Editorial: Subscribe With Google / The Google News Initiative


Media publishers have a problem. Their Ad revenue isn't what it used to be. Print media is dying a slow torturous death while Google and Facebook are sucking up all the oxygen in the online Ad revenue room. Publications that depend on advertising are struggling. That's why many are gravitating toward a subscriber model hoping to offset the loss of Ad revenue.

So here comes Google to the rescue. Bless their hearts, they're rushing in to help "solve" the problem (that Google created). Recently they announced Subscribe with Google (aka Google Subscribe). Here's how they explain it in their one minute video intro...

Frankly, the promo video says everything they want the public to know. Beyond that it's noteworthy to point out that subscribers who are also signed into Google will find articles from their subscribed publications appearing higher in their personalized search results. This is an obvious benefit to Google's media partners. It's intended to help them find and retain paying readers by giving their content an unfair advantage within the organic search results pages for their subscriber base.

Google is also developing a signal they call Propensity to Subscribe. Using their machine learning technology combined with their DoubleClick for Publishers Ad delivery system, they plan to algorithmically find and solicit prospects who are most likely to purchase subscriptions in order to "help" their partner media outlets succeed.

Somewhere deep in the recesses of Google's marketing and strategy department we envision a hypothetical conversation that went something like this...

Google marketer: We have a problem. People are reading news outside our site and we don't know who they are or what they are reading.

Google strategist: Well, let's suck up all of the Ad revenue and force news sites to adopt a subscription model. Then, when people find out how awkward that is to maintain a bunch of unique passwords and card payment info with a basket of media...

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