I'd like to propose a new metadata standard to solve the following problems:
- In not knowing whether payment is required to view a piece of content, search engines lack an important piece of metadata that prevents them from making fully informed decisions about which content to recommend to searchers.
- In being required to comply with the rules of "First click free" laid down by search engines, publishers are forced to introduce a huge security vulnerability in their authorisation software, and find their options to design an appropriate business model severely constrained
- In not knowing that a piece of content was only visible to them as a result of a First click free rule, users unwittingly share that content with other users who then are unable to see it.
The proposal is called "Content passes". I have written up a more detailed description of it on my blog:
And created a rough first draft of a specification for the relevant META and LINK tag extensions here:
It is likely that this proposal would need to be extended through further work to cover constraints on product availability, eg that some offers are only available to students, or only those in a particular region, or only for a limited time. It's also likely that the same product when available in multiple currencies may accept different forms of payment in each currency or region. I'd like to invite this or any other critique, and find out whether this proposal has support from search engines, publishers and news aggregators.
On behalf of the FT, I can say the Financial Times supports this proposal.
* Sorry for shortlink, can't post gist link directly as it contains more than 5 links and I'm limited as a new discourse user.