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Google Outlines Plans To Monetize Online Content

Announce micro payment plan

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[ Technology]

Google has plans to introduce a micro payment system aimed at helping online publishers earn additional revenue.

In a document submitted to the Newspaper Association of America in a response to a request made by the NAA to a number of companies, Google outlined its proposed payment plan.

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In a document posted by Harvard University’s Nieman Journalism Lab, the company said " Google believes that an open web benefits all users and publishers. However, ‘open’ need not mean free. We believe that content on the Internet can thrive supported by multiple business models – including content available only via subscription."

The company said its payment system would be an extension of Google Checkout, and would be "available to both Google and non-Google properties within the next year."

"While we believe that advertising will likely remain the main source of revenue for most news content, a paid model can serve as an important source of additional revenue," Google said.

"Google has experience not only with our e-commerce products; we have successfully built consumer products used by millions around the world," it said. "We can use this expertise to help create a successful e-commerce platform for publishers."

Key features of Google’s proposed payment plan include:

  • Single sign-on capability for users to access content and manage subscriptions
  • Ability for publishers to combine subscriptions from different titles together for one price
  • Ability for publishers to create multiple payment options and easily include/exclude
  • content behind a paywall
  • Multiple tiers of access to search including 1) snippets only with "subscription" label, 2)
  • access to preview pages and 3) "first click free" access
  • Advertising systems that offer highly relevant ads for users, such as interest-based
  • advertising

Google Outlines Plans To Monetize Online Content


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  • http://www.dotCOMReport.com DotCOMReport

    It will be interesting to see how this turns out.

    • Guest

      I should be surpised to see people wanting to pay just to see if a site can help them any further. Paying seven clicks just to get one that does any good. They will gladly turn to an inferior free alternative ‘just to see’. There is no NEED for this, it is just to make MORE money. Google is a long way from being ‘everybody’s friend’ becoming quickly ‘I make money just like Microsoft’. In which case microsoft becomes acceptable again. This greed could very well be the end of internet as we know it and mean a significant decrease of knowlegde spreading and communication.

      • James

        This is how a lot of things are being done these days in a big government America. (Don’t think that big business is not linked closely with big government a la GE.) You can steer content (i.e. “knowledge” and “communication”) the more you control it. Having financial control is one way to do that, such as the EPA making it so expensive to be a farmer, or they cannot get enough water, that they have to go out of business. There has been an increasing movement toward controlling online content and access. This just sets up an apparatus to nudge us in that direction, perhaps?

        …or, it could just be pure greed. Cynically, I do lack trust these days and don’t put anything past them…

  • Guest

    first click free + ip spoofing = stupid business plan.

    • Dag

      First click free doesn’t imply you don’t need to *authenticate* (presumably with your google account) first. Yes, you could have a thousand accounts, but few would bother. And google could easily sniff out such cheaters if checkout’s set up (with valid cc) on them all, lest you also had a thousand credit cards, names, and adresses.

  • Ashav

    I think google is trying to play this game at a very rong time….This is the time when microsoft is coming up with its search engine and if at this time google tries to implement its micro payment plan then it will end up loosing all its users to microsoft’s search engine.

    This is the time when google should stand firm improving upon their technology to stop microsoft’s search engine taking over the market.

  • Will Cook

    And so the rot starts……….it was only a matter of time

  • Guest

    I think for news sites this isn’t really such a bad idea. You pretty much know what you are getting if this is being published by a well known publication (think the online version of a national newspaper) and so might well be happy to pay a few cents to read the article.

    For less well known sites they might need to start of free to begin with and then implement charging later once people know they are worth it, otherwise they won’t get any visitors. But this works for the publisher and the consumer, and the barrier of entry for the publisher is still significantly lower than print media.

    All in all I think this is not such a bad thing.

  • http://entrepreneurideasclub.com Entreprenuer Ken

    This is nothing new in terms of paid content. As it looks the Internet itself is in a transition, from free to paid. Other publishers have try to implement payment on content, but with largely negative results.

    But it looks like recently more and more publishers are very interested to get a paid module running on the net, which is no surprise when looking at the current economy and lower getting sales of any hard copy (book, newspaper, magazine).

    So now google is jumping the train and try to get its share as it has had not much success up to now against paypal.

    Google expands in almost all aspects of the internet, if not already having a service, it plans one, unless it is really unimportant. Soon google can is a one stop place for all internet aspects and has linked everything. Not a good idea.

    I see this move in direct connection with the current attempt of indexing and scanning all books by google.

    I have very much mixed feelings about it all and hope that if it comes true, that other companies and the public sector will make sure google will not dominate.

    Right now you might move to paid content, but there will be a so called “free” content movement too. If it is all “free” or comes with strings attached will be seen.

  • Guest

    So, now they want all the internet in their servers and we have to pay to access it!? Talk about control!

    If you click the wrong link, you pay, if you see what you don’t want to, you pay, if you see what you need, you pay. That’s outrageous!

  • Guest

    Doesn’t this go against Google’s stance on Net Neutrality.
    From http://www.google.com/help/netneutrality.html
    Google defines it as: “net neutrality is about equal access to the Internet.” and also states “broadband carriers should not be allowed to use their market power to control activity online.”

    Isn’t that what Google is doing here? Controlling what we see by charging us for the content we wish to view?

    BTW: For those websites that use Google Checkout to obtain payment, Google gets a cut of money for each Google Checkout transaction. Here’s the payment schedule:
    https://checkout.google.com/seller/fees.html

    • Guest

      Perhaps this move will create an opportunity for another search engine. Ever watch the traffic on the road parallel to the tool road?

      • Guest

        Of course I meant toll road

    • Victor

      No it doesn’t go against their stance on Net Neutrality, because Net Neutrality “is about equal access to the *Internet*” and paying a suscription for content is about access to *Web Content*.

      Going against Net Neutrality would be if a ISP asked you to pay for accessing the website on which you’ll get the subscription.

  • guest

    If google are going to provide a mechanism whereby I can charge a very small amount for someone to read something I’ve invested time and effort in producing, I’ll sign up.

    Hope they do it in the same way as adwords/adsense so even the small guy can join in, no heavy up-front costs only the newspaper and TV companies could afford (That would be the “Microsoft way”)

    For those with long memories the BT Prestel system in UK (pre public internet) allowed publishers to do just that with pages prices starting at a fraction of a penny – and it worked OK.

    Sure everyone now expects everything for free but that model eventually leads to those with something valuable to offer not being willing to see no payment for their work leaving only those with vested interests offering biased information, looks free but you’re buying into their agenda.

    If you decide you don’t want to pay one cent to read what I wrote, fine, that’s your choice. If you think I should work for nothing then tell your employer you are happy to do the same. Otherwise you’ve got no business trying to prevent me earning a living.

    • Guest

      I’d pay you for an ARTICLE. I wouldn’t pay PER PAGE. And I’d want to see at least enough of the article to know I wanted to pay for it.

      And I’d want to be able to get to it AGAIN — WITHOUT paying the second time. Else Google had better make it possible for me to download my own personal copy. None of this Kindle BS! I pay for it, it’s MINE! I don’t say I want to resell it or copy it or distribute it. But if I BOUGHT it, I expect to keep it!!!!

      • ShiinZu

        You only pay for the RIGHT to use the content, the content will never ever be yours. You buy a DVD or game o subscribe to a MMORPG Game the EULA’s state clearly that you don’t have any ownership of the game/movie/music content; you only rent it for the time specified on the contract (when the media breaks in the case of cd’s and DVD’s or when your monthly subscription expires).

  • Steve

    This is a great alternative to showing content with a bunch of ads. Hopefully it will be easy for users to decide whether they want their content free, with a bunch of ads on the page, or micro-pay for ad-free content.

    If libraries and book stores can co-exist, then so can these monetization streams.

    What percentage of sites on the web are worth paying for, though? I would suggest very a small niche of the web will use this technology.

  • http://andresurena.blogspot.com Andres Urena

    If I’m going to buy information Why in the hell am I going to receive Ads? if you pay attention to the web content is been supported by ads, that means that ads pays to those who publish on the web, and also a few that write be cause they want to do it for free (like me) that is call SHARING KNOWLEDGE.
    If I’m going to subscribe to a news magazine or something I’m the one that supports the writers, so it doesn’t make sense that they include also ads “to support writers”.

  • Guest

    There are about 30 lines of text in this ‘article’. There are 13 ads.
    That is 2.30769 lines of information per ad. What would you pay for that?

    • Guest

      In fact, I want $2 to read that article!

      • balboos

        Consider the following:

        People pay (ridiculous) amounts to go to a movie theater.
        Whilst sitting there, they are not only bombarded with 15-20 minutes of previews, but they are now given the ‘pleasure’ of product-advertising.

        Yup – people are paying ca. US$10/seat to watch commercials.

        So – don’t underestimate stupidity. It will always come out on top.

  • Ed

    Bing, here I come.

  • http://www.deanflory.com Dean Flory

    There’s nothing new about this. Micropayments have been talked about and tried for years, the hitch has been how to make micropayments work without the overhead of e-commerce systems adding their dollar or two to the total, thus making a twenty cent article impossible.

    To those in any way talking about this swaying people over to Microsoft, I say let the idiot sheep wander off a cliff. If Microsoft actually provided working software then you might be able to claim something, but we all know better if we’ve used a Windows PC for more than 10 minutes.

    Micropayments won’t be a bad thing unless everyone jumps on board. If that happens you can expect your Internet access costs from your Internet provider to triple since they see you have enough extra cash to pay for something useless.

    To all the idiots that think this is Google charging for search or other things you’re clueless, Google Checkout has been out for some time now, this is just a step forward in allowing smaller payments without the overhead.

    If I misspelled any words in my comment like most people here, please send me money for more English classes. Rant over.

  • IanM

    This isn’t about Google charging – it’s about news sites charging and Google giving them a mechanism to do so.

    With many of the newspapers talking about putting up paywalls and/or charging Google for the privilege of driving traffic their way, Google is simply giving them the rope that they have been asking for.

    I believe that if a news site attempts to charge for news that is online elsewhere, that they will simple drive their traffic to those alternatives. Any of those news sites that don’t react fast enough to losing their traffic will then lose their ad revenues and just disappear.

  • Annoyed by popups

    What’s with the stupid “become a facebook fan” popup?

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