Monday, 21 August 2017 08:41

Google offers olive branch to online publishers

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Under fire from publishers the world over for hogging online advertising revenue along with Facebook, Google says it is working on a way to help sell subscriptions for online news sites.

Facebook has made a similar offer to online publishers.

Bloomberg said the Google initiative had a feature called "first click free" that would allow the accessing through a search an article on a site that needed a subscription.

It is also looking at the tools used by publishers around online payments and targeting those who are likely to become subscribers.

These measures are being tested with The New York Times and Britain's Financial Times.

The company is also talking to other outlets. Bloomberg quoted Richard Gingras, vice-president for news, as saying: "It’s clear from news publishers that they can’t live on advertising alone. But it’s also clear that we’re seeing a shift in a market."

Both Google and Facebook have created their own formats for articles, placing an additional impost on news sites. But Facebook has now said it will add subscription hooks in its Instant Articles programme which hosts news articles in its mobile application.

Google, whose page format is known as Accelerated Mobile Pages, says it will look at allowing publishers to find out which readers are likely to subscribe, discover how much readers will pay and accelerate the process.

Gingras was not specific about what Google would offer though he told Bloomberg that it would include its mobile payment service and its ad-targeting service.

“This is an area, clearly, where our knowledge about our users can be brought to bear,” he said. “There is no singular subscription strategy that will work for each publisher.”

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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