Google Talks AMP and Paywalls

Chris CrumSearchNews

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Very soon, Google will begin sending search traffic to Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). This will begin on an unspecified date later this month.

To get webmasters and publishers prepared, they've been posting about how AMP's relationship to various website elements will be carried out. They've discussed ads and analytics. Now, they're talking about paywalls and subscriptions.

"One of the great challenges to designing a paywall solution is the wide range of strategies that publishers employ to control access to their content," says Ashwin Limaye, Product Manager for Accelerated Mobile Pages. "There are different identity and authentication systems and many approaches to user management and access control. In addition there are a host of different payment options, subscription product offerings, single sign-on solutions, geo restrictions, etc. With AMP, pages need to be able to load on any domain (e.g. a AMP page can load on in a secure manner while preserving user privacy. The lack of commonality in how various publishers achieve these objectives today meant that it was very hard to build a unified system within AMP for addressing all of these needs."

They've been working with publishers and have devised a set of principles to guide a solution. It includes special AMP markup for paywalled and subscription content that indicates sections that are visible to different types of users.

"When the AMP document loads, the AMP Runtime asks the Publisher for instructions on how to show the document, which the publisher typically bases on the user type," explains Limaye. "The AMP Runtime puts together the publisher instructions with the document markup to show the user exactly what the publisher intended. For instance, this could mean showing full content to a subscriber, a metering message to an anonymous user, or a snippet followed by a subscription upsell message to a user who has exhausted their metered quota. In cases where the document asks the user to log in or sign up, the user is taken to the publisher’s website to complete this process. This keeps the publisher in control of its users’ data and any related financial transactions."

The solution can be found in the documentation and examples on Github.

Check out the guiding principles as well as more comments from Google and from publishers here.

Google his hosting a series of hangouts discussing various aspects of AMP throughout the coming weeks.

Image via AMP

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.