Belgian Newspapers Ask To Be Banned From MSN As Well

from the take-us-down! dept

In their ongoing effort to get less traffic by making it more difficult for people to find them, a group representing French and German language newspapers in Belgian has taken their "success" in getting Google to remove them from their index to now go after Microsoft as well, sending a cease-and-desist letter concerning MSN's news search site. They claim that MSN has been far more cooperative in engaging them in discussions -- though the article also notes that MSN has started removing the Belgian publications as well. The Belgian publishers claim that all they want is a "win-win" solution, but they already had that: these news search engines drove more traffic to them which they had every opportunity to use to make money. Hopefully MSN realizes they should call the publishers' bluff, as should Yahoo and any other search engines. Then, once they're no longer findable online, we'll see how "win-win" the solution is. How hard is it for these publishers to realize that search engines give them traffic for free, and that this helps them?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    ScaredOfTheMan, Oct 16th, 2006 @ 8:14am

    I think every search engine should remove these guys from their indexs. In one show of solidarity.

    Search, crawling and robots is what makes the internet what it is. If these people think their sites are so important and their content is so special that they don't need to be indexed, well then by all means, give them want.

    Watch their traffic go from little to none.

     

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  2.  
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    Steve E, Oct 16th, 2006 @ 8:19am

    It beggers belief that in 2006 a publisher would request this. Their content is freely available on their website so why shun someone who gives you a free platform to advertise on?

    Agreed, if all engines remove them they will soon see the value in being included.

     

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  3.  
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    Richard Lemieux, Oct 16th, 2006 @ 8:22am

    How to get money from someone else traffic.

    I can build a web page that display the content of another wab page and get my page on Google. Everyone searching for the newspaper would get my link and my page with MY ADDs will have a frame showing the newpaper content.

    Is this what happened to those newpapers. Is this what they complain about?

     

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  4.  
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    Aaron, Oct 16th, 2006 @ 8:35am

    Sigh...

    I don't see the problem, they want removed - remove them... Now, when they want added back, that's a different matter...

     

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  5.  
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    dorpus, Oct 16th, 2006 @ 8:42am

    One of those countries

    Last year, Belgian government officials cancelled a meeting with Iranian delegates because the Iranians asked that beer not be served at lunch. Belgians considered this a "serious insult" to their drunken national identity.

     

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  6.  
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    Annoying Bastard, Oct 16th, 2006 @ 8:48am

    Security

    Since they want to remove formthe search indexes, I figured they may want to upgrade their workstations to these secure laptops.

    http://www.mystique.net/faq.html

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2006 @ 8:54am

    Re: How to get money from someone else traffic.

    "I can build a web page that display the content of another wab page and get my page on Google. Everyone searching for the newspaper would get my link and my page with MY ADDs will have a frame showing the newpaper content.

    Is this what happened to those newpapers. Is this what they complain about?"

    No, that would be plain old copyright violation of the mundane sort. If you read between the lines, these guys want to be paid for Google including them in the index. What they haven't figured out is they have nowhere near the power to accomplish this.

     

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  8.  
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    Drea, Oct 16th, 2006 @ 9:24am

    Uh... robots.txt?

    Do they really need to ask/sue search providers not to index them?

     

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  9.  
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    Bobloblaw, Oct 16th, 2006 @ 9:39am

    Re: One of those countries

    #5 - I actually applaud them for cancelling the meeting over beer, it's pretty funny too. But for the news indexing, that's just stupid. I agree that all the search engines should just stop indexing them so no one can find them, maybe they'll finally take off their asshats when they realize how stupid they are.

     

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  10.  
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    jsnbase, Oct 16th, 2006 @ 9:43am

    Questionable assumptions

    We all assume they're idiots for wanting to be removed, but - regardless of their reasoning - all they need is to be successful in their geographic region. It's not like those of us in Southern California were clamoring for Google-indexed Belgian newspapers. They're still on the web, and I'm sure their paper editions do well in Belgium.

    Their model may be short-sighted, but I doubt they crash and burn.

     

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  11.  
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    Daniel (profile), Oct 16th, 2006 @ 9:52am

    Yes, it's extortion

    I agree with anonymous on comment seven. They want Google et al. to pay them for the privilege of seeing their information.

    And they have just as much likelihood of success as I would if I tried a stunt like that.

     

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  12.  
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    Joe, Oct 16th, 2006 @ 10:26am

    I think this is a bit of an over simplification

    yes, Google drives traffic to the sites but the nature of the readers changes from readers coming to the home page of the site and reviewing multiple sections, articles to a more Get In/ Get Out style of reading (GIGO for Web 2.0?).

    There is no hard stats here, but if the end result for the paper is a net drop in traffic as readers go a la carte in their reading, then the site loses 'stickiness' and thus ad revenue.

    In the end, I think the business model is changing and Google's approach is correct, but if the papers feel this is cutting into their business, then the correct first response, at least in a Darwinian model, is to fight off the intrusion and then, if unsuccessful, adapt to the new conditions.

     

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  13.  
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    arrgster, Oct 16th, 2006 @ 10:42am

    Yellow pages

    Ok maybe we should talk in simple, simple, simple, people terms and explain to them that a search engine is like a large yellow pages but in this case they don't charge you to be listed. Making a search engine pay you so you can be listed is like calling yellow pages and saying, no I'm not going to pay you for your service, you have to pay me for your service. It's stupid!

     

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  14.  
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    nunya_bidness, Oct 16th, 2006 @ 10:43am

    Re: One of those countries

    Looks like drunken national identity applies to many decisions made by the Belgian government.

     

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  15.  
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    ehrichweiss, Oct 16th, 2006 @ 10:58am

    Our paper begs to differ

    I recently started doing contract web development for a local alternative newspaper and before I started the gig I told the publisher that my goal would be to INCREASE how much the search engines are aware of us. Fortunately she's an old friend and actually listens to my opinion on IT matters but it's not as if I didn't have to explain this to her in simple terms as to why we'd want Google to like us. Once I started showing her advertising numbers, she started asking what she needed to do to start her own blog(currently the paper has a section where she basically blogs weekly so this isn't that large of a step for her).

    I know I just talked in terms she could understand($$$$) but surely some of these people actually need to LISTEN to their IT people for once. If their IT people are against it, maybe they need to get rid of grandpa.

     

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  16.  
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    Ed, Oct 16th, 2006 @ 11:22am

    Beers, robots and so on!!

    #5 and #9 I totaly agree with the Belgians. It's very better a coooollllldddd beer on the table then angry missiles and weapons.

    Maybe who drinks Bud desagree, but it is absolutely understandable!!!!!

    ~ Ed

     

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  17.  
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    STJ, Oct 16th, 2006 @ 11:26am

    why not

    Why not remove them from the search engines? It's not going to hurt google or msn any, all that's going to happen is the newspapers will go down. If they come back to get put back on, then charge them up the a$$ for the removeal and readding fees.

     

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  18.  
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    Me2, Oct 16th, 2006 @ 12:13pm

    Re: Questionable assumptions

    "all they need is to be successful in their geographic region"

    That is true, but by being indexed will help them be more successful in their geographic region.

    First, many people in their geographic region probably use google and MSN. They will be more successful if people if it is easy for people in their own region to find their sites.

    Second, people from outside their region do business within their region. If I am going to travel to Belgium, for example, I am going to look for a place to stay and perhaps some restaurant reviews. If I find their paper then I see their ads. It makes their ads more valuable to the local businesses that advertise with them.

    One of the main things that is holding back technology is that companies want to have a big piece of the pie. They are just starting to realize that having a small piece of a very big pie is more profitable than having a large pice of a very small pie.

     

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  19.  
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    Who Needs 'Em, Oct 16th, 2006 @ 6:58pm

    They're French AND German?

    Hmmm ... If they're both French and German, maybe pulling the plug so that the rest of the world doesn't read their ideas is a good thing. Can we get France and Germany on board with the idea?

    This should accelerate France and Germany's worse fear -- entrenching English as the official European language of the net.

     

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  20.  
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    Luc, Oct 17th, 2006 @ 9:30am

    Re: One of those countries

    What he hell do you know about Belgium and Beer ?

     

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  21.  
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    Joe Smith, Oct 17th, 2006 @ 1:28pm

    Belgium - terra incognita

    It seems to me that the appropriate reponse for all search engines to the Belgian court ruling is to remove ALL Belgian publications and Belgian government sites (including especially any associated with the legal system) from the indexes.

     

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  22.  
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    olddoc, Oct 22nd, 2006 @ 6:26am

    re: #5

    Actually, the iranians, who are not allowed to drink alcohol because of their religion, wanted ALL alcohol removed from the lunch, effectively forbidding all western participants to drink wine (which was the beverage served). Nobody was forcing the iranians to also drink a glass of wine, nor were they shoving pork meat down their throats -- it would be just as silly to take issue with someone eating pork next to you in a restaurant as a muslim. But apparently the sheer presence of alcohol on the same table is intolerable for these Iranian muslims. So yes, the belgians told them to get lost.
    But if you wanna pick the iranians' side on this matter, go ahead.

     

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