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Search Engine: Google Ends First-Click-free Program for Paywalls

Thursday, September 14th, 2017 | Gadgets

Google plans to end its first-click-free program. So far, it has allowed users of the search engine to bypass paywalls on news websites. This is reported by the Wall Street Journal, citing the head of News Corp. Robert Thomson. Publishers could help to increase subscriptions, Thomson said.

With First Click Free, users can access a limited amount of content on subscription-based message boards for free. This only works if you search the message via Google and then click on a specially generated link.
The Wall Street Journal, which belongs to the news corporation Newscorp, decided this year to leave the program. Google's Google search traffic dropped 38 percent last year, and Google News dropped 89 percent year-on-year. According to a spokesman for the Wall Street Journal, the news was reported to be worse in the search list. Now Google is ready to end the first-click-free program.
Worse ranking for pay content?
So far, sites with paywalls that did not participate in the first-click-free program were adversely affected by Google's search results because the algorithm only scanned parts of articles outside the paywall. Now Google will index the entire article despite Paywalls, said a person familiar with the situation the Wall Street Journal.
Google said in a statement: "We reevaluate our policy over and over again, but we do not have anything to say at this time." When Google will close the program exactly, is still unclear.

"This will fundamentally change the content ecosystem, not just for us, but for many publishers, enabling the creation of coherent, viable subscription models," Thomson said. There is much more to negotiate and a long way to go, but the readiness of the alphabet to end the first-click-free program should be celebrated by all publishers.


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