FT.com will no longer be available for free starting some time in Q2, paidContent reports.
FT uses Google’s first-click-free program, which lets users read paywall-protected articles they find via Google News, while blocking them from clicking through to other protected articles without signing in.
This system had a major flaw — readers could repeatedly search for the headlines of paywall-protected articles and read as much content as they liked.
In December, Google announced a fix to first-click-free. Paywall sites would be allowed to limit users to five free clicks per day. Google users searching for news normally would still be able to read the articles in their search results without a bait-and-switch, but opportunists using search to get around pay walls would hit a brick wall after five articles.
Now, paidContent says FT.com is implementing the new system. This won’t affect people who end up reading the occasional article there, but from now on, dedicated FT fans will have to pay up.