Google has announced the end of First Click Free, replacing it with a Flexible Sampling model. With this model, publishers will be able to decide about the number of free articles they want to provide to potential subscribers, after considering their business strategy. This decision has been taken after experimenting with the New York Times and Financial Times. Both publications have successful subscription services.

Kinsey Wilson from New York Times said, “Google’s decision to let publishers determine how much content readers can sample from search is a positive development,”. He further added, “We’re encouraged as well by Google’s willingness to consider other ways of supporting subscription business models and we are looking forward to continuing to work with them to craft smart solutions.”

Google suggests the following models to sampling:

  • Monthly, rather than daily, metering allows publishers more flexibility to experiment with the number of free stories to offer people and to target those more likely to subscribe.
  • For most publishers, 10 articles per month is a good starting point.
  • Please see our Webmaster blog and our guide on Flexible Sampling for more detail on these approaches.

Subscribing to quality content should be easy and simple. “As a first step we’re taking advantage of our existing identity and payment technologies to help people subscribe on a publication’s website with a single click, and then seamlessly access that content anywhere – whether it’s on that publisher site or mobile app, or on Google Newsstand, Google Search or Google News.”

Google is collaborating with publishers across the globe on building the subscription mechanism.


Ritu from PageTraffic is a qualified Google Ads Professional and Content Head at PageTraffic. She has been the spear head for many successful Search Marketing Campaigns and currently oversees Content Marketing operations of PageTraffic in India.