Dec 02

Throwing Murdoch A Bone

Google has announced today that it is restricting free access to subscriptions news sites to 5 articles per day. This is most likely a response to Rupert Murdoch, owner of News Corp, making alot of hay about free access to his subscription holdings.

Google News and Blog Search is an essential tool. Virtually everyone uses Google, and it’s integrated News and Blog features show results even if the search, be default, is not specifically limited to searches from the dedicated Google News page. This includes calls to the API, meaning searches that are made without the use of the webpage directly, such as embedded results in other websites and applications.

This change means that after the 5th time in a day a link sends you to one of the subscription sites that Google indexes, you will have to either register or purchase a subscription, as required by the website. For sites that offer free access with a subscription, you will have to register. For sites that require payment, you’ll have to pay if you want more than 5 articles a day.

Early on, access to news articles was often a tedious process. Most sites required registration, even if afterwords access was free, and the flow of attention being interrupted by the registration process was quite frustrating. After a little while, the ad revenue models begun by the websites began to show some profit and decisions were made to offer subscriptions to the search engines so that users could get more or less seamless access, which was a major boost to productivity and a neat answer to the problem.

However, as the ad revenue model is starting to flatten out, and the brick and mortar news companies continue to hemmorage profit, companies like News Corp are desperate to find a profit model. Tightening up on copyright appears to be the answer for Rupert Murdoch. Given that Google knows it is making big profit on providing access to News Corp articles, it’s not suprising that they are quick to offer reconciliation. It will be interesting to see Murdoch’s response.

BBC News – Google to limit free news access

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