Guardian Asks UK Gov't To Investigate Google News For Not Contributing To Journalism?

from the wrong-target dept

It had seemed like perhaps The Guardian newspaper in the UK understood how the internet worked. After all, execs there had been saying that they hoped the NYTimes would start charging, since it would just drive a lot more traffic their way. However, it seems like not everyone at The Guardian is on the same page. Similar to Feargal Sharkey's call demand that the UK government investigate Google for not giving the recording industry money, The Guardian is now asking the UK government to investigate Google over its Google News product, specifically claiming that Google gets too much benefit from its content. Of course, there's a simple solution to this: take your news off of Google News (or take it offline altogether). But The Guardian doesn't want to do that.

The reasoning is a bit convoluted, but, basically The Guardian says that since the online ad market is tough right now, it can't make enough money on the traffic that Google sends it. So stop accepting traffic from Google, right? No, it can't do that, because then competitors like the BBC would sweep up all of the traffic.

Is it just me, or does this reasoning suggest that The Guardian should be asking the government not to investigate Google News, but the BBC for representing unfair competition? The Guardian's reasoning here is a bit tortured. It seems to be saying it can't compete with other sources due to Google News... even though those other sources have the exact same issue (getting traffic from Google News). It's only real complaint is that the BBC offers its content for free online -- and (though it doesn't appear to explicitly call this out), the BBC is publicly funded and doesn't have to focus on ad revenue like The Guardian does. So why isn't the complaint against the BBC instead of Google News?

The Guardian always struck me as a pretty good paper, but the logic here is hard to understand. If it doesn't want the traffic, fine, don't take it (though, most people recognize that would be a mistake). If the problem is that it can't monetize the content effectively, then that's a business model problem for The Guardian -- not Google News. Finally, if the problem is (as it appears) competition from the BBC, then take it up with the BBC or those who fund it, but don't misplace the blame on Google News.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Weird Harold's former #5 fan, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 4:24pm

    1. Take the following and place into a file called robots.txt:

    User-agent: *
    Disallow: /


    2. Put this file in the root directory of your web server.

    3. Profit!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    robin oakley, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 4:43pm

    complaint about google news

    If you can't compete get out of the market. The new age is free and internet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 4:57pm

    not to sure on robot.txt file language, what would those lines do?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Mike, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 5:11pm

    I don't understand

    why you think the BBC is in the wrong here? Just because they're more efficient?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Paul, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 5:18pm

    Disallow access to root (and all subfolders) from all useragents (*).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 5:20pm

    The real profit would be to write a search engine that only returns the blocked sites.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Mar 31st, 2009 @ 5:22pm

    Re: I don't understand

    why you think the BBC is in the wrong here? Just because they're more efficient?


    I don't think that at all. But that appears to be what the Guardian's complaint is saying...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Joseph Young, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 5:30pm

    Compete!

    Maybe I’m odd, but I use Google News only very rarely. However, I do regularly visit a number of other sites with various mixtures of aggregation versus editorial, for example, Techdirt. Those sites match up with my areas of interest. Why doesn't The Guardian go into the news aggregation business? Techdirt is a mixture of aggregation, analysis and opinion. The Guardian has analysis and opinion. Surely they can manage aggregation as well. They’ve got microsites, such as liberty central. They should turn them into pages that the target audience will want to visit on a daily basis, as a jumping off point not just for Guardian editorial but for that of other news providers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 5:49pm

    Is the BBC funded by the govmnt?
    What about the Guardian?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    minijedimaster, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 6:00pm

    Re: Re: I don't understand

    It seems to me that it would be unfair that a for profit business has to compete with a government funded competitor. Either way, their arguement is with the UK government, not Google.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Simon, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 6:08pm

    Re:

    Tells well behaved web crawlers (such as Google's) that nothing on the web server should be indexed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    brock lesner, May 9th, 2009 @ 12:04pm

    hello buddy i read your comment it's great i learn alot of things from your comment ============================ Brock lesner ================ real estate-real estate

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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