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Google ends policy allowing access to paywall content

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Staff Writer | October 2, 2017
Google has ended its First-Click-Free policy that allowed readers to access some news content hidden behind a paywall.
Google paywall
Media   First-Click-Free
The former policy required publishers to allow for three articles per day for free to Google search users. Under that policy, users could see a paywall article at no cost but would ultimately be prompted to log-in or subscribe if they clicked anywhere else on the page.

Google said First-Click-Free will be replaced with Flexible Sampling.

"Publishers will determine their own optimal rate of sampling based on their ongoing experience using free samples to attract new users and using the paywall to elicit user registration or subscription," the company said.

Also under the old policy, subscriber-based services that did not abide by the FCF policy were demoted in the search results. That will not be the case going forward, Google said.