"Google's "first click free" policy in exchange for prominence in its search results was largely loathed by publishers who hated being forced to provide readers free content", said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT. It's also working to allow seamless access to subscriber content across publisher sites, Google Newsstand, Google Search, and Google News. Now, the end of this policy by the search engine means that from now on journalists and content writers will have a higher return on their content in monetary terms.
The company is abandoning its "first click free" feature which required publishers to offer three free articles a day before displaying a paywall to a reader.
When using Google search, users will inevitably be met with a site that asks for login credentials before content is viewable at some point.
Successful paywalled publishers the New York Times and Financial Times are both operating the new system and have been working with Google on its development. For the uninitiated, Murdoch's News Corp. publishes two newspapers, i.e., The Times and The Sun. Google has a hard courtship publicly with other online publishers as well.
Google's announcement comes as Facebook is in the midst of a charm offensive with publishers, launching a variety of journalism-related projects and teasing new ways for publishers to introduce subscription options.
The metering will go by month, rather than the previous three articles daily model that was in force, allowing more time for publishers to experiment and target those more likely to subscribe.
For their part, Google is suggesting that publishers offer 10 free articles per month-as well as free previews of a portion of other articles-in order to encourage users to familiarize themselves enough to want to pay for access.
The goal is to facilitate fast purchases that could take as little as a single click, Gingras said.
Publishers, rejoice: First Click Free is dead. The chairman of Axel Springer the publishing giant in Germany wrote in an open letter in 2014 that the company was afraid of Google. "That's not great for users or for news publishers who see subscriptions as an increasingly important source of revenue".
Google has been meeting with publishers over the past several weeks about improving website load times and video performance.