Google blinks first in war with media
How powerful is media mogul Rupert Murdoch? Powerful enough to get Google to back down from its policy of not paying news sources.
Google will soon begin to limit access to 5 stories a day to newspaper or other media sites that want readers to pay for content.
Google News will still aggregate or list those stories. Readers who are not subscribers to the particular media source will be stopped after the 5th story they read.
Two weeks ago, Rupert Murdoch who is reputed to be the world’s largest owner of news media (News Corp: Fox, Sun, The Times, NY Post) was threatening to stop Google from searching any of his sites. Last week he announced plans to partner with Google competitor Microsoft Bing.
The question for Google, who make money on the advertising on their sites, is would they lose market share if Murdoch and other media corporations boycotted Google Search?
Apparently, Google are not willing to find out and capitulated to Murdoch. The moves by Google may not be enough. Publishers believe the internet and Google are stealing material they work hard to create.
“However, Cohen said publishers would be able to charge for their content and still make it available via Google following the changes announced yesterday. “The two aren’t mutually exclusive,” he added, on a Google News blog.
Cohen said Google had achieved this by updating its First Click Free programme, so that publishers can limit Google News users to looking at no more than five pages of content a day without registering or subscribing.
“If you’re a Google user, this means that you may start to see a registration page after you’ve clicked through to more than five articles on the website of a publisher using First Click Free in a day … while allowing publishers to focus on potential subscribers who are accessing a lot of their content on a regular basis,” he added.
Cohen said that Google will also begin crawling, indexing and treating as “free” any preview pages – usually the headline and first few paragraphs of a story – from subscription websites.
“We will then label such stories as “subscription” in Google News. The ranking of these articles will be subject to the same criteria as all sites in Google, whether paid or free,” he added.
“Paid content may not do as well as free options, but that is not a decision we make based on whether or not it’s free. It’s simply based on the popularity of the content with users and other sites that link to it.”
“These are two of the ways we allow publishers to make their subscription content discoverable, and we’re going to keep talking with publishers to refine these methods. After all, whether you’re offering your content for free or selling it, it’s crucial that people find it. Google can help with that.” Guardian.co.uk