Google relaxes its ad rules

Google said news websites no longer have to provide users with three free articles per day or face less prominence in search results. Fred Katayama reports.

(Reuters) – Google is nixing its “first click free” policy.

It no longer requires subscription news websites to give users three free articles per day or face less prominence in search results

Google introduced the policy to ensure that non-subscribers wouldn’t be stifled by paywalls when they clicked on links from searches.

But media organizations, such as News Corp, complained that freeloading was cutting into sales.

Now, publishers can choose how many – if any – free articles they want to add to Google searches.

Digital Content Next CEO Jason Kint says it’s a good change.


“Google is allowing news publishers to actually control their own business models a little bit more. Historically, Google has forced through its desired rules that benefit really Google rather than news publishers, so this will actually allow news publishers to drive more subscriptions into their businesses, which will help pay for the journalism and news, which is so important to them.”

Google’s top rival in online advertising, Facebook, is working on similar subscriber registration tools. Apple released support for subscriptions within its News app last year.