In a broad sense the Internet is predicated on content. That content has been free but is increasingly moving toward a paid model whether end users like it or not. Now, back to Google being smart. If there is truly a movement toward paid content being more the norm than just a theory, do you think Google would be trying to profit from it? Of course, otherwise you might think they were slipping.
It looks like Italy may be a proving ground of sorts for this new approach paidContent.org reports:
Google, which had hinted for nearly a year now that it was working on building some sort of paid content system for publishers, is reportedly set to launch such a system by year-end. According to a report in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Google is now reaching out to publishers to get them to sign up for the system, which it is calling Newspass.
Of course, Google is just maximizing what it already has with Google Checkout as is shown in this explanation of just how a system like this would work
La Repubblica says that, with Newspass, people will be able to log-in to the sites of participating news publishers using a single login. Publishers will be able to designate what type of payment they want to accept, including subscriptions and micropayments. People who find content from participating publishers in Google search will see a paywall icon next to that content and be able to purchase access directly from there using Checkout.
Nice system! It’s like a new form of paid search for Google but with the Google checkout fee being the click that is being paid for. It is interesting that Google may be using Italy as the place to give this a chance considering that they have had some considerable issues with Italian publishers and that whole “we’re going to arrest your executives” thingy.
So pay-for-content systems are going to be a reality. In fact, isn’t it about time that we heard from Rupert Murdoch who is due to make good on his threat of a band of publishing brothers getting into the paid content game?
We know that people like to react to this concept by yelling “IT WON’T WORK!” but if you step back and think about it for a second do you think there is a place for this kind of approach to content online? Is the alternative a nation of bloggers that Steve Jobs fears? What would ‘news’ look like then?
Let’s hear your thoughts before you head out for the weekend. Have a good one!