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Google reveals new policy to boost struggling news organisations

03 October 2017

Google also plans to launch free software in the coming months for publishers that enables users to pay for content with credit card information that they've previously supplied to the search giant.

"Google's "first click free" policy in exchange for prominence in its search results was largely loathed by publishers who hated being forced to provide readers free content", said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

This year, the Wall Street Journal stopped obeying Google's policy, resulting in a drop-in search ranking but growth in subscriptions. Google also said it's giving publishers new tools to attract more paying customers.

Google has put together a list of recommendations for publishers on best practices for Flexible Sampling, which includes two primary suggestions on how to implement the system.

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Shares of companies like New York Times Co., News Corp.

Google wants to collaborate more closely with publishers in marketing ir paid online content.

While Google catches a lot of flak for disrupting the publishing model and causes headaches for publishers, speaking with AdNews last month when he was visiting Australia to meet with local publishers, VP of Google News Richard Gingras said actually it wasn't Google that caused it - it was the internet.

Google first introduced FCF to subscription-based content more than a decade ago, with users able to read the first article they clicked on a given site in full, however any subsequent clicks through the same site would require them to log-in or subscribe.

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"Our goal is to make subscriptions work seamlessly everywhere, for everyone", said Gingras. Google had a troubled public courtship with other publishers, too. Chief Executive Officer Robert Thomson said it "will fundamentally change the content ecosystem" by supporting "the creation of coherent viable subscription models".

Google announced Monday that it will be offering its biggest olive branch yet to publishers: new ways to attract subscribers, as well as a change in how paywalled articles can be accessed through search.

Traditional media outlets such as newspapers have suffered from shrinking advertising revenue as Facebook and Google corner the digital ad revenue market. Thus, the publishers now have the bargaining power to decide the number of articles Google users can access for free.

Google is going to simplify website subscriptions, believing that more people would subscribe if it were easier to do so.

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Google has been meeting with publishers over the past several weeks about improving website load times and video performance.

Google reveals new policy to boost struggling news organisations