Google has plans to introduce a micro payment system aimed at helping online publishers earn additional revenue.

In a document submitted to the Newspaper Association of America in a response to a request made by the NAA to a number of companies, Google outlined its proposed payment plan.

Google Checkout Logo

In a document posted by Harvard University's Nieman Journalism Lab, the company said " Google believes that an open web benefits all users and publishers. However, 'open' need not mean free. We believe that content on the Internet can thrive supported by multiple business models - including content available only via subscription."

The company said its payment system would be an extension of Google Checkout, and would be "available to both Google and non-Google properties within the next year."

"While we believe that advertising will likely remain the main source of revenue for most news content, a paid model can serve as an important source of additional revenue," Google said.

"Google has experience not only with our e-commerce products; we have successfully built consumer products used by millions around the world," it said. "We can use this expertise to help create a successful e-commerce platform for publishers."

Key features of Google's proposed payment plan include:

  • Single sign-on capability for users to access content and manage subscriptions
  • Ability for publishers to combine subscriptions from different titles together for one price
  • Ability for publishers to create multiple payment options and easily include/exclude
  • content behind a paywall
  • Multiple tiers of access to search including 1) snippets only with "subscription" label, 2)
  • access to preview pages and 3) "first click free" access
  • Advertising systems that offer highly relevant ads for users, such as interest-based
  • advertising
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