Google Ditches "First Click Free" Rule

Google has removed its controversial “first click free” requirement for publishers. Previously, news websites and other publishers that offered paid subscriptions had been forced by Google to offer three free articles per day, otherwise their website would not show up in the search results. The “first click free” policy had been extremely unpopular with publishers, including Axel Springer and News Corp who described it as “toxic”. Now, publishers will be able to decide how many of their articles, if any, they offer for free before presenting users with a paywall. In a complete change of tune from Google, the search engine will now show these websites in their search engine results, even if the publisher has chosen not to offer any free content. The search engine advises publishers to apply structured data to their webpages, so that Google does not misinterpret the paywall as a form of cloaking.