Google to let publishers limit free website access
December 2nd, 2009 - 11:16 UTC
by Andy Sennitt.

Google says it will let publishers set a limit on the number of articles people can read for free through its search engine. The move comes as media titans bash Google for profiting from online newspages indexed by the California-based Internet giant and served at no cost topeople searching for stories, photos or other material online.

Google said publishers can join a First Click Free program that lets the Internet firm index website content but prevents Web surfers from having unrestricted access once they reach the online locales. An Internet user’s first click leads to the desired Web page, but attempts to delve deeper into a website are routed to payment or registration pages, according to Google.

“Previously, each click from a user would be treated as free,” Googles enior business product manager Josh Cohen said in a blog post. “Now, we’ve updated the program so that publishers can limit users to no more than five pages per day without registering or subscribing.”

The change announced yesterday means Google users may start seeing registration pages pop up when they click for a sixth time on any given day at websites of publishers using First Click Free, according to Mr Cohen.