A Significant Change in Google Results

9 replies
Not long ago I commented about the new practice of google giving top search results to 'subscription only' sources like the NYTimes, etc.

I noticed this morning The Chicago Tribune had a flag that said 'payment gateway has been suspended for this article'...so i looked farther.

NYT is now displaying this message:

Log in or create an account for
free access to up-to-date information
and expert guidance on coronavirus.

No subscription required.

As much as I'd like to believe this is altruistic - my guess is these paid sites were losing visitors. Many times recently I've clicked on a top search result, saw the 'must subscribe' and clicked off and moved on to a 'free' site for news.

I did read the Chicago Tribune article and a couple others there - I will not give my info to the NYT any more than I will pay to read their stories.

Wonder if this will change how google views the 'paid only' sites when it comes to ranking in the future.
#change #google #results #significant
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  • Profile picture of the author HarrieB
    I have adblock installed, most of these sites also ask me to disable adblock in order to read the articles.
    Or just below the article, they will be begging for me to donate because quality journalism is getting hard these days...

    Interesting times ahead...
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    • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
      Originally Posted by HarrieB View Post

      ... because quality journalism is getting hard these days...
      It's certainly getting hard - to find. I don't mind subscribing to receive quality, in-depth pieces, but not for general news items. In fact I haven't bought a newspaper in years.

      There may be a difference in Google search returns outside the US - I haven't noticed too many pay wall results turning up in UK searches. But I have a number of Google Alerts set up, and they're often filled with pay-only or sign-up sites. Like Kay, I just click away from those.
      TOP TIP: To browse the forum like a Pro, select "View Classic" from the drop-down menu under your user name.

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  • Yeah I've seen some TV news sites were allowing full public access to new streaming or other premium content due to coronavirus (like FoxNewsGo would usually have a screen where you subscribe or choose your cable provider I think).

    Could be purely altruistic as the OP said.

    Could be just a PR opportunity (look how selfless we are).

    Could be seen as an opportunity to get people hooked on the content and then when the crisis ends the the paywall goes back up, those who have been enjoying it will pay to keep it - so a big influx of new subscriptions.

    Likely its a combination of all three (and a pretty clever one IMO).
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    I don't believe it's altruistic - I believe poeple are clicking away rather than pay to subscribe and they had to take down pay walls to get viewers.

    The 'sign up' for free content won't attract many people either, IMO
    Saving one dog will not change the world - but the world will change forever for that one dog.

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  • Profile picture of the author WF- Enzo
    The more they put up a paywall just so people can have access to quality news, the more people will drive away from them.
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    • Profile picture of the author agmccall
      Originally Posted by WF- Enzo View Post

      access to quality news, .
      Maybe you did not read the Post. Kay is talking about the New York Times, not quality news

      The Flu? Not worthy of a mention here???
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  • Zero traffic means zero dollars, even if you are enjoying ranking in the first position on Google.

    I'm sure just like everyone else, they are just testing what works best for business. To pay huge amounts on advertising campaigns to rank number 1 on page 1 and not get paid triple in return or atleast triple the new subscribers on their list, then that's bad business.
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  • Profile picture of the author ShawnMend
    That's because websites like the NYTimes pay Google a sh*t load of money. Google is no longer an impartial search engine. It's more like a pay-to-play link farm.
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  • Profile picture of the author WritingPrices
    Some of the news sites accuse me of blocking ads or using a private browsing mode even when I'm not. While they might not be able to survive on ad revenue alone, the biased coverage of certain businesses and political campaigns in major newspapers doesn't make me want to support these media outlets.
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