FT.com gives first click free to Google users

The Financial Times will allow users following a link from Google to access one FT.com story without affecting their quota of free stories or requiring registration.

Under the ‘First Click Free’ programme, users arriving at FT.com via links on Google and 30 other partner websites will always see the story for free, without needing either registration or subscription, regardless of how many stories they have previously viewed.

FT.com recently changed its policy from a subscription-based model to a ‘third way’approach which will allow readers to read up to 30 stories per month free and requiring only registration after the first five stories. Subscription to FT.com costs £99 or £199, depending on the level of access. for those that read more than 30 stories per month.

Any browsing beyond the initial landing page will be controlled according to this new access model.

Ien Cheng, managing editor and publisher of FT.com, commented: ‘We want FT.com to become both a more integral part of the Internet’s web of links and a fast-growing destination site in itself.

Cheng said that under the new access model, there was always a small chance that users will reach their 30-story monthly limit by following a link from an external site. Under the new scheme, partner sites guarantee that their users do not reach the free-usage quota by following their links to FT.com.

Josh Cohen, business product manager for Google News, commented: ‘We’re pleased they are using ‘First Click Free’ to ensure we can include their content in all of Google’s search results, and to ensure our users always get access to the FT stories they are looking for.”

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