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Google The Media Your Rights Online

Google May Limit Free News Access 236

Posted by kdawson
from the bend-like-a-willow dept.
You know how, if you want to read a paywalled newspaper article, you can just paste its title into Google News and get a free pass? Those days may be coming to an end. Reader Captian Spazzz writes: "It looks like Google may be bowing to pressure from folks like News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch. What I don't understand is what prevents the websites themselves from enforcing some limit. Why make Google do it?" (Danny Sullivan explains how they could do that.) "Newspaper publishers will now be able to set a limit on the number of free news articles people can read through Google, the company has announced. The concession follows claims from some media companies that the search engine is profiting from online news pages. Publishers will join a First Click Free programme that will prevent web surfers from having unrestricted access. Users who click on more than five articles in a day may be routed to payment or registration pages."
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Google May Limit Free News Access

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  • by Threni (635302) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @06:25AM (#30295368)

    Presumably there'll be a cookie to remove, or a BugMeNot account, or a way of creating/managing the 50 accounts needed to read as before.

    • Or maybe Wikinews might start getting more popular.

      • by rwa2 (4391) *

        I get all my news exclusively from reading fark [fark.com] comments (so I'm getting a kick out of these replies).

        By the way, you have one of my all time favourite /. sigs (along with the "Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana" guy)

    • by Smegly (1607157) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @08:49AM (#30296114)

      Google search, Google scholar etc always turns up paywalled articles outside of the news industry. In particular, research articles. On clicking through your are greeted by a screen to pay for the article, and the keywords that were searched for are not in the summary/abstract presented or even available to see. In effect Google has given me a "hit" on my search then led me to a place where not even the search terms are present... Google crawler has access to it but I do not.

      ieeecomputersociety.org, springerlink.com, sciencedirect.com (anything but direct)... the list goes on.

      Ok, you might say that they hold all the serious research papers - you might even be right, in some cases. I even understand that maybe just maybe, if I am really desperate, then I might actually want to search for paywalled articles and am prepared to pay the extra information access tax of $20-$40 a for every article. However what google is now doing is wasting their bandwidth and more importantly to me, completely wasting my time by including paywalled articles in top positions of all my search requests. Furthermore, Google does it by default.

      I have written to their support, posted on their forums -please Google - if you are listening - MAKE PAYWALLED SITES AN OPTION in my preferences and set it OFF by default. If you think about where it leads: the quality of the future of all our search requests is at stake. Now Google is planning to add News to this time wasting highly annoying practice - and I want to be opted out by default, I am begging you!

      • by radtea (464814) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @10:01AM (#30296698)

        I have written to their support, posted on their forums -please Google - if you are listening - MAKE PAYWALLED SITES AN OPTION in my preferences and set it OFF by default.

        YES, please. My god I hate this aspect of Google, which is an incredibly annoying time-suck. It's even worse for me because I have a uni account that gives me access to most of the paywalled research, but only when I'm on campus, so when I'm off-campus and I want to know something I just desperately want the option to turn off all that paywalled crap.

        This is by far the most hateful, stupid and annoying thing Google does, and in close to a decade of searches I have never once purchased article access from one of these pirates (academics don't get paid by journals for their manuscripts, and now that publishing costs have fallen to almost nothing due to Web delivery there is absolutely no excuse for the kind of rates academic publishers are charging. Open access journals are the future, and the sooner Google gets on board with the future, the better).

        • by Smegly (1607157)

          This is by far the most hateful, stupid and annoying thing Google does, and in close to a decade of searches I have never once purchased article access from one of these pirates (academics don't get paid by journals for their manuscripts, and now that publishing costs have fallen to almost nothing due to Web delivery there is absolutely no excuse for the kind of rates academic publishers are charging.

          I hear your pain, cursed googles paywalled roadblocks in my search results once too many. Same boat here but no way I am going to make a trip to campus, especially since in many cases the article is freely and legally available elsewhere - but due to all the paywalled crap sitting in the top page or two of my results, it just takes waaay longer to look up the information. How the hell do they scam their way into the top search positions anyway when you can only get into their fortress of anti-information

        • by hweimer (709734)

          YES, please. My god I hate this aspect of Google, which is an incredibly annoying time-suck. It's even worse for me because I have a uni account that gives me access to most of the paywalled research, but only when I'm on campus, so when I'm off-campus and I want to know something I just desperately want the option to turn off all that paywalled crap.

          Got an SSH account? Then you can download the papers by setting up an HTTP proxy [quantenblog.net].

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @10:03AM (#30296718)

        1) get Firefox
        2) get User Agent Switcher extension
        3) Set you user agent to googlebot's UA
        4) See what google sees

        • by Smegly (1607157) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @10:22AM (#30296900)
          This does work in some cases (when the sites don't check IP addresses - most of the most popular ones do now) - but your work around does not help stop the steady debasement of search result quality as more and more companies outside of the research article industry setup these paywalled schemes. Do you really want the first two pages of your search results behind a paywall - even if you can work around the problem for some of them? What ticks me off is that you usually don't realize it is paywalled until after you have clicked through.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by jetxee (940811)

          I wish there were a way to exclude pay-walled pages from the search results. What do you think about it, Google?

        • by Nadaka (224565)

          I wonder what happens when google sees that google bot is indexing google search results?

      • I say bring it.

        With IEEE you can't get the article in question anywhere else.

        For news, you can read the "michael jackson is dead" story from anywhere. Furthermore, society benefits as a whole if we can get away from the news sources we currently have.

        • by Smegly (1607157)

          With IEEE you can't get the article in question anywhere else.

          Thats a myth. Yes Its true in some cases (even research going back into the 80's!) but sure you can get it elsewhere, especially when it comes to quality research. One example of many [ieee.org] will cost you a cool $30 from IEEE. But why pay IEEE's extremely high, no value added gatekeeper taxes when you can get the same research from a better source, for free [uci.edu] (as it should be).

          Interesting side note: AFAIK all physics research is open access - at least the physicists have got it right - you would think that at least

      • why not just switch search engines?

        Free market and all that.

        ps if you don't need a lot of articles you can just email the authors and they will send you the paper for free.
      • In point of fact, there are sites that I would just rather not see from Google searches. An example of this would be news articles about politics from either NMR or Fox News. If I want propaganda, I can go to al-jazeera. In a similar vein, when I am searching for a product, I do not want to see twenty "we compare prices" sites -- if I wanted a price comparison site, I'd go to one.

        I would like a way to customize my google "experience" so that I could specify sites that I simply do not want to see. Far be

      • > MAKE PAYWALLED SITES AN OPTION in my preferences and set it OFF by default.

        I agree. I don't want to see anything in my search results that I cannot see when I follow the link (abstracts with ads for paid access to the full article are fine).

      • Google hypocrisy. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TheLink (130905) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @12:30PM (#30298452) Journal

        > In effect Google has given me a "hit" on my search then led me to a place where not even the search terms are present... Google crawler has access to it but I do not.

        Google punished BMW.de for doing something similar to this before.

        http://news.cnet.com/Google-blacklists-BMW.de/2100-1024_3-6035412.html [cnet.com]

        Quote: This is a violation of our Webmaster quality guidelines, specifically the principle of 'Don't deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users,'" Cutts' blog said.

        Go figure.

    • by vegiVamp (518171)
      I don't know, is bugmenot actually useful for someone ? I can't remember ever getting an active account.
  • Frist Psot! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by darthflo (1095225) * on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @06:25AM (#30295374)

    Most 'papers like Google and the visitors Google sends them; so the Google Bot and hits with a google.com Referer tend to get a free pass. Use this to your advantage:

    • Google the Article's URI, click the link and off you go (with a real Google referer).
    • If it's not indexed yet and you're using Opera: Go to any Google page, press Ctrl + U, change any one link's href to the article's URI, click "Save Changes", click the link and off you go (with a fake Google referer. This works for any fake referer, by the way).
    • If they're picky, they mightn't let hits from Google through but still allow the Google bot to index their pages. Change your User-Agent accordingly. In Firefox, go to about:config and change general.useragent.extra.firefox to Googlebot 2.1 and off you go (as Googlebot).
    • As a last resort, there's quite a few ad-blocking personal proxies out there. Most of them allow you to fake Referers or change User-Agents, for any browser.
    • But in practice I just read the news which is easy to get to. For now there is plenty of that and I would be surprised if it becomes significantly harder to get.

      • by Canazza (1428553)

        Luckily, BBC News is run on the British TV Licence and can't - by power of it's charter - put adverts or start charging for anything.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by asnare (530666)

          Luckily, BBC News is run on the British TV Licence and can't - by power of it's charter - put adverts or start charging for anything.

          ... if you're in the UK. The BBC already show advertisements if you're viewing from outside the UK.

          • For the first time I have a reason to want to VPN /into/ the UK. But not a big one thanks to AdBlock.

            • by EasyTarget (43516)

              Unfortunately the ads in bbc video are inline.. (but adblock works great against the ones on their pages)

        • by digitig (1056110)

          Luckily, BBC News is run on the British TV Licence and can't - by power of it's charter - put adverts or start charging for anything.

          Only true if you're accessing it from the UK. They can -- and do [bbc.co.uk] -- add advertising if you're browsing from the rest of the world.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mrpacmanjel (38218)

      Or visit other freely available news-based sites across the internet!

      As far as I understand a newspaper will allow you to read x number of articles before you are redirected to a login/payment page then it is up to you to pay for it or go elsewhere.

      At the end of the day it all depends on how much you are charged and how.

      It's worth a try - charge too much and people just won't pay and will you still get adverts even though you have paid for the article or subscription?

      • Re:Frist Psot! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @09:27AM (#30296376) Homepage
        Indeed, why bother doing the acrobatics to work around it. I read BBC news, a few local newspapers, a couple of sites like slashdot and a few decent blogs to catch up on whats going on. If Murdoch wants to get people paying for what is free elsewhere, he'll discover how the internet routes around damage, at which point he'll either back up and try to find some other payment model, or he'll fold.
    • Re:Frist Psot! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by b4upoo (166390) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @07:00AM (#30295542)

      It seems to me that the people that advertise in newspapers would feel as though they were willing to pay more for ads if the newspapers would put the entire content online. Restricting access will turn around and bite the newspaper industry. The will rue th day they thought of restricting access.

      • Re:Frist Psot! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by kars (100858) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @07:17AM (#30295612) Homepage
        Well, that's the other side of the coin; if I'm willing to pay for my news, will I finally be rid of all the ads? I think not.
      • by mike2R (721965)

        Restricting access will turn around and bite the newspaper industry. The will rue th day they thought of restricting access.

        They have to do something - they are haemorrhaging money at the moment. If you know what that something is then you can make a shit-load from that idea.

        The problem is simply that the shift to online has had a drastically bad effect on their advertising revenue. They have two options: 1) cut costs - this means cutting journalists, and essentially stopping being a serious news outlet,

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TubeSteak (669689)

      These guys are really lazy and until they get serious, you will only need two firefox plugins:
      1. a User Agent Switcher to turn your browser into googlebot
      2. a cookie manager like CookieSafe that lets you block cookies on a per-site basis.

      Maybe someday they'll upgrade to flash cookies, and use those to count the articles you've read,
      but I don't see them ever spending the money on the hardware necessary to control access by IP.

    • If it's not indexed yet and you're using Opera: Go to any Google page, press Ctrl + U, change any one link's href to the article's URI, click "Save Changes", click the link and off you go (with a fake Google referer. This works for any fake referer, by the way).

      Is there a Firefox plugin to be able to do that?

    • by Pharmboy (216950)

      How about Google simply allowing logged in readers to use checkboxes to hide certain outlets? Let me filter out the Fox News's and others that want only to get subscriptions, and let me view the ones who make their money off of ads.

  • or just go with the flow.
    If your papers have the value of a Vogue or economist economist, its fine.
    Making google change its practice world wide it fit in with your paper and ink world is rather silly.
    Value add, be faster and better, play a FOX game or sink.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @06:30AM (#30295412)

    "can visit one article a day.."
    great thanks

    look, either get behind a paywall and disappear or dont!, the rest of us dont really care as we will just get our news from somewhere who doesnt put up walls and doesnt want the web looking like a version of TV

    thats why i like the web, its a level playing field and because of that it pisses off big business no end

    • by Blue Stone (582566)

      The value of Google to Rupert Murdoch (for example) is that he get's page views through them (he doesn't want to admit this in the tack he's taking 'cos he's just after cold hard cash). Google aren't the only source of links for people to find news and those links also influence Google's results.

      Once a paywall goes up, people aren't generally going to bother clicking the link. Only subscribers will. In Google this is fine, the site will marked as subscription and people can make up their own mind, but these

  • the final nail in the coffin of the 'traditional' news dissemination business model. One that relied on having to purchase a physical (print) medium and that has not been able to adapt to the Internet-era. This is also a consciousness-switch of the traditional users: information wants to be free and they want it accordingly. To try to force people to actually pay for content they can have for free (regardless of what Google, Murdoch etc. do), is almost laughable in terms of failing to accept the inevitable.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I think a model some internet-only news sources are going to follow is that used by Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo. He has taken a blog, and built a political news network out of it with TPM, TPMDC, TPMuckraker and a couple other sites. It's been successful enough for them.

      I would also keep an eye on how Salon evolves. They've been at the forefront as well, but not always among the winners. Time will tell...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by addsalt (985163)

      There is a large effort needed to write quality stories...a lot of calling people, driving around interviewing, checking documents etc.pp

      Many people, myself included, won't favor paying for what is passing as news because the stuff above doesn't happen. If there are journalists and writers actually doing in-depth analysis, writing thought provoking stories, with relevant and accurate facts, people will pay for it. Right now, I see more of this is being done in magazines, not newspapers.

    • Re:This is... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by JasterBobaMereel (1102861) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @09:18AM (#30296312)

      Newspapers were once the only source of information

      Then came Radio and TV, and they because the source of in depth well researched information

      Then came the Internet, they could have a role as a known reliable source of information

      The problem is that the only role they have left is to be a reliable source of in depth news - and my experience is that they are not reliable, cover most stories in a very superficial way, do poor research (mostly from the internet, or direct from press statements) and are not very well written ....

      If they were a bit more processional then people would be willing to pay for their content, as it is people will just go elsewhere...

    • by poetmatt (793785)

      If they falter, what will happen?

      Answer: Fark.com . Sites like that, other unbiased sites that aggregate will still have ways to aggregate, and in the comments they will likely link the whole article as text.

      Basically one person will get access and give it to everyone else or something. Nobody cares to register or pay, or whatever. This is just trying to make information not free, which is asinine.

      Meanwhile, I'm actually quite skeptical that google will buckle here, and of the accuracy of the whole articl

  • by damburger (981828) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @06:42AM (#30295464)

    People used to get their news by looking for a news brand like BBC or The Times, and reading stuff that was presented under that brand. Now a lot of people look for news under topics that interest them, and skip between news brands doing so. What google is offering to do will have little effect on such news browsers, who will have a choice of several competing free links under their topic of interest. People linking to interesting stories will simply copy and paste the content they wish to discuss.

    The print industry is dead and just doesn't know it yet.

    • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot&hackish,org> on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @08:54AM (#30296152)

      This is to a large extent the result of AP and Reuters covering most stories "well enough". If AP or Reuters cover a story, thousands of papers, down to po-dunk local papers in the middle of nowhere, have sufficient coverage of the story for many people. So people rightfully don't care about the brand, because a large proportion of the content literally is the same across brands.

      Sure, the BBC, NY Times, WSJ, Economist, and a few others have original content. But in most cases, AP/Reuters cover a story well enough, so the demand for additional unique content is not nearly as high as traditional demand for a newspaper was--- when it might have been the only way for every only-sort-of-plugged-in people to get the news. Now you really have to care enough to know why you want a particular paper's extra content, and really care to be willing to pay for it.

      I'm not sure how dead the unique-content players are, though. The Economist is notably successful in selling its wares, and the WSJ hasn't been doing terribly either, despite Murdoch's whining.

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo@woCURIErld3.net minus physicist> on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @06:53AM (#30295506) Homepage

    Anything which reduces the readership of Murdoch's media is a good thing.

  • by Matrix14 (135171) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @06:53AM (#30295508)

    I'm still utterly baffled by what's going on here, and neither article seems to answer my questions. Since, in most cases, Google News only displays a snippet of the article (almost certainly fair use?) and then requires readers to click through to the actual web site of the news source to read the rest of the article, what is preventing those sites from implementing whatever access control scheme they feel like? (This should have nothing at all to do with robots.txt or ACAP which is about whether the *Google spider* can see the content, not whether users linking from Google can.) Am I missing some technical point?

    TFA says
    "Previously, each click from a user would be treated as free," Google senior business product manager Josh Cohen said in a blog post.

    So it sounds like (maybe?) the news sites have a policy that says that clickthroughs from Google don't have to be routed through their access control. Why? Is this something Google requires newspapers to do in order to do display links to them on Google News? This seems to be the best theory, but I didn't see anything anywhere that actually said that.

    So, in sum, is this a technical or a social/legal/contractual issue, and what, exactly, is it that is preventing these news sites from using their normal access control?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @07:12AM (#30295586)

      So it sounds like (maybe?) the news sites have a policy that says that clickthroughs from Google don't have to be routed through their access control. Why? Is this something Google requires newspapers to do in order to do display links to them on Google News?

      It's something Google requires any websites to do to be linked at all. If you present different information to Googlebot than to normal users and Google finds out about it, you get kicked out of the Google index. So you have to choose between:

      [a] Letting users see the story for free

      [b] Showing Google the same login screen as everyone else

      [c] Being kicked out of the Google index entirely

      It sounds like Murdoch and co have threatened to take path [b], and Google have made concessions.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        It's something Google requires any websites to do to be linked at all. If you present different information to Googlebot than to normal users and Google finds out about it, you get kicked out of the Google index. So you have to choose between:

        This is a lie. Probably 5% of the corporate-site-based results on Google display different information than the cache. Perhaps you can pay google for the right to do this, or perhaps they index certain people who are nonetheless important enough to them, but I regularly get different click-through results. Since there is no obvious way to report this to Google, it's clear that they don't really care. And since Google claims to be a good robot citizen, they would have to use humans to verify such things, bec

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Mutant321 (1112151)

        Exactly, and I think in this case it makes a lot of sense. I formerly worked for a major newspaper, and due to various complicated contracts with different entities, option [c] had to be chosen. I.e. a lot of stuff we de-listed from google (which we didn't want to do), because we couldn't be seen to be (obviously) giving content away, while others were paying dearly for it.

        This is distinctly different to the "Google should pay *us* for the privilege of listing our content", which is clearly insane.

        Note, obv

      • by radtea (464814) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @10:12AM (#30296804)

        If you present different information to Googlebot than to normal users and Google finds out about it, you get kicked out of the Google index

        False. Springer, the academic publisher, has dozens of paywalled journals that routinely return hits on Google that lead to pages that have none of the search terms and whose contents are inaccessible. Nor is there any metadata in those pages that would justify the hit, and I'm damned sure their pagerank isn't due to having many other high quality pages pointing at their requests for $29.95 for PDF download. The only way this is happening is if the GoogleBot is seeing something that ordinary users can't.

        There is some non-obvious game being played here between Google and the newspapers, and I don't know what it is, but it doesn't smell good. This is "public policy theatre" we're watching here, which plays the same role as "security theatre": it distracts people from the real issues and makes them feel like their freedom is being taken away for a reason (yeah, ok, I'll take my tinfoil hat off now...)

        • by metamatic (202216)

          Springer, the academic publisher, has dozens of paywalled journals that routinely return hits on Google that lead to pages that have none of the search terms and whose contents are inaccessible.

          So report them as spam [google.com]. What they are doing is against Google's terms of service, and if enough people report them, Google will act.

        • by MoNsTeR (4403)

          You're too quick with that "False." there. Two other obvious possibilities exist:
          1. Google hasn't found out about it.
          2. These sites have An Arrangement with Google that bends the rules.

          As dependent as my company is on Google traffic, I can assure you that Anonymous Coward's statement is broadly true. Unless you are special, if Google discovers their bot sees different content than real users you get the boot.

    • The reason it doesn't make sense is because their are multiple players operating from multiple vantage points.

      Murdoch talked up the idea of blocking google eventually, where he could easily have done such a thing immediately. There was probably a variety of strategy behind the announcement, but one element may have been to get other news sources in line with the idea. It is the sort of thing that has a high cost for the first adopter (the first guy is leaving a saturated market where people can seemless

    • IANAL but I think claiming this in the name of fair use is kind of dubious since Google is doing it with profit motive in mind.
    • The whole standfast up there is misleading. From the BBC article [bbc.co.uk]:

      This will only affect websites that currently charge for content.

      Currently some websites allow you to see articles that should be hidden behind a paywall barrier for free if you appear to come from Google. It allows them to get their pages indexed in Google and get those users to those pages even though they are hidden to everyone else. They can then try and persuade the users to sign up based on the fact that they can only see 5 pages. It works for the organisations because they have get another mar

  • by krou (1027572) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @07:00AM (#30295538)

    Easy. Google wants access to the data, and doesn't want to be shut out. Therefore, it's in their interest to implement something that appeases the Murdochs of the world. I don't quite think people understand just how much influence and clout Murdoch (and people like him) have in the world. More fundamentally, from Murdoch's point of view, if Google does it, then the changes can apply to all newspapers, including his competitors. If only Murdoch's news empire does it, then there is less chance of other newspapers following the trend. I suspect Murdoch does not want that many competitors offering free news, and actively wants to encourage the vast majority of newspapers out there to adopt a similar pay-per-view model, because that means that it's a fairly level playing field in terms of competition. So, if you get Google to do it, it encourages everyone else to follow along.

    This all reminds me of a nice little lesson from history when the thriving independent press were shut out a few hundred years ago because of spiralling costs. Advertising became the big funder of newspapers back then, and those that attracted the most funding were able to crush all competition. Independents simply couldn't compete with the rocketing costs of machinery, distribution etc. The market became a wonderful tool of censorship. I won't be surprised to see this having a similar effect ie. shutting down a lot of independents who rely on free news for commentary. Difficult to predict, but it's worth thinking about. I hope I'm wrong.

    Always knew that having an advertising company as the gatekeeper to knowledge on the internet was a bad idea.

    • by conureman (748753)

      Difficult to predict, but it's worth thinking about. I hope I'm wrong.

      Nope, this is the end. Sorry about that.

    • I dont doubt Rupert's clout or cunning and I think google are doing this as a defensive measure against that potent combination. It could be argued that Google are "stealing" content by bypassing the paywall, an unlocked door is not a licence to walk into a warehouse and take what you want, etc. Not saying that is a logical argument but I'm talking about lawyers not logic. It not going to hurt google's bottom line to defuse that argument by voulentarily gaurding the door of someone else's warehouse.

      As to
    • Clout? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Steeltoe (98226)

      People like Murdoch are dinosaurs who can't adapt to the new reality.

      Why would anyone pay to access a news site when coming from Google when there's still little to no chance you'll revisit the site again within the next half year or so. How many such sites do you have to pay, to be guaranteed access?

      So basically, this is lip service from Google, designed to break Murdochs collusion attempts, rather than have any benefits at all for newspapers. It's not really a solution at all, like micropayments or an all

  • Pay for news? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Boogaroo (604901) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @07:01AM (#30295544) Homepage

    I would pay for the newspaper from time to time. That meant $.25. Somewhat recently it was increased to $.50 and my purchase of the newspaper was greatly reduced. When they raised the price to $.75 per paper, I stopped buying.
    If they charge for online access, I guess I will just stop reading news altogether and just listen to the radio like I have been for the last two years.

  • Why not let the senile man put a stop to Google's web spider and see how long his rags last without people going to them to read the articles (and ads). If Murdoch thinks people will pay for his content, he will be "surprised" that they won't, that's why The Times became a free online newspaper in the first place, not enough were willing to pay for the content he had locked up in 6 monthly updated CD-ROM article archives (and the one week expiry of news articles before they were "archived").

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by maxume (22995)

      The Wall Street Journal is doing fine with a paywall, so it may take some convincing.

  • The concession follows claims from some media companies that the search engine is profiting from online news pages.

    Yes, it's called a positive externality [wikipedia.org]. News sites make web pages available, other web sites link to them. What's the problem? That's how the web is supposed to work.

  • ... a big corporate newspaper is like any big corporation. They will strangle any competency they might happen to have in their "IT" department with silly rules, silly procedures, and excessive busywork on pointless efforts to satisfy some big whig in an office no techie would ever be allowed to see. Make their own server smart enough to limit and restrict viewers to just specific content they want to be free? Thousands of Slashdot readers could probably implement and deploy. But it would never happen i

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by krou (1027572)

      .. a big corporate newspaper is like any big corporation.

      Was it the word corporate that gave it away? ;)

  • I think this is fine. But I suggest Google then allow me the option to remove articles that I cannot freely access.
    • Mod parent up +Insightful.

      Giving users control is a Good Thing®.

      However, since Google seems to have strayed from "Don't Be Evil", I wouldn't look for that feature anytime soon.

  • Having read the article, this seems like a reasonable plan. Not only does it push those who read lots to pay, it also leaves some pretty good options for those who want to read lots, but don't want to/can't pay. That's all you can really ask for. These people need to earn a living somehow, and I'd rather they did it writing news articles than working on a factory line.

  • by ubrgeek (679399) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @08:47AM (#30296086)
    Why is this a YRO story? In all seriousness, it's a "newspaper's rights online." They have every right to do with their content what they wish. If they suffer financially for their decisions, then it serves them right. But there's no inherent right to free access to the content they produce.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      Why is this a YRO story? In all seriousness, it's a "newspaper's rights online."

      If you own a newspsper, it is exactly your rights online.

  • Did anyone notice that the ad on /. is an anti-Obama ad, that then links to a newsmax "poll"?

    photo [googlesyndication.com]

    Well, of COURSE if you have that pic, with that message, the only people who will participate will be rabidly anti-Obama. Kind of makes for a nice poll, Newsmax, right? Of course, that *couldn't* be the purpose, now could it?

    LAME.

    • by otter42 (190544)

      Right, Mr. Get-your-government-hands-off-my-medicare moderator, pointing out that there is an amazingly biased and misleading political attack ad on /. is somehow trolling? I'll need that one explained to me. Offtopic, why not, but "troll" makes it look as if you want to disagree, but aren't brave enough to do it with words.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        From slashdot's FAQ: [slashdot.org]

        On the whole, we think the moderation system works really well, but often people disagree. Their disagreement usually stems from different expectations. They see a bunch of moderations countering each other. They see a comment moderated blatantly wrong. A 'Troll' flagged 'Off topic' (or vice versa) and feel that the system is flawed.

        Of course it is flawed! It's built upon the efforts of diverse human beings volunteering their time to help! Some humans are selfish and destructive. Others

        • by otter42 (190544)

          I'm not sure I care that much about healthcare to drag it into /. What I *do* care about, though, is intentionally misleading advertising that is designed to pollute and discourage any sort of reasonable discourse. I hope you are, too. And that was only obvious on this one story. Not any other. So putting it into a /. journal entry becomes less than apropos.

          According to the above /. definition, "troll" is completely wrong. I might give you "Flamebait" (although my intention is not to enrage others, as you s

  • What's the use? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lorien_the_first_one (1178397) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @09:08AM (#30296246)
    Ok, I've been using Google News for as long as I can remember. I can't recall *ever* seeing an ad displayed alongside news results. Now if I do a regular search, *then* I see ads. And when I get to the source article, I see ads there, too. Seems like Google is doing someone a service.

    I like Google News because I have found it to be the best resource for comparing news stories. I've even found clear cases of plagiarism and reported them to the original author after doing some tracking.

    In some circles it is acknowledged that the newspapers provide a news hole as a service. Some have even said that people who read the newspapers aren't the real consumers of the news since advertisers pay for the news and are therefore the consumers. Nearly the entire printed page (except the front page) is advertising and somewhere in the middle, is the actual news. What newspapers have found is that it's nearly impossible to get a good impression (ads on eyeballs) with a web page. Why? I can adjust the size of the type so that the ads are pushed off to the side. With a sight impairment, this is a requirement.

    There may also be an ulterior motive: they don't want us checking facts in articles across news sources. Google makes it easy for me to do that. The hits returned on a news story come from a variety of sources and allow me to compare articles for the perspectives and the facts stated. This allows me to form an opinion on a topic of news from a variety of sources instead of just one. The paywall would help to accomplish the goal of limiting my sources on a story. If I'm paying for one, I won't be paying for another and I won't be comparing sources.

    So, unless I'm searching the "web" section of Google, Google isn't going to make any money from ads. This issue is clearly missing from the debate, perhaps intentionally so. Google has been *very* clear about making this distinction and seems to be offering a free service to the news outlets on the web. As some have noted, newspapers are dead, they just don't know it yet. I take a different view. Newspapers are just waking up to being wrapped up by a (web) spider, they just don't know what to do yet.

    Any minute now they're going to figure out that their beloved paywall finished the job for the spider.

    The only question left in my mind is this: Why aren't they complaining about all the other search sites? Why just Google?
  • ...Users who click on more than five articles in a day may be routed to payment or registration pages.

    This sounds reasonable to me. A newspaper, magazine or some other media outlet is a business. As a business, they need to make revenue to survive. It costs a lot of money to pay people to go out, collect information and write the news that we are all looking for. News articles don't magically appear out of the ether. It takes someone to write that article and that person has to put food on the table and p

  • As sure as I'm sitting here, nothing will kill these annoying publishers deader than dead than google turning off access to news items on paywalled sites. NOBODY wants to pay for news and nobody wants advertising on their news sites. Get over it, already.

    Good riddance, that Murdoch. What an asswipe he was.

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