This morning there is (for me) one less mystery in the world.
What’s emerged from Rupert Murdoch’s recent complaints about Google Search is the existance of a “First Click Free” deal between News Corp. and Google.
Mr. Murdoch, who is arguably the most powerful person in media today, has been insisting that Google ‘steals’ his content without payment. He’s been threatening to wall off his media properties from Google search results.
This argument about payment for content is getting a lot of attention in the ‘press’, but what interests me more is the fact that Rupert has peeled back his Kimono and given us a glimpse at his free Hors d’œuvre. (How’s that for a mixed metaphor?)
It’s pretty widely known that while the Wall Street Journal is a subscription-only site, you can access any article by going thru Google first, as long as you know the title of the article. I’ve documented this trick for our readers, but never knew it had such a descriptive name. And obviously it’s the result of a business arrangement between Murdoch’s News Corp. and Google. It’s not the result of Google stealing content.
Now we know officially that the Wall Street Journal has been working with Google to increase traffic on their site by giving away access to the ‘first’ article hoping that readers will sign up for a subscription. But in spite of Murdoch’s threatening to cut off Google and work only with Microsoft nothing of consequence has come to pass.
If you’d like to play the game, copy and past the following line into a Google search box, and then into a Bing search box. From the search results, click on the online.wsj.com link and you’ll get complete access to the article from Google, but only a preview from Bing.
wall street journal Pay-to-Play Probe Turns to Venture Capitalist
As a former long-time subscriber to the WSJ, I’m enjoying the appetizers, but won’t be back until Rupert figures out a decent business model and puts out the whole lunch.