Google Reduces First Click Free From Five To Three

Google will change the policy on its First Click Free program by reducing the number of freebie articles serving on publisher sites from five to three per day based on their feedback.

The First Click Free program enables publishers to provide content behind a paywall to Web site visitors who see that content for free based on the number of times a user clicks from Google to the publisher's site.

Google worked with subscription-based news services to create a lead-generation tool that doesn't require a subscription for the visitor to read the first article on Google News, but subsequent clicks from Google News to the publisher's site prompts the user to log-in or subscribe.

The compromise allows Google to index, aggregate and publish a link to the publisher's content, while prompting users to view articles and encourage them to subscribe.

Publishers also can block subscription content anywhere on the site from being indexed in Google News by stating the preference in the robots.txt file by putting the content in a specific portion of the Web site and apply the code.

John Mueller, the author of the post at Google, writes that publishers still determine how to count the user’s access based on the multiple devices site visitors might use.

Google has been offering First Click Free since 2009, but apparently not all are familiar with the feature.  Ozair Akhtar, who attends Windsor Public High School and lives in Karachi, Pakistan, writes in a comment that many small site owners look to list their content in Google News to gain "genuine traffic." He plans to start some blogs soon and wonders whether he should list them, too.

Mueller recommends "focusing on a single really awesome and strong Web site rather than multiple Web sites / blogs. Don't dilute your work. Build something that can last for the long run."

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