Google Ends "First Click Free" Program

Posted October 03, 2017

Publishers are best positioned to decide how much free sampling to offer potential subscribers.

Google is putting an end to a contentious policy that forced publishers to give away free articles so that they could appear on the tech giant's search engine. "There is a sense that those that are creating journalistic content are not getting appropriately rewarded and those that are intermediating, whether that is a search engine or a social media company, are essentially taking more of the value than they should", Mr. Newman told Sputnik. This was known as the First Click Free policy and was meant to help drive traffic to sites that were not freely accessible all the time.

According to this policy, users who did not subscribe to the publisher's services would be allowed to see and read the full content of the first three news articles of the media outlet, avoiding restriction of the paywalls.

Talking about this change, the CEO at News Corp., Robert Thomson said it "will fundamentally change the content ecosystem" by supporting "the creation of coherent viable subscription models".

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Google has announced a significant change in how it handles digital publications that show stories and news items on Google Search results and on Google News. For the uninitiated, Murdoch's News Corp. publishes two newspapers, i.e., The Times and The Sun.

Google wants to collaborate more closely with publishers in marketing ir paid online content.

Mr. Schindler said that while Google would likely take a small cut of transactions, it is trying to help publishers, not build a new business. That include introducing single-click subscriptions on Android and through other Google services.

Google's CEO Sundar Pichai has made subscriptions a priority and said he was involved very closely in numerous discussions with publishers. And it argues that if publishers offer some free articles as a "try before you buy" it could persuade people to sign up for a paid account. Instead of being forced to serve up three free articles per day, publishers will instead be able to set their own number of free monthly samples-Google recommends 10 a month. Customer details like names and addresses would be shared with the publishers.

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Google has shared some high-level concepts with publishers like the Times, Grossman-Cohen said.

Facebook, Alphabet's top rival in online advertising, is working on similar subscriber registration tools.

Google has been meeting with publishers over the past several weeks about improving website load times and video performance.

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