Google is gearing up to share revenue with news publishers, in exchange for a ‘finder’s fee’ for new subscribers that their algorithms bring. The company has outlined the basics of the new plan, which will combine its vast databases of personal information with machine learning algorithms, designed to increase the subscriber-base of participating news outlets.
It was initially reported that in return for new subscribers Google would deduct a 30% finder’s fee from news organisations. However, a representative from Google has since asserted that the 30% figure is unfounded, and the company has yet to reach any conclusions on the revenue-side of the bargain. The spokesperson claimed that, regardless, the sum would be ‘very generous’ to news publishers.
Earlier this month, Google attempted to give news outlets more flexibility by removing the ‘first click free’ rule. Previously, paywall publishers would place higher in Google Searches if they made at least three of their articles free to readers.
However, if news outlets opted out, they could expect significant drops in readership – News Corp claiming the Wall Street Journal endured a 38% downturn in Google Search traffic in August as a result.
Facebook has also been busy exploring how best to monetise ‘Instant Articles’ via its platform. On Friday, multiple sources confirmed that the company has begun testing the first phase of its paywall options to publishers. The move appears so-so for outlets, as they will have to share at least 10 articles free per month, but if a reader hits their limit of free articles, they will be sent directly to the publisher’s website to subscribe – meaning that they take 100% of the transaction.