Days after Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp announced a partnership with Microsoft to block their news stories from search engines, Google has revealed that they have created a program to restrict readers from reading too many stories on news sites without paying.
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.” Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch had earlier 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.
It looks like pay-to-view news may really be coming to the internet.