Brazilian Newspapers Apparently Don't Want Traffic; They All Opt Out Of Google News

from the how-much-do-they-spend-on-seo? dept

We've already seen newspapers in Belgium and Germany argue that Google needs to pay them for linking to them in Google News. And we just wrote about how French newspapers were looking for the same ridiculous handout. But a bunch of Brazilian newspapers have taken the issue even further, and colluded to all pull out of Google News together (well, 90% of all newspapers in Brazil). They're demanding that Google pay them to link to them. Of course, I'm curious if any of those newspapers has ever hired an SEO expert to try to get them better search rankings...

Google, as it does, has pointed out that it sends these newspapers a ton of traffic, which you would think they'd appreciate. A Google representative pointed out how ridiculous the newspapers' stance was:
it would be absurd for a restaurant to tax a cab driver for taking tourists to eat there.
In the meantime, if I were one of the 10% of newspapers smart enough not to opt-out, I'd be going all out to try to steal that traffic from the big newspapers.

The newspapers defended their decision by arguing that Google News is "not helping us grow our digital audiences." Instead, they claim that "by providing the first few lines of our stories to Internet users, the service reduces the chances that they will look at the entire story in our web sites." I'm wondering how they determine this, because I can't see how that would possibly be true. Google notes that it sends four billion clicks to news sites each month. The newspaper guys seem to assume that without Google News people will just go straight to their newspaper sites, which is a huge assumption. It also assumes that the people looking at Google News aren't clicking through on news articles. Those both seem like very big assumptions that are likely to be entirely incorrect.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Christopher Best (profile), Oct 19th, 2012 @ 11:56am

    Rupert Murdoch tried this

     

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

  2.  
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    Ninja (profile), Oct 19th, 2012 @ 12:11pm

    O LoL and hilarity ensues.. Most seem to be mainstream and as it's pretty usual most won't be missed.

    I do think Brazil is a tad different though, newspapers still have decent revenue from printed stuff. I'd say we are where the US were 10 years ago. I'm not sure why the delay but we are moving towards the same path.

    I do think we'll see them reconsidering.

     

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  3.  
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    Tim K (profile), Oct 19th, 2012 @ 12:56pm

    Boring news?

    by providing the first few lines of our stories to Internet users, the service reduces the chances that they will look at the entire story in our web sites

    Is the news so boring that after a few lines they are don't want to read any more than the first couple lines?

     

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  4.  
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    Nom du Clavier (profile), Oct 19th, 2012 @ 12:56pm

    Newspaper: But if people read the snippet, they no longer need to read the article!
    Judge: So what you're saying is, Google copies the entire article?
    Newspaper: No, your honor, but the snippet contains enough that people might not want to read the entire story.
    Judge: So what you're saying is, you write predictable drivel and any random excerpted piece of it is enough to know the rest?
    Newspaper: Derp.

    So which is it? Either there is value in Google driving traffic and they just want to be paid for receiving free advertising, or the news sites want to hide that articles can indeed be summarised accurately by Google in 2 sentences.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Trevor, Oct 19th, 2012 @ 1:45pm

    Techdirt should tax these companies for becoming stories that it reports on

     

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

  6.  
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    sehlat (profile), Oct 19th, 2012 @ 1:48pm

    The Newspapers Need to Tax Their Readers

    After all, if somebody looks over a reader's shoulder while they're reading it in a Cafe, that reader should pay for the privilege of driving traffic to the printed edition.

     

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

  7.  
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    GMacGuffin (profile), Oct 19th, 2012 @ 1:49pm

    Re: Boring news?

    or ... maybe they need to write better lead-offs.

     

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

  8.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Oct 19th, 2012 @ 1:55pm

    How long until they realise they have little to no traffic and demand Google put them back on?

    Come on, I'm serious. I'll take bets over this. One week? Two?

     

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

  9.  
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    Coises (profile), Oct 19th, 2012 @ 2:00pm

    The problem with free samples

    Instead, they claim that "by providing the first few lines of our stories to Internet users, the service reduces the chances that they will look at the entire story in our web sites." I'm wondering how they determine this, because I can't see how that would possibly be true.
    They’re just saying that they figure the odds of an Internet user randomly happening to click on a link to their site are greater than the slim chance that anyone will click once he or she has seen a sample of what’s actually there.

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 19th, 2012 @ 2:01pm

    Partial credit

    I will give them some credit for doing something. Usually I assume the news folks know what Google is worth to them and are just lying for a cash grab. These newspapers actually believe their own drivel.

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 19th, 2012 @ 2:15pm

    Re:

    What would be the big deal about that? Isn't a great attribute of an opt-in/out situation like this is that they have opted-out but could easily opt-in at a time they choose?

    Also, if google provides an opt-out button, why is it a bad thing if it is used?

    On another note, what's with all the funny business with the trading of GOOG stock recently.

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 19th, 2012 @ 2:18pm

    I may not click through to some Brazilian newspaper on Google, but I sure as hell ain't going to go there without Google!

     

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

  13.  
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    Keii (profile), Oct 19th, 2012 @ 2:20pm

    Let them bite the hand that feeds them and see how long it takes for them to learn "NO!" Traffic.

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 19th, 2012 @ 2:22pm

    Do they also charge any blog that excerpts and links to their stories? the logic is the same if the blog carries adverts.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 19th, 2012 @ 2:34pm

    I'll never get why these papers just leave huge openings for competition to come in. Is there some sort of short gain monetary benefit I'm not seeing?

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 19th, 2012 @ 2:38pm

    Re: Re:

    It isn't a big deal that they opt out (except for how ridiculous it is to do). The bigger deal is in places like France, where they're demanding that the govt. make it mandatory that Google fork out to these publications for basically doing their linky traffic legwork for them (see link in the above article).

    In either case, I just don't get the thinking behind this supposed outrage: OMG, Google has us in news links! People might see our articles that way! Fire the torpedos...?

     

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

  17.  
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    Colin, Oct 19th, 2012 @ 2:40pm

    Re: Boring news?

    Exactly what I was gonna say. If people can tell that the article is shit from the first few lines, you might have bigger problems than Google.

     

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

  18.  
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    Simple Mind (profile), Oct 19th, 2012 @ 2:40pm

    Re: Re:

    They can opt out anytime they wish with robots.txt. They always could do that. So why is it news that they all opt out? (That is rhetorical to your stupid question, BTW.)

    They will make news by all simultaneously opting out in a news extravaganza and then quietly opt back in so it doesn't make any headlines. Same crap like when the govt puts out an economic report and then quietly revise it so no one notices.

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 19th, 2012 @ 2:41pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'm guessing its because their real goal isn't to opt out but to gain payment from Google. If their real goal is to become less visited that's just dumb.

     

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

  20.  
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    Simple Mind (profile), Oct 19th, 2012 @ 2:44pm

    Re: Re:

    Oh, and what do you think is funny about GOOG? People were betting on a big quarter and they missed. Stock behaves accordingly as expected.

     

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

  21.  
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    Nom du Clavier (profile), Oct 19th, 2012 @ 2:44pm

    Robots.txt

    There's always robots.txt and Google checks for googlebot for its generic crawler, as well as googlebot-image for its image crawler.

    A lot of grief could be avoided if they added googlebot-news to their spider code, then anything allowed for googlebot but not googlebot-news ends up in the regular index on the main Google site, but not on the Google News page.

    That way the news sites could opt out of the one without opting out of the other. It would still cost them a significant amount of traffic, I'd bet and cause them to reconsider. On the whole it would a cheap way for Google to prove the point by giving them exactly what they want.

     

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

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 19th, 2012 @ 2:45pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    So that makes it stop trading for 2.5 hours?

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 19th, 2012 @ 2:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It was yesterday... when they released earnings early...

    Here is a link to some pretty charts of the funny biz

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2012-10-18/google-quotes-resume-687

     

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

  24.  
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    Christopher Best (profile), Oct 19th, 2012 @ 2:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    They stopped trading on it because the earnings report was released in an incomplete form and without permission. At least, that's why it was stopped yesterday. I don't know of any other stoppages.

     

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

  25.  
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    Christopher Best (profile), Oct 19th, 2012 @ 2:58pm

    Re: Re:

    As others have pointed out, there already is an established opt-out method that preexisted Google: robots.txt. They can control exactly what content they want indexed or not via the well-documented, well-supported, industry-standard method.

    However, they are not asking to opt-out. They don't even want to opt out. They want Google to pay newspapers for the privilege of sending traffic to newspapers. The simple solution is to not send them traffic, preventing Google from having to pay them.

     

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

  26.  
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    Nom du Clavier (profile), Oct 19th, 2012 @ 3:04pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Oh, that much is clear. Until such time as they admit it's what they want, Google should give them what they say they want.

     

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

  27.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Oct 19th, 2012 @ 3:55pm

    Despite all their whining, the record labels, movie studios and TV networks won't take down most of their content from YouTube. Know why? Because they know that without YT they'd lose a huge portion of their audience. The larger your audience, the greater your potential for sales. Basic economics.

    In a similar fashion, without all of the traffic Google provides newspapers, the latter would lose a huge chunk of visitors. If the papers force Google to eliminate them from their search results, they'll surely regret it.

     

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

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 19th, 2012 @ 4:05pm

    Re:

    Yep. Rupert Murdoch found out the hard way.

     

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

  29.  
    identicon
    anon, Oct 19th, 2012 @ 4:09pm

    Re:

    There are a few people in the newspaper industry that will take that bet but not many that actually use the internet on a daily basis.

     

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

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 19th, 2012 @ 5:26pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Same crap like when the govt puts out an economic report and then quietly revise it so no one notices."

    Or when Romney says one thing and a day later his aides call the media and explain he "misspoke"...

     

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

  31.  
    icon
    The Groove Tiger (profile), Oct 19th, 2012 @ 5:57pm

    Re: The problem with free samples

    Or maybe users just realize from the snipped that most of these "news" are copypasta from the others, kinda like how AP works?

    I don't actually know, since I don't know how they do it in Brasil.

     

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

  32.  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Oct 19th, 2012 @ 9:20pm

    Re: The Newspapers Need to Tax Their Readers

    Even better, the newspaper publisher needs to tax itself because by publishing their newspaper, they create the ultimate sine qua non for anybody being able to read the newspaper in the first place.

     

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

  33.  
    identicon
    Digitari, Oct 19th, 2012 @ 9:34pm

    Re: Re:

    Rupert who?

     

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

  34.  
    identicon
    Digitari, Oct 19th, 2012 @ 9:36pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    My wife says that's Stewie's teddy bear

     

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

  35.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Oct 20th, 2012 @ 1:45am

    Re: Robots.txt

    But that requires them to do something other than flail about on the ground screaming how Google is stealing all of the monies they are owed.

     

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

  36.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Oct 20th, 2012 @ 1:47am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The ass responsible for Faux News.

     

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

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 20th, 2012 @ 7:21am

    glad Google are going down the road of letting them leave. i hope it doesn't let them back, or at least for free, when those newspapers realise what twats they have made of themselves. let'a face it, this is the same stance that the entertainment indyustries have taken. they dont want to do anything, pay for anything themselves to improve their digital lot or the experience for customers, expecting 'someone else' to just do it for them, for free. when that doesn't happen, they get all sulky, pay some stupid idiot of a politician to introduce a new law for them that is expected to redeem their failing business, then let customers get penalised instead. great plan, i dont think!!

     

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

  38.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Oct 20th, 2012 @ 8:40am

    Re: Re: Boring news?

    Or maybe they need to realize that people get most of their news links from RSS, Social media, and email.

     

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

  39.  
    identicon
    Marvin, Oct 20th, 2012 @ 2:22pm

    with headers like this one, they don't even need google news to keep readers away:'How Relevant Is Marissa Mayer's Maternity Leave? Not Very'
    (Businessweek RSS feed today)

     

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

  40.  
    identicon
    Gary, Oct 20th, 2012 @ 3:52pm

    Re:

    I go 2 weeks we saw this about a year ago same outcome big bad Google was penalizing them I believe it was Belgium.

     

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

  41.  
    identicon
    Gary, Oct 20th, 2012 @ 3:55pm

    Re: Re:

    What is with comments being reviewed here are we getting politically correct?

     

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

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 6:53am

    A good amount of brazilian newspapers actually choose to offer the entire issue free in the web in .pdf format. They generate more money from their adds - and a lot of those adds are actually paid by public services, so they have a steady income. And its dificult for the newspapers to deal with issues like racist or difamatory comments.

     

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

  43.  
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    Russ (profile), Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 9:38am

    Vigorish

    I think that people are taking the request at face value instead of what is really intended. The Brazilian newspapers want their vigorish. They figure that since Google makes money from GN, it would be cheaper to share the spoils than it would be to drop the newpapapers from GN.

    Of course, content owners have a realistic idea on how much Google earns from GN (not!)

     

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

  44.  
    identicon
    vastrightwing, Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 9:55am

    If a reporter comes to me

    I'll put my hand out and say, please pay me to ask questions. After all information should not be free.

     

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


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