Tags: google | first click free | policy | ending

Google 'First Click Free' Policy Ending

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By    |   Monday, 02 October 2017 01:05 PM

Google is dropping its "first click free" policy that forced news outlets to offer free articles so they can appear on its search engine as a measure to support the growth of digital subscriptions, The Guardian reported.

Publishers had to offer three free articles a day before readers faced their paywall as part of its "first click free" policy. Google's new policy will allow for flexible sampling that will let news groups determine how many, if any, articles it will consider free, the newspaper stated.

Some publishers had complained that the policy was "toxic" to their search rankings, The Guardian wrote. The newspaper said that Google is making the change after feedback from publishers and readers following tests with The New York Times and the Financial Times.

"Over the years, we've worked with publishing partners to develop a deeper understanding of the relationship between free sampling and conversion," Google said in a statement on its website. "… Publishers should enclose paywalled content with structured data to help Google differentiate paywalled content from the practice of cloaking, where the content served to Googlebot is different from the content served to users.

"If no structured data is provided to indicate the paywall, the paywall may be mistaken for a form of cloaking and the content could be removed from Google," the statement said.

According to the website The Verge, publishers that decide to opt out of flexible sampling won't be demoted in Google search rankings. The search engine is recommending publishers allow 10 free articles per month as "a good starting point," the website said.

"Google's decision to let publishers determine how much content readers can sample from search is a positive development," Kinsey Wilson, an adviser to New York Times chief executive Mark Thompson, said in a statement, noted The Verge.

"We're encouraged as well by Google's willingness to consider other ways of supporting subscription business models and we are looking forward to continuing to work with them to craft smart solutions," Wilson continued.

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TheWire
Google is dropping its "first click free" policy that forced news outlets to offer free articles so they can appear on its search engine as a measure to support the growth of digital subscriptions, The Guardian reported.
google, first click free, policy, ending
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2017-05-02
Monday, 02 October 2017 01:05 PM
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