World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers


Google to end its “first click free” policy, providing a boost to subscription-focused publishers

World News Publishing Focus

World News Publishing Focus
Your Guide to the Changing Media Landscape

Google to end its “first click free” policy, providing a boost to subscription-focused publishers

Through its long-standing first-click-free program, Google has encouraged news publishers to allow its search users to access a sample of their articles for free. Publishers had a strong incentive to participate: those who didn’t saw their articles demoted in Google's search results.

Google is now planning to change the policy and let publishers decide if search users get access to a limited amount of their content, and not penalise them if they choose not to participate at all, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Many publishers had complained that the program undermined their efforts to develop a business model that is based on online subscriptions. Google's services effectively provided a way around any paywalls, or publishers had to face a significant drop in traffic from Google search and Google News if they chose to limit access.

Although Google has not said when the policy change will take effect, it is a further example of the company adapting to the fact that an increasing number of news publishers are pursuing subscription-focused business models. Last month it was revealed that Google is preparing tools that specifically aim to help boost subscriptions for news publishers.

Author

Teemu Henriksson's picture

Teemu Henriksson

Date

2017-09-13 12:34

Author information

The news publishing industry is experiencing transformation at an ever-growing pace, with new policy issues arising as the landscape changes.

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