who figured out how to bypass the recently-implemented New York Times pay wall for that gem.

If you are going to spend a few dollars here or there for American-only content in general, I will make one suggestion:

I’ve mentioned this here before, but I’m a huge fan of AlwaysVPN, a tiny program that makes your IP address appear American. I use it to view the Comedy Central site whenever I miss the Daily Show and Colbert Report, because the Comedy Network website is the Comedy Network website (honestly, if you’ve visited even once, I don’t have to explain).

Many other paid services do the same thing, but AlwaysVPN’s pay-as-you-go model suits me. A few bucks lasts me several months.

Also? Consider not using an ad blocker. Lack of revenue is what causes a lot of these problems in the first place.

(And if there are any nice American men willing to marry me so I can get a greencard and leave all this crap behind, email your proposals to editor{at}third-beat.com)

About the Author

is the author of the book Bears & Balls: The Colbert Report A-Z. Called "one of the city’s most discriminating comedy critics” by NOW Magazine, Sharilyn has been covering comedy for longer than she cares to admit. She served as the comedy reporter for Winnipeg's Uptown Magazine for five years, and was the host of the radio show Laugh Tracks for three seasons. Her work has also appeared in the Toronto Star, the Winnipeg Free Press, The Apiary, and on CBC Radio's national comedy programs LOL and Definitely Not the Opera.

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  • The Colbert Report A-Z

    Third Beat editor Sharilyn Johnson presents the ultimate fan guide to The Colbert Report, available from all major booksellers including amazon.com