Sep 10, 2009

Google sets up platform to charge for news

As Nieman Journalism Lab reported yesterday, and MarketWatch picks up today, Google plans to introduce a platform that will let newspapers charge readers for content, using either a subscription or a micropayment method.

The company said of its Google Checkout proposal:
Google believes that an open web benefits all users and publishers. However, “open” need not mean free. We believe that content on the Internet can thrive supported by multiple business models — including content available only via subscription.
Newspapers have pressured Google to help them develop a way to increase revenues to make up for steep advertising losses on the print side. Whether Google Checkout can raise the kind of profits needed to keep corporate owners flush seems questionable, but this could be a solution for small and independent news sites.

Of course, the platform will be available to all web users, not just newspapers, which could turn the free flow of content into something more like a farmer's market.

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