Google Restricts Free Reading on Pay News Sites

Amid criticism from media companies that it is unfairly profiting from news content, Google is closing a loophole that allowed some motivated newshounds to read large numbers of articles on subscription-based sites without paying for them.

The company’s “First Click Free” program, which publishers of pay sites can choose to participate in, is designed to allow readers to get a taste of a site’s content. For example, a person who finds a Wall Street Journal article through Google News can read it free, but if they try to reach other articles from that page they are asked to buy a subscription.

Full story here.

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More fluff again

If the websites didn't want Google indexing their pages then they can stop it themselves.
They haven't, therefore they can't moan.

Really though, how many people are going to pay for a subscription?
This site is a good example of when being able to look at a local newspapers site for an article is the most useful (for me). I've had to register for a few newspaper websites in the past to be able to look at pages and thats fair enough if a little annoying as they often don't have options for people not in their area looking at their pages.
But if I was blocked from this then I'd just move on, or have a discussion on here about the subject without being fully informed on the smaller points.
It's totally valid for publishers to want money, but if they lock everything down then thy'll lose even the smaller ad money when noone atall goes to their site!

Pay for news content?

Obviously the economics of advertising-supported news Websites, as currently practiced, isn't working for the content providers http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/aug/06/rupert-murdoch-website-charges.

Many online news providers have gone to, gone away from and gone back to subscription-based services. This is because the entities currently known as newspapers still haven't worked out the financial side of the Web model. If advertising could pay content provider costs and still produce a profit, all news Web sites would remain free. However, it costs money to run a major newsgathering enterprise. Reporting and its associated costs aren't cheap. The advertising (and the metrics that newspapers rely on to measure value to their advertisers) model simply hasn't been worked out yet.

Pity. While the major news organizations try to work out a sustainable model - one that is widely-accepted and makes sense to advertisers - I fear for the quality and breadth of what will be available news-wise in the near future should more of these organizations go out of business.

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