Thursday, August 04, 2011


Star-Advertiser paywall—multiple FAIL

by Larry Geller

My wife and I share the Star-Advertiser each morning, grabbing for one section or another. So one of us could be reading the comics (love Frazz) and the other could be checking out the local news. Then one of us checks out the editorial, the other grabs the comics. All this over our morning espresso. It’s natural that a family would share a subscription. What about online?

My wife could not sign on this afternoon via her computer.

You can imagine our disappointment when told by the friendly newspaper lady on the phone that we need to buy two subscriptions. I guess she means one print newspaper subscription and one on-line subscription. Let’s see… the separate digital subscription we would need is either $10 a month, or there is a special rate of $50 a year.

If we have a problem, we were advised to call Dennis Francis. Hey—he’s the publisher. I guess they are really very thinly staffed.

But that’s only one problem. I myself couldn’t even log in to the one print-subscriber account we do have. Here’s what I got (click for larger):

Star-Advertiser Fail

The top line says “A template assignment has not been made for the subscription action you are trying to perform.”  Oops, the subscription action I’m trying to perform is to sign on.

Ok, it says “forget your password? click here.” I didn’t forget my password, but I put my email in anyway. It said it has no such email.

I looked at the confirmation I got when I signed up the other day. Same email.

As it turns out, the system they are using truncates long passwords without notice. When I chopped off the last three characters of my password, I got in. It said I had the wrong email, but actually, due to their chopping, I had the wrong password. The email was perfectly fine.

Actually, when I got past that password thing, we each tried to sign in on via our computers, and we’re both in, but on my account. So the above double-subscription info is wrong. The friendly information lady had the wrong information.

I’m sure they’ll work out the glitches. I’m wondering if they’re going by IP address, though, which could mean I might not be able to log in if I use my laptop away from home while the home computer is still logged in. That experiment is yet to be done.


I think I read in a FAQ that a subscriber may only be logged in at one machine. But, if that is a messed up as the rest, maybe you actually can log in simultaneously at more than one machine...

BTW, the links you posted yesterday to allegedly "un-paywalled" articles do not work for non-subscribers. I am able to read S-A content when linked from Google News, though. So now it's, look at S-A homepage for article titles, cut and paste into Google News, click link to read. Meh.

Doug, that did not work at the time I posted my article yesterday. Currrent articles did not appear at all in Google.

So I think they've changed something.

I think you're right, Larry. No mo on Google!

Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face...

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