A lot of websites have begun to include paid subscriptions and newsletter subscriptions. There is an ethical dilemma in profiting over the privacy of people. Although this information is beneficial to marketers trying to sell targeted ads, there is a violation of privacy.
12ft.io is a tool designed to help users bypass paywalls and sign-up walls for select sites. 12ft helps people avoid paying subscriptions to access news and academic journals.
This tool functions as a type of web crawler search engines use to gather information on the website. 12ft takes advantage of the fact that news websites need to make sure that search engines can find all of their content. This service submits requests the same way and delivers the content to the end-user.
Thomas Miller, the creator of the tool, was inspired to launch this solution during his research and discovery that eight out of ten of the top links on Google were paywalled.
He said: “I believe Google Adwords killed the web. Google Adwords incentivized sites to peddle SEO-optimized garbage… Search results now show ‘news’, ads, and SEO spam instead of surfacing information.”
The irony in his solution is that it could potentially create the same problem that it attempts to solve for people. Miller requests people to voluntarily subscribe to $12 per month to cover the costs of the tool. He states that: “Y’all are getting expensive. Bandwidth costs are getting high. Help keep the site online by purchasing a subscription to 12ft Pro.”
Although it remains voluntary right now, things could change. Miller did not respond to Sky News question regarding whether he would consider adding a paywall to 12ft for restricted access.
So, show me a 10ft paywall, I’ll meet with you with a 12ft ladder and credit card.