Google makes a major change to boost online publisher subscriptions

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Because there is a very large number of online magazines that can not support themselves because they fail to obtain enough profit from advertising, Google has made a decision to end its famous "First click free" program.

Google is set to disband its "first click free" policy which forces media companies to offer a minimum of three free-to-view pieces of content each day, introduced in the last decade as a result of the rise in paywalls. Media outlets such as the News Corp always complained that its sales figures were going down thanks to the non-subscription users visiting the site just for the free articles. The policy upset publishers that require subscriptions, believing it undercut their efforts to get readers to pay for news.

Google is now banking on its relaxed policies and developing subscription tools to prevent major media houses and publications from holding back adequate content. Publishers like The Wall Street Journal, which ended that opening for readers in February, saw a 44 percent decline in traffic from Google.

Additionally, Google's working on making the subscription process simpler.

Instead, the company will now allow publishers the freedom to choose the number of free articles users can read when found through Google's search engine.

Google suggests it is working together with web publishers to simplify what ever transaction form they wish to go after in order that it's less hard for end users to make the decision what they would like to pay money for.

Now, though, Google is replacing FCF with something called Flexible Sampling. "Our objective is not for this to be a new line of business", Gingras said.

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That program listed articles higher in the results of searchers if the publishers agreed to offer stories that were for free.

"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".

Also under the old policy, subscriber-based services that did not abide by the FCF policy were demoted in the search results.

"We're also exploring how Google's machine learning capabilities can help publishers recognize potential subscribers and present the right offer to the right audience at the right time".

Recent discussions with publishers have focused on loading the websites quicker and improving the video, then move to the subscriptions, said CBO of Google Philipp Schindler.

And Google said it aims to simplify the subscription process by enabling users to use login information and credit-card numbers already entered into their Google profiles. "The Financial Times is welcoming of Google's input and actions to help this critical sector of the media industry".

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