Google to Review the First Click Free Policy

Since time immemorial, publications such as the New York Times, the Financial Times as well as the Wall Street Journal require their users to pay some few dollars to access their services. However, readers have always found an easy workaround that allows them to read numerous articles on the internet without paying even a coin. All they have to do is search their preferred headline, and they will find one website that offers them the information they require. While this offers the readers the opportunity to save their money, it’s bad news for these publications that have to earn from these subscriptions to survive. Google is now aware of the challenges that these publications face and has said that it is designing tools that will help the subscription businesses survive. However, this comes as a surprise as these are the businesses that its dominance with Facebook has threatened in years. The company said that it would do away with the first click free policy. According to this policy, it’s the requirement of every subscription business to offer its customers at least three articles on a daily basis before they can subscribe.

According to Google, the new program that is known as flexible sampling will allow publishers to determine the number of free clicks that it can offer its users. The program is expected to kick off this week. With these plans, it will be possible for users to subscribe to publications without complications. At the same time, it will be easy for publishing companies to examine the behavior and preferences of their customers. Chief business officer at Google Philip Schindler says that this is an effort by the company to create a better environment for journalism. He further said that it’s the desire of the company to see publishers succeed. However, there are concerns that despite the efforts by Google, it has done a lot in killing the news industry that was once dominated by publishers. For instance, a recent study estimates that 60 percent of digital ad revenue will be shared between Facebook and Google. At the same time, these two tech companies still dominate the way information is disseminated around the world. The first click free policy offered users a wide variety of articles to choose from before the paywalls caught up with them. Failing to obey Google rules had far-reaching consequences on a publisher. For instance, the Wall Street Journal suffered a decrease in traffic when they refused to comply.

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