Google offers online news compromise

Google offers online news compromise


The firm said it would adapt its so-called First Click Free programme to prompt online readers to register or subscribe to a news provider’s site after reading five free articles from that publisher in a day.

Previously, the user’s first click on any article would be free for an unlimited number of articles, provided the user did not click through any more links from any article.
This, Google said would allow publishers to focus on potential subscribers who were accessing a lot of their content on a regular basis. Google Senior Business Product Manager Josh Cohen said “As newspapers consider charging for access to their online content, some publishers have asked “Should we put up pay walls or keep our articles in Google News and Google Search?” “In fact they can do both —— the two aren’t mutually exclusive,” he wrote on Google News’s official blog. Patrick Charnley, solicitor at international law firm Eversheds, said “Publishers have taken a long-awaited stand against Google.”

“The emerging business model is ill-defined at present, but limiting Google free dissemination of news is a vital step toward any attempt to erect pay walls.”
Google’s relationship with publishers who put news behind pay walls is complicated by the fact its web crawlers need to access the content behind the paywall to index it and make it discoverable by its search engine.
But its crawlers cannot fill in registration or subscription forms, leading to the potential for users to be shown different content from what the crawler sees, and hence encouraging users to click through to pages that are not what they expected. Google also offers free previews of articles that publishers give it  typically a headline and the first few paragraphs of a story  and labels them as ‘subscription’ in Google News.

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