Posted June 18, 2010 10:29 am by with 5 comments

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Google is a pretty smart company wouldn’t you agree? They have been able to ‘make markets’ in a sense because there is now a lot of money being made where just 15 years ago there was no industry to even make it in. One could probably argue (although here is no the place) that without the industry of the Internet of which Google is a cornerstone the world economy could be even worse off than it is now (that’s a scary thought , huh?).

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 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!

  • I hope I can still have free access from Google. I will need it for many things not just for my business. Google and other websites can get money from the advertising.

  • Reading this post was very interesting. Found your blog on Google while looking for some technology information. I am tech lover and love to read your blog.

  • Williams

    I have a love/hate relationship with Google. (*sigh*). They are such a pain that I don’t know where to begin, they are always trying to make money somehow. They are doing this because their infamous Google Adwords is not making the money they want it to make, also, their new affiliate network, is not doing too well either. People are waking up and creating/advertising their own goods over the internet. Google is just trying to cash in on the content mill business, since Associated Content (which i heard was operated by Google) has done so well. I wonder how much publishers will be paid for their content. can they set their own prices? and it won’t be too long before their paid for content program gets overly saturated where publishers won’t make money at all or no one will purchase their content. Writers, you will make MORE money if you would just advertise your own writing business. I make $20 an article and $50-$150 per artilce for specialized niches. People, don’t sell yourself short.

  • The worry from paid content is the huge restriction. If I had to pay even £1 per month for each website I view regularly I’d need to get a second job!

  • Guest

    I hope these paid news articles will be listed in a separate section of the search results, similar to the way AdWords ads are listed. When I use Google to find something, I don’t want to have to pay for content located in the main SERP’s. I’ll bet Bing is salivating at the news of “Newspass” because people are not going to use Google if they think that any significant portion of the SERP’s for any particular category reside behind a paywall.