The Times is to allow search engines to preview the first two lines of its articles from its website for the first time since implementing a paywall in July 2010.
It means potential new readers will be able to “try before they buy”, getting a snippet of a feature or news piece before being required to shell out on the subscription fee, whereas previously they could read only the headline.
The unblocking of search engines to enable the content to be previewed will take place in the next two weeks, with Rupert Murdoch’s News International hoping the move will entice more subscribers.
Before The Times paywall was put in place, editor James Harding said “about 30 to 40 per cent of our traffic comes from search”. Re-enabling this function will not only potentially bring new traffic to the site, it will also increase page views – a crucial currency when selling space to advertisers.
While this latest decision will give non-subscribers a peek at what’s behind the wall, it’s unlikely to be the first step in seeing it pulled down altogether.