Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

An Olive Branch To Murdoch? Google News Updated To Deal With Paid Content

Posted by Tom Foremski - December 1, 2009

Josh Cohen, senior business product manager in charge of Google News, this morning said that the search engine has implemented new processes for dealing with paid content.

- Publishers using Google's "First Click Free" program can now allow non-subscribers to view up to 5 pages of content for free.

- Preview pages that show headline and a couple of paragraphs will be marked "subscription" in Google News.

These are two of the ways we allow publishers to make their subscription content discoverable, and we're going to keep talking with publishers to refine these methods. After all, whether you're offering your content for free or selling it, it's crucial that people find it. Google can help with that.

Foremski's Take: This looks to me like a possible olive branch to Rupert Murdoch and his threat to take his content out of the Google Index.

The changes in the First Click Free program plug a hole in publisher's paywalls. The program is designed to let the Googlebot index content but others can also get in free.

For example, WSJ.com will only allow non-subscribers to see the first couple of paragraphs for free, but if you type the headline into Google it will take you to an open copy of the article.

Google is trying to protect its index and make sure it is as complete as possible. It would suffer a blow to its brand and its mission to index all the world's information if Mr Murdoch and other newspaper publishers blocked the Google index. Users would wonder what else is missing at Google.

- - -

Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land has an interview with Josh Cohen where he talks about the First Click Free program.

Josh Cohen Of Google News On Paywalls, Partnerships & Working With Publishers

Google Modifies "First Click Free" Policy To Accommodate Publishers Gating Their Content

Please see:

MediaWatch Analysis Part II: Google Has More To Lose Than Murdoch


Analysis On Murdoch And Switching Off GOOG: The Dirty Little Secret About Search Engine Traffic...

WSJ Chief: There Are Two Types: Creators And Aggregators - Creators Carry The Burden Of Costs

Adtribution Might Be A Solution For Murdoch, A.P, Et Al, Versus The News Aggregators And Bloggers

"Google Devalues Everything It Touches" - Wall Street Journal Chief


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