Many consumers expect web content to be free and will suffer through most ads rather than subscribe to various publications. This, of course, comes as a great detriment to publishers and their business. With several new efforts, Google is now trying to help publications boost their subscriptions and monetization.

Nintendo Switch

Google is working (via Bloomberg) on a revamp of its “first click free” feature that allows users to read paywall articles found from Search for free. At the moment, publications that use Accelerated Mobile Pages are already asked by Google to provide non-subscribers with at least three free articles a day. With the New York Times, Google is now working on lowering that number.

Meanwhile, another effort if focussed on increasing the subscriber base through the use of targeting and simplified online payments. The new tool would let sites identify possible subscribers, determine how much readers are willing to pay, and speed up the whole transaction process.

This tool would take advantage of Google’s existing ad targeting systems, as well as their mobile payment solution. Such an arrangement could see Google become an even more powerful in-between publications and readers.

Publishers already prefer Google for their Accelerated Mobile Pages over Facebook’s Instant Articles and the social network’s in-progress subscriptions tools. This might serve as a crucial benefit in the race between the two companies for web dominance.

Google is also working with Britain’s Financial Times on these new tools. The New York Times expects product changes to go live next month. During an earnings call in August, News Corp. also cited that it was working with both Facebook and Google on digital subscription models.


About the Author