Friday, July 2, 2010

Newspass: Why Google’s paywall plans may just work

by Matthew Buckland

Google has been quietly testing a new paywall system for publishers it is calling “Newspass”. According to Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Google has been piloting the service with publishers in Italy.

The search giant will apparently launch “an integrated payment system” allowing users to buy news content with just “one click”. Newspass would allow publishers to use a single infrastructure for Web, mobile and tablet computers to monetise their content.
Importantly, La Repubblica reports that consumers will have a single log-in across a multitude of news sites that would be flexible enough to accommodate various kinds of payments, including long-term subscriptions and one-time micropayments. It would be a one-click payment for access, not too dissimilar from Google Checkout.

Paywalling systems on news sites have been controversial for a better part of a decade. There is justified scepticism about whether they work or not. A handful of publications around the world, largely in the specialist finance field, have got it more-or-less right, but for the most part, paywalls have not been a success. [...]

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