Opening Premium Content to Search

By Herb

Word is circulating around the web that Google is testing a new service that will allow websites that have “hidden” content behind a registration service made visible to searchers.

Until now, much of the best Internet content was not available through search engines because it was blocked by a registration requirement. Google’s new mechanism will allow the premium content to be indexed and made available in the natural listings. When a user clicks they will get to see the article without going through any registration, whether free or paid. In other words, they become “First Click Free”. The theory is that this will let users know about content that they weren’t aware of and incent them to sign up for access to additional content from the original provider. Yahoo has already announced a similar service called Yahoo! Search Subscription, so Google’s activity here is not really surprising.

Personally, I think this makes sense and will gain a provider a lot more potential readers/customers then they might lose because they provide one free look.