Google will end 'first click free' policy

Google Unveils Tools to Increase Subscriptions for Publishers

"We will end our First Click Free policy in favor of a Flexible Sampling model where publishers will decide how many, if any, free articles they want to provide to potential subscribers based on their own business strategies", said Google's vice president of new Richard Gingras in a blog post.

Google originally put its policy into place under the assertion that free articles would act as samples, and that these would lead to increases in subscriptions. But he added the Times continues to assess whether to actually reduce the number of free clicks now that it can.

-Click for free is over.

In a press release, Richard Gingras, Google's vice president for news, said, "Over the a year ago, we got clear indications that it was going to be important for publishers to grow subscription revenues". That would include access to a publication's digital content with one click. The WSJ says it experienced a 38 percent reduction in traffic from Google Search, and a loss of 89 percent from Google News in August compared to a year earlier. Technological changes have fractured the advertising market and constrained revenues for nearly all established media. However, the claims made by the company did not bear fruition for most media organizations. Chief executive officer Robert Thomson explained within a well prepared statement. "We will monitor this change closely to ensure that consumers can indeed find the work of our journalists online, and will report what we learn, for better or for worse". The company is also testing other methods of encouraging subscriptions, like single-click sign-ups for Android devices. From the publishers' perspective, many readers became too comfortable with the belief that online content always should be free. After that, they will need to create a subscription.

A Pew Research Center analysis of data from AAM shows that total weekday circulation for USA daily newspapers - both print and digital - fell 8 percent in 2016, marking the 28th consecutive year of declines.

Google over the years has expanded its original focus to undertake everything from developing a mobile phone operating system to carrying out experimental projects, including development of autonomous vehicle technologies.

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Google is now working with publishers around the world to build a mechanism that will accommodate a wide range of subscription models, he added.

The move was welcomed by major publishers with subscription models.

Traditional media outlets such as newspapers have suffered from shrinking advertising revenue as Facebook and Google corner the digital ad revenue market.

Google has thrown news publishers an olive branch by allowing them to list on its search engine without giving a set amount of content away for free.

Google is going to simplify website subscriptions, believing that more people would subscribe if it were easier to do so.

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