Posted: December 2nd, 2009 by Militant Libertarian
Newspaper publishers will now be able to set a limit on the number of free news articles people can read through Google, the company has announced.
The concession follows claims from some media companies that the search engine is profiting from online news pages.
Under the First Click Free programme, publishers can now prevent unrestricted access to subscription websites.
Users who click on more than five articles in a day may be routed to payment or registration pages.
“Previously, each click from a user would be treated as free,” Google senior business product manager Josh Cohen said in a blog post.
“Now, we’ve updated the programme so that publishers can limit users to no more than five pages per day without registering or subscribing.”
Google users may start seeing registration pages appear when they click for a sixth time on any given day at websites of publishers using the programme, according to Mr Cohen.
This will only affect websites that currently charge for content.
The announcement is seen as a reaction to concerns in the newspaper industry that Google is using newspaper content unfairly.
Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, the chairman and chief executive of Newscorp, has accused firms such as Google of profiting from journalism by generating advertising revenue by linking readers to newspaper articles.
Some readers have discovered they can avoid paying subscription fees to newspaper websites by calling up their pages via Google.