All the news that’s fit to pay for

Traditional print media has faced a crisis since the invention of the internet due to the loss of advertising revenue and the availability of free information on the web. For publishers, the problem can be a Catch-22, they want to ensure their content appears in searches, but they don’t necessarily want viewers to get it for free.

So in rides Google, at least according to a post on Yahoo!, that will allow publishers of newspapers to restrict access to their content while still having it appear in web searches. I could not find the original posting referred to on Google’s blog but the main question I would have is isn’t it a bit late on the part of the media industry to change practices? The article does mention the “First Click Free” program that Google introduced in 2008. This allowed people to access content, even if it was restricted, for free a limited amount of times per day. Under their new plan, access through search would be limited to five visits per day. Another proposal would be allowing publishers to opt out of having their content listed in Google News but still have it show up in search. The article also points to the Wall Street Journal, which has charged readers fees for more than a decade, but again, this is an established practice as opposed to trying to impose fees on other papers after years of not doing so.

We use Google news alerts in my office as an electronic news clipping service. It’s pretty convenient since it not only feeds news stories but also, depending on your search parameters, also includes blog postings and other types of information that I may not necessarily think to look for. Not having that ability, at least in my case, would be a step backward since instead of news coming in from a single source, I’d have to set up alerts or subscribe to RSS feeds for multiple sources. It would also degrade the ability to receive information from sources that I would never check, like when our stories get picked up or distributed by international media, which gives us a better idea of where information is going.

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One Response to “All the news that’s fit to pay for”

  1. jaime h. Says:

    Google Alerts is a great tool. We also use it in my office. It definitely allows you to track what is being said in a variety of media. It’s much more efficient than the old services that gave you hard copies WEEKS after they were published. Now you can respond much more quickly if there is a problem.

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