Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Google changes First Click Free rules

Readers of paid content on websites have known for ages that they can get around the paywall security of newspapers by visiting these sites via Google News.
The 'First Click Free' functionality in Google allowed visitors access to view the first page of premium content on such sites, but subsequent pages were blocked. This blockage could be overcome by constantly going back into Google News and clicking on the next premium story, meaning that all premium content could be read for free. But this has now been changed.

Now Google has announced that it is allowing publisher to change this rule, meaning that after viewing 5 pages of a paid content site per day, Google will stop its First Click Free rule being used. This means that visitors on the 6th click will be faced with the newspapers site's registration/payment screen.
More information from Josh Cohen at Google is available here.

So... is this a knee jerk to the recently-announced News Corp / Microsoft discussions? Is it a way to placate Rupert Murdoch following his relentless insulting of Google?

Errr... no! Apparently Google has been planning this change for some time, although it has also been more-than aware of the battle that's been coming for some time as well!
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