Originally marketed as the “YouTube” for documents, Scribd began its operation as a way for anyone to publish and host their documents and writing online. Born out of the need for one of the site’s creators to host his father’s medical research without having to pay for publication and wait over a year for the documents to be published, the site gained notoriety in 2009 after signing a deal with several publications, including The New York Times, Huffington Post, TechCrunch, and several other blogs and publications to host their documents, as well as for their Scribd Store, which allowed users to sell digital copies of their work online.
Scribd is used by millions of people daily to host and share online documents using the platform built by the site itself. In the site’s documents section, you’ll find historical papers, political documents, poll results, and plenty of other information for use in your college assignments, term papers, or just as a general document of interest. Much of this information is obscured by paywalls.
There is also little oversight of the content that people upload onto Scribd in order to gain access. I once even found my own research paper, watermarked and obscured by Scribd (I had not uploaded it and still to this day have no idea how it got there).
Below is the extremely simple trick to bypassing Scribd’s paywall and unblurring blocked content.
- Download the Firefox extension called Unblur.
Unblur The Page - Get this Extension for 🦊 Firefox (en-US)
View blurred content on the Scribd.com without paying. This extension unlocks the blurred pages. Just press the plugin…
2. Navigate to Scribd Page you want to access.
As an example, I will use the following page: Foreign Affairs Handbook. As you can see from the screenshot below this content is partially obscured:
3. After downloading the Firefox add on, simply press the icon that appears in your browser toolbar from the Unblur extension:
Now your article will be fully visible:
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Casey Botticello is a partner at Black Edge Consulting. Black Edge Consulting is a strategic communications firm, specializing in online reputation management, digital marketing, and crisis management. Prior to founding Black Edge Consulting, he worked for BGR Group, a bipartisan lobbying and strategic communications firm.
Casey is the founder of the Cryptocurrency Alliance, an independent expenditure-only committee (Super PAC) dedicated to cryptocurrency and blockchain advocacy. He is also the editor of several Medium publications, including Medium Blogging Guide, K Street, Strategic Communications, Background Check, Wall Street, Paywall Hacks, and Escaping the 9 to 5. He is a graduate of The University of Pennsylvania, where he received his B.A. in Urban Studies.