Google To Publishers: We'll Help You Charge

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Want to do a paywall with no “first click free?” That’s fine with Google, says business product manager Josh Cohen. Want to do micropayments? Google will be “flexible” in considering support of new business models like this. But if you charge, expect less traffic, and also expect that your competitors will be “ecstatic” to pick up your loss, he said. Cohen’s comments on paywall issues were part of a wide-ranging interview I had with him about Google and its news service.

In the interview, Cohen also repeatedly stressed that publishers are free to deal with Google as they like. And if they wanted to exclude Google in favour of a competitor like Microsoft, they have that choice — though Google would prefer to work with everyone. Indeed, Google’s inclusion of many diverse sources is one reason he thinks Google might take hits from certain publishers that don’t criticise Yahoo News, which is a far more popular news service than Google News.

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