Google’s “Flexible Sampling” replaces ” First Click Free” policy

Finally, the First Click Free policy of Google has given relaxation to the publishers, as Google has announced a less number of articles set according to the choice of publishers, required for its free search results.

Google did a lot in past to infuriate the publishers and traditional media companies. First Click Free is one of Google’s policies that remained controversial for almost a decade.

How the ” First Click Free” works?

“First Click Free”  policy demanded from the publishers a certain number of articles for readers for free so that those articles appear high up in the Google’s search results.

Because this policy is troublesome, the publishers rather than relying upon digital advertising,  increasingly moved their articles behind subscription paywalls for their revenue.

The Wall Street Journal stopped giving free tasters of its published content earlier 2017. The traffic of The Wall Street Journal from Google users plunged by 44 %.

 Google has the global search engine market share of more than 90 percent, and that every level of control matters a lot for any publisher.

“Flexible Sampling”

Here, it was necessary to give something and Google decided to replace Firs Click Free policy.

On Monday, Google News chief Richard Gingras announced through a blog post that the policy ” First Click Free ”  was going to be replaced by a new policy called ” Flexible Sampling “.

Under this policy, the publishers are not forced to place three free articles per day. Instead, they are required to ser their own number of free articles per month.

Google recommends 10 free article samples free for one month.

Gingras wrote in his post that the publishers know that giving free access to their articles would persuade people to buy their product.

Google has also promised to be working with publishers to make it easier for people to subscribe to their articles.

The blog post-Gingras makes a sense that Google wants to ensure that its services are central to that very process.

Gingras says,

“As a first step we’re taking advantage of our existing identity and payment technologies to help people subscribe on a publication’s website with a single click, and then seamlessly access that content anywhere—whether it’s on that publisher site or mobile app, or on Google Newsstand, Google Search or Google News”.

How The Wall Street Journal takes this step? It quoted News Corp CEO Robert Thomson who says that the move was an important first step “in recognizing the value of legitimate journalism”.

Google and Facebook have pretty much ownership of the digital advertising market between them.

 In case the subscription models become the norm, they will start competing for control of that mechanism too. Facebook is also following Google and working on support for paywalled articles within its social network.

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