"First click free" trade-offs
"After blocking Google users from reading free articles in February, the Wall Street Journal’s subscription business soared, with a fourfold increase in the rate of visitors converting into paying customers. But there was a trade-off: Traffic from Google plummeted 44 percent. [...]
The Journal decided to stop letting people read articles free from Google after discovering nearly 1 million people each month were abusing the three-article limit. They would copy and paste Journal headlines into Google and read the articles for free, then clear their cookies to reset the meter and read more, Watford said.WSJ ends Google users’ free ride, then fades in search results - The Boston Globe
The Journal now only lets Google users see a short snippet at the top of its articles, restricting the rest to its 2.2 million subscribers or people who arrive via social media. In the most recent quarter, the Journal’s digital subscribers grew about 30 percent compared with the prior year, driven partly by barring Google users from reading for free."