Google has announced that they “First Click Free” program is being changed based on publisher feedback In case you’re unfamiliar, the First Click Free program lets publishers who provide content behind a paywall the ability to allow Google, as well as some users, the ability to see that content for free. This is based on the number of times somebody cicks over from Google to the publisher site.
Originally, the user was able to see free content from a participating publisher for free for up to five articles. The updated program, Google said, is being reduced to three articles based on publisher feedback.
At first, you’d think, why reduce the amount of free articles for the user to read? What is the big deal? The deal is that people, these days, have access to multiple devices, such as desktop, tablets and mobile phones. With access to every one of these devices that a user owns, they would get five free article views for every device they have. That’s a lot of money down the drain for the publishers. Having the number of free-to-access articles down to three, instead of five, the overall number of potential free content a singer user gets is reduced, and money isn’t being thrown away by the publisher.
According to John Mueller, publishers still have control over how to count a user’s accesses. This change affects both Google Search and Google News. John explains that the change was don based on the new “multi-screen, multiple device world we now live in.”