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Google Ends “First Click Free” Program


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Because there is a very large number of online magazines that cannot support themselves because they fail to obtain enough profit from advertising, Google has decided to end its famous “First click free” program. The company actually replaced it with what it calls “flexible sampling”, to help those publications. Thanks to this new program, those magazines are going to control exactly how many articles a user can access before they must pay. Moreover, rumor has it that Google is currently working on other tools that also have the purpose of increasing the number of user subscriptions.

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End the of “First Click Free” program

According to Richard Gingras, Google’s vice president for News, the company has been working together with various publishers. It has also been testing this new system with the Financial Times and the New York Times. Google wants to offer more flexibility to publishers. However, at the same time, it’s encouraging them to also leave a number of articles free, so that they can appear in Search results.

As for what it calls “Flexible sampling”, there are two ways in which publication can do this. The first one is called “metering”, where magazines allow a certain number of free articles per user. After that, they will need to create a subscription. The second one is called “lead-in”, where magazines offer only a portion of an article. In order to read it in full, the user will have to pay.

Gingras also revealed that the company is going to use some ad targeting tactics. This way, Google will know which categories of users are most likely to create subscriptions and pay for content. Also, it seems like websites are going to show different offers and content depending on the type of audience. The publishers will also be able to alter the presentation or content of the articles to fit with a certain audience.

Flexible Sampling

As part of this new strategy, Google also wants to make it easier for users to subscribe to online publications. Gingras said that the main goal is to transform this purchase into a one-click process. As for the mobile experience, it will be very important to improve this type of checkout experience. Numbers are saying that 85% of American adults are reading news on their smartphones.

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