Making the Google News Loophole a Noose

December 5, 2009

This week Google announced a plan to prevent unlimited access to newspapers like the Wall Street Journal‘s complete content. Normally, non-subscribers would have limited access to the complete text of articles on these newspapers. However, using Google News and typing in the headline or the topic and source:Wall Street Journal, you could easily and reliably get access to the complete content.

The Wall Street Journal is getting the most attention in this matter as their owner, Rupert Murdoch, had previously threatened to remove all of their content from Google‘s search engine and go over to Microsoft’s upstart competitor Bing. (It’s kind of funny to consider Microsoft an upstart at anything nowadays, but so be it.) That didn’t materialize, at least not yet, but it is something Murdoch will continue to hold in his back pocket.

The new program Google has started is called the program First Click Free. Reports say that you’ll be able to use the loophole I’ve just described five time a day and then you’ll be treated as the non-subscriber that you are. I mention the reports because I don’t see the clearly described in Google’s blog entry on the subject.

Now, what is a Techeap user to do? There are a couple of options. The first and most obvious to me is to simply switch search engines. Google News is certainly not the only news aggregator that can use this technique. Bing has its own news aggregator and there are many others. If you are a technically savvy user, you could change your referer and tell the browser that you are coming from another site.

However, the problem for the Wall Street Journal and any other paper continues. Previously, I’ve talked about the problems that newspapers face, and those issues are still out there. The business model for online news has simply not been perfected and until that happens content creators are tasked with the difficult job of making more with less.

Do you have any ideas for fixing these problems? Let me know in the comments…or fix them and make a lot of money. 🙂