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  1. #1
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    [EN] Google plans to end 'first click free' policy

    Google Offers Olive Branch to Publishers by Relaxing Policy on Subscription Sites


    Jack Nicas and Lukas I. Alpert
    September 12, 2017

    Google Inc. is planning to end its "first click free" policy that enables users of its search engine to bypass paywalls on news websites, a move that could help publishers boost subscriptions, News Corp Chief Executive Robert Thomson said Tuesday.

    Google for years has encouraged publishers to be part of the program, which allows search users to access a limited amount of content on subscription-based news sites free of charge. Some publishers say the policy has hurt subscription growth and say their sites are penalized in Google's search rankings if they don't participate in the program.

    The Wall Street Journal, which is owned by News Corp, opted out of the program this year and saw its traffic from Google search fall 38% last month compared with a year earlier because its stories were demoted in search results, a spokesman said.

    Now, Google is ready to end the first-click-free program and allow publishers to choose how users access their sites from its search results, Mr. Thomson said Tuesday at a media-business conference hosted by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. People familiar with the situation said Google will still enable subscription-oriented publishers to give search users a free sample of their stories if they choose to, but they won't be penalized if they don't.

    "That will fundamentally change the content ecosystem, and not just for us but for many publishers. It will allow the creation of coherent, viable subscription models," Mr. Thomson said. "There's a lot more to negotiate, there's a long way to go, but their willingness to end first click free should be celebrated by all publishers."

    Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., said in a statement, "We are always evaluating our policies but we don't have anything to announce at this stage."

    Up to now, subscription-based sites that didn't participate in first click free have been disadvantaged in Google's search results, because its algorithm only scanned the portions of articles outside the paywall. Under its new approach, Google's technology will be scanning the full article, despite any paywalls, according to one of the people familiar with the situation.

    It is unknown when Google's policy and technology changes will go into effect.

    Google's plans mark an apparent warming in its relationship with publishers, who have sparred with the tech giant at times over everything from its dominance in mobile advertising to what they perceive to be its role, along with Facebook Inc., in facilitating the spread of misinformation on the internet.

    "At one stage I called Google a 'tapeworm in the intestines of the internet,'" said Mr. Thomson, who has been a leading critic, at the conference. "But actually things have changed."

    Mr. Thomson and Google CEO Sundar Pichai had a breakthrough in their relationship in July at investment firm Allen & Co.'s annual exclusive media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, a person familiar with the matter said.

    Mr. Thomson on Tuesday singled out Mr. Pichai for mending relations between the two firms. "Sundar deserves a lot of credit for taking a different approach," he said.

    Subscription revenue is becoming more important for news organizations including the Journal, New York Times Co. and the Financial Times, amid steep declines in print advertising revenue and an uncertain digital advertising landscape that is dominated by Google and Facebook.

    Publishing executives have been more closely scrutinizing how their stories surface on Google's search results, since it is a major source of traffic.

    Google's move to end the first-click-free program is part of its larger effort to help publishers boost subscriptions. Google has tested changes to first click free with the New York Times and Financial Times.

    The company is also testing other tools, such as sharing its data with publishers on which users are likely to buy subscriptions and using its online-payments system for subscriptions.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/google-...tes-1505259211

  2. #2
    WHT-BR Top Member
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    Google set to change free access to news sites



    Kevin Tran
    Sep. 14, 2017

    Google will end a policy that allows users to bypass certain publisher paywalls and read a limited amount of content for free, which could lead more of them to subscribe, according to The Wall Street Journal.

    Previously, subscription-focused publishers that didn’t opt-in to the policy, called “first click free,” were disadvantaged by lower search results rankings — Google’s algorithm only scanned for article content that wasn’t behind a paywall. Now, subscription-focused publishers will not be penalized in search results if they choose not to allow users to read articles for free.

    Subscription revenues are increasingly important as the overall newspaper industry ad revenue declines. The total ad revenue for the US newspaper industry stood at $18 billion in 2016, down by almost one-third from $49 billion in 2006. Google’s decision to end first click free can allow publishers to stem losses associated with declining ad revenue.

    • It can lead to increased subscriptions for a higher number of publishers. The fact that publishers won’t be penalized in search results by putting all of their content behind a paywall could drive more publishers to do so. And users that hit these paywalls will be forced to either pay or look elsewhere for news. Additionally, users won’t be able to use techniques to abuse limited access to articles, like clearing their cookies to reset the meter on their article limit.
    • The change can allow Google to mend relationships with publishers. The Wall Street Journal complained of being discriminated against in search results after it put all of its content behind a paywall in February of this year, and saw its traffic from Google drop 44%, even though its subscriptions also increased fourfold. Google has taken other steps to strengthen relationships with publishers, like creating a payments system, aimed at raising subscriptions as well. Facebook is also doing this too, as it confirmed in July its plans to launch a paid news subscription tool for news publications on Instant Articles.


    However, the amount of subscriptions driven by instituted paywalls may be modest. Only 26% of people who regularly use free news sources said they might pay for news if required, according to a study by the American Press Institute. The proliferation of free news content available on the open web and social platforms like Facebook and Snapchat provide alternatives to content behind paywalls, and could explain why consumer willingness to pay for digital news is relatively low.

    Digital paywalls have helped news publishers like The New York Times and Financial Times stabilize their businesses and mitigate revenue losses in the wake of print's collapse. Now a new breed of digital-native publishers — like BuzzFeed, Vox, and Huffington Post — is considering whether to follow suit in a bid to decrease their reliance on the volatile ad market.

    Both the incumbents and the disruptors in the online news business must face the same challenge: Millennials are hesitant to pay for their content. This aversion is encouraging change in the pay-for-content model. Legacy publishers are being forced to reevaluate their existing paywalls and subscription offerings in an effort to drive up new subscribers.

    BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, has compiled a detailed report on publisher paywalls that:

    • Takes a look at the increased adoption of digital paywalls in the last decade.
    • Discusses the three main types of paywalls: strict, metered, and freemium content paywalls.
    • Identifies necessary characteristics for publishers that succeed with each paywall and points out potential threats to these publishers.
    • Lays out how millennials are shaping the future of the paywall model and forcing publishers to evaluate alternative methods to monetize users.


    http://www.businessinsider.com/googl...-policy-2017-9

  3. #3
    WHT-BR Top Member
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    Move would give paywalled publishers more visibility in search results

    Madhumita Murgia and David Bond
    2017-09-14

    Google is expected to end a policy that allows users to breach newspaper paywalls to read articles for free, but media groups remain concerned about the control they have over content indexed by Google and the prominence it is given in search results.

    Google’s “first click free” policy allows users to access a limited number of subscription-only articles without a login, a practice that has been described as “toxic” by publishers such as Germany’s Axel Springer and News Corp, which publishes the Wall Street Journal and the UK’s Times.

    “If you don’t sign up for ‘first click free’, you virtually disappear from a search. And given the power of that Google platform, that is disadvantaging premium content of great provenance,” said Robert Thomson, chief executive of News Corp, at an event in New York on Wednesday. “[T]here are many things to be negotiated, but . . . Google has indicated to us that they’ll bring ‘first click free’ to an end. That will fundamentally change the content ecosystem.”

    Subscription access to content is proving a key alternative business model for media groups that have been suffering as online advertising continues to be sucked away by Facebook and Google.

    “There’s growing understanding from Google and Facebook that quality journalism needs to be sustained and it’s going to require more than an advertising-based business model,” said the publisher of a major subscription news site, who asked not to be named.

    “There’s potentially a material benefit for subscription models if ‘first click free’ disappears or we get to manage it. This needs to be combined with a sufficient presence in search results.”

    Improving relationships with the big news publishers has become a top priority, filtering straight from Google’s chief executive Sundar Pichai, according to sources close to Google. “We are always evaluating our policies but we don’t have anything to announce at this stage,” said Peter Barron, head of communications and public affairs for Google in Europe.

    The “first click free” programme became a bone of contention when sites opting out of it, including the Wall Street Journal, felt they were penalised heavily for their non-participation. The journal, for instance, saw a 94 per cent plunge in referrals from Google News in the first five months of 2017.

    “Naturally, we are providing that statistic, the 94 per cent fall, to the European Commission, which is rightly investigating Google’s blatant abuse of its search monopoly,” Mr Thomson said at London Tech Week earlier this year.

    Ending the programme will ostensibly remove this bias in Google’s opaque ranking system, publishers hope.

    Nic Newman, from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, said the removal of “first click free” would be a “significant” move, giving paywalled publishers “far more visibility in search which will potentially drive more subs”.

    Google and Facebook have faced an outcry from publishers over their digital duopoly in online advertising. They will account for 60 per cent of the US digital advertising market this year, according to the research firm eMarketer.

    “Both Google and Facebook have been under enormous pressure to help publishers who are increasingly moving towards reader payments. Digital advertising is not enough to sustain their news operations,” Mr Newman said.

    The Silicon Valley companies have begun public efforts to mollify publishers, hastened by a surge in fake news on their platforms. In July, Facebook said it would allow publishers to implement paywalls and redirect readers to their own websites, without sharing revenue with the social media platform.

    Meanwhile, Google has launched the Digital News Initiative, an olive branch to co-develop products with the news industry, including promoting subscription-based sites.

    “For many years I don’t think we communicated very well or at all . . . with the news industry, and we have been trying to change that,” Madhav Chinnappa, Google’s director of news partnerships in the European region said in a podcast this week. “We are trying to have a dialogue.”

    https://www.ft.com/content/9dee50c8-...2-cde3f882dd7b

  4. #4
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010
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    A parceria é realizada com a inserção de uma frase positiva sobre o Google em cada matéria publicada pelo veiculo. Se contiver "Alphabet" ganha um empurrão extra.

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