News providers will soon be able to limit how much free news readers get. Google is looking to bow to newspapers’ concerns that it is allowing news ‘Aggregators’ to earn advertising revenue off the back of other peoples’ work.
Readers who click on more than 5 links to news articles may be re-directed to subscription pages under the ‘First Click Free’ programme.The most ardent supporter of this approach has been Rupert Murdoch who has recently stated that he will block Google from his news sites unless some arrangement can be made. He claims that good journalism is an expensive business and that the providers should therefore get the rewards. In fact he has effectively said that he considers news aggregation as theft.
This comes as a result of economic pressure being experienced by traditional news providers due to falling advertising revenue and less hard copy being bought.
Arianna Huffington of the Huffington post, who is a fervent supporter of the aggregator model, recently gave an interview to the Telegraph and seems extremely confident that her particular method is ‘the model for moving forward’.
A move like this may come as a shock to many people who are used to surfing freely for news, picking and choosing at whim. It may also be a move that providers of other free content may wish to explore. The Web as a result may become a much less rich and rewarding place to go. This may end up not being in anyone’s best interests. The rest of the news industry will probably just watch and wait to see how the Murdoch empire fares.
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