Last Friday and the Silicon Alley Insider reported that anyone can jump the Wall Street Journal website pay wall for free.

This is not because Rupert Murdoch changed his mind about maintaining the wall; he just has provided ladders for people to climb over by striking a deal with Google News and Digg.  Anyone who clicks on a link to an article from these sites will see the full text for free.

I find this both exciting and interesting.  It is exciting that I can access the articles I want to without having to buy a paper or pay for a site subscription.  What makes this interesting is that News Corp is trying to maintain a pay wall while providing content for free via certain channels.

While I personally feel that news sites are (even in the case for sites like losing out on more ad revenue by charging for access to content than by offering content for free, news sites offering content for free through certain sites is an interesting experiment.

Many in the news industry complain that search engines like Google and link sites like Digg can easily divert web traffic to other sources for the same information that they provide.  In this case, it appears that News Corp is trying to ally itself with two popular sites.  Is this a way for search engines and other sites to appease the news industry?

News Corp wins by enjoying more visitors to while Google News and Digg hope to enjoy more traffic from people like me who want to read for free.

This also makes me wonder: Why would the news industry want to give the search engines, who reign on-line, and sites like Digg more power? 

Of course, I see the synergy if News Corp owned a free site like Digg that can refer people to one of its pay wall protected news sites for free, but as web surfer that still presents obstacles (and potentially more ads!) for easy browsing.  Hopefully, that sentiment will quell any chance of that business model from taking much traction.  

Now, what's next?  Will News Corp strike similar deals with other news sites like Yahoo!, MSN, and Reddit? I can see why Google and Digg would not prefer this.

Ultimately, I don't see this model lasting forever since it is just plain annoying to having to go through another site to read articles on  Further, the Wall Street Journal is one of the final news sites that still has an active pay wall, and it justifies it by the unique coverage it can provide.  However, with even the Economist, the New York Times, and the Financial Times leveling their pay walls, this doesn't seem feasible for too much longer.