Is Google Regretting Paying Off Belgian And French Newspapers Yet? Other Newspapers Demand Their Cut

from the like-that-wasn't-predictable dept

For years now, we've talked about how various newspapers (and local governments) around the globe were arguing that Google News was somehow unfairly cheating them out of revenues (even as they sent a ton of traffic to those sites, often to visitors who wouldn't have visited the pages at all otherwise). Back in December, we saw that Google "settled" a long running dispute with Belgian newspapers, with part of it being an "agreement" to buy a bunch of advertising to effectively pay off the newspapers. Then, in February, Google did a similar deal in France, this time to the tune of $82 million. Of course, it didn't take long for people to point out that this sets an awful precedent for the internet, as these legacy publishers now believe they have a legitimate argument that sites should pay to link to them.

And, of course, newspapers in lots of other countries were paying attention. While Google has insisted that those two deals "won't be replicated" elsewhere in Europe, it appears that newspaper publishers elsewhere in Europe would like to test that claim. Media companies in Portugal are first up to the plate, demanding that Google pay up:
"Our position is that the content has to be paid for ... We showed that our focus is to be paid for Google News using our news," he said, adding that the two sides planned to continue regular meetings.

A Google spokeswoman said the company "does not comment on private meetings held by its teams".
Maybe, next time, Google should stand up for its principles on deals like this, even in the face of political pressure. Because giving in and paying up only means that pretty much every country with a struggling media business (meaning, most countries) is going to come calling before too long...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 3:57am

    This is why paying ransom is not a good idea, it only encourages more ransom demands.

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    Simon, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 4:02am

    Re:

    True. They should have taken the lethal force option.

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 4:08am

    Bah Google should have told them to fuck off because it's obvious they don't deserve fucking 82 million dollars.. If anything they should be paying Google for the extra exposure they would have never gotten in the first place.

     

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

  4.  
    icon
    Anonymous Howard (profile), Mar 28th, 2013 @ 4:18am

    Re: Re:

    In this case: cutting them out of google news, then watch as they moan for lost traffic.

     

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

  5.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Mar 28th, 2013 @ 4:29am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Sad thing is, google did do exactly that before, and the newspaper in question did have their traffic drastically decrease because of it, meaning it wasn't long before they went back, cap in hand, asking ever so nicely if they could be relisted(though only after whining like spoiled children when google gave them exactly what they said they wanted of course).

    What google should have realized is what anyone can easily see by looking at it, that being that the newspapers need google and the traffic it sends their way far more than google needs the headlines and mini-blurbs from the newspapers, meaning they should have just told the newspapers to get bent when they came demanding money.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 4:35am

    if Google thought for 1 sec that no others would be jumping on the band wagon, they must have been have a relapse! perhaps something like this happening will make Google grow a pair and start fighting, instead of letting the world and his wife walk all over it. like all other internet services, it relies on customers. no good doing that if it restricts some over others.

     

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

  7.  
    icon
    Vidiot (profile), Mar 28th, 2013 @ 4:58am

    Re:

    I believe Google has wronged me, and they must pay! But I'll take a mere tenth of what they gave the French newspapers... $8.2M will ease my pain adequately.

    Consider me now to be in the Google Payout Queue.

     

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

  8.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Mar 28th, 2013 @ 5:06am

    How the 'negotiations' /should/ have gone...

    Newspaper rep: "I'm here today to present my client's demand that you immediately begin paying them a fee for linking to their sites and using short excerpts based on the articles on said sites. As they are providing such a valuable service, which you are taking advantage of by generating ad revenue via the news services you provide that uses their articles, it is only right that you pay them for it. Failure to do so will result in a costly court case to force you to pay for yourmisuse of my client's IP"

    Google rep: "Okay."

    Newspaper rep: "Wait, you mean you... you're willing to agree to the terms, just like that?"

    Google rep: "No, I mean we will immediately remove any links or excerpts related to your client's articles from their news services. As your client's articles and sites are providing such 'valuable services', I'm sure they will have no trouble with this action, and will continue to be just as successful as they have been to date."

    Newspaper rep: "..."

    Google rep: "Of course, if you were willing to bargain a bit, say, by signing a legally binding contract agreeing that the increased traffic your client's sites and articles gain due to being listed on our news services was payment enough for our 'use' of your client's articles, then we might see clear to leaving the links to your client's sites up in the news services."

    Newspaper rep: "... Let me see the contract."

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 5:17am

    Re: How the 'negotiations' /should/ have gone...

    You're implying that most major media companies are rational. This assumption is not only provably false, but also mockworthy.

     

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

  10.  
    icon
    Anonymous Coward (profile), Mar 28th, 2013 @ 5:47am

    Living...

    ...in a hell of their own making.

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Digitari, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 6:08am

    Re:

    can't google charge the papaers for click thru's

    like clicking ads??


    Google: sure we will pay you for showing your news, but you have to pay us for the traffic it sends you

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 6:23am

    Nice business you got here.
    It would be a shame if something were to happen to it.
    We just want a piece of the action.
    We will send someone around to pick up your payment.

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 6:41am

    Re:

    Yep paying ransom money gets you nowhere.

     

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

  14. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 7:06am

    Oh, poor Google! Having to PAY for the value it uses!

     

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

  15.  
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    bob, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 7:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Actually, you're wrong. Without the headlines and the reporting, Google has nothing. Without Google, the newspapers have lower traffic, but at least they have something. And when people learn that Google has nothing, they'll migrate back to the papers.

    You're just assuming that someone will defect and sell out to Google. That still means Google has to pay SOMEONE for the content. And boy do they hate that idea.

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    bob, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 7:22am

    Re: Re: How the 'negotiations' /should/ have gone...

    Actually, you're the one that's mockworthy. Just what is Google going to fill the hole as the newspapers start dropping out? Oh sure, there will be some papers that stick around but the novelty is disappearing. The best papers are retreating behind a paywall as they slowly figure out that Google's so called "exposure" isn't worthy very much as ad rates drop to close to nil.

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    bob, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 7:25am

    Re: Re:

    And they might try that route, but it will get them nowhere. The free clicks are close to worthless and that's all the newspapers can afford to pay for them.

    Ads are worthless and they barely support sites like Facebook where the users do all of the writing. There's no way that ads can support professionally researched publications.

    So dream on. Google News is a terrible business model that's almost as broken as Google reader. I wonder how much longer it will last.

     

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

  18. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    bob, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 7:28am

    Re: Oh, poor Google! Having to PAY for the value it uses!

    Of course I agree, but don't expect anyone else around here to do anything but mock your point. In their mind, they think that everything can just be free because someone says so. A bunch of fools, if you ask me.

     

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

  19.  
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    Josef Anvil (profile), Mar 28th, 2013 @ 7:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Poor bob. You really don't get this whole interwebs thing. Let's assume that all this 'valuable' content is pulled from Google News. What will people do?

    Let's see. Will they hunt for the content that was removed or will they just move on to whatever is most convenient?

    Are there plenty of journalists offering the same 'valuable' content for free? Yup there sure are.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Pixelation, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 7:43am

    Extortion

    I suppose this will bring a new meaning to the term "Googled".

     

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

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 7:46am

    "Actually, you're wrong. Without the headlines and the reporting, Google has nothing. Without Google, the newspapers have lower traffic, but at least they have something. And when people learn that Google has nothing, they'll migrate back to the papers."
    Let's go with your hypothesis that all papers will defect away from Google. Google does not have 'nothing.' Google has many other business avenues to make money from. The papers do not. Google News is not critical to the business model of Google, but newspaper websites are pretty critical to the business model of newspapers.

    And what century are you living in that people would have to go back to newspapers for news? Welcome to the internet, enjoy your stay.

     

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

  22.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Mar 28th, 2013 @ 7:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And when people learn that Google has nothing, they'll migrate back to the papers.


    I don't think so bob. News aggregation has completely changed how I view news these days. Why would I want to go back to looking through individual sources for stories that interest me when I can go to one place and find them all?

    If Google isn't providing the aggregation for me - someone else will.

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 7:54am

    Re: Oh, poor Google! Having to PAY for the value it uses!

    Your point is irrelevant as to whether Google should pay to index a sir. In any case the big news corporations are just as agile in dodging tax.

     

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  24.  
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    jackn, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 8:13am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, and charge them to be included. That would be so funny and ironic.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    jackn, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 8:15am

    Re: Oh, poor Google! Having to PAY for the value it uses!

    a wise strategy

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    anonymouse, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 8:17am

    Re: Re: Re: How the 'negotiations' /should/ have gone...

    How difficult would it be for Google to create a news department, having a few of it's staff in different countries track down stories and write some small posts about them, simple and not very costly, maybe cause Google to have to hire a few hundred people around the world at most. Or hey could have a contract with one news entity to write all the stories and link directly to their site.
    Google has actually been very thoughtful about the whole news thing, they have not taken anything away from anyone, they have just provided links to the various news sites and let them make money from their advertising.
    As more and more newspapers put up pay walls they will see less and less traffic as people become more picky in the links they click on. I know for me i have a few links i don't click on because i know i have to register, now if i had to register and pay...nope never going to happen.

    I think i am like most people, i want to read the headlines in one place and click on what i find interesting, i don't want to have to go through multiple sites pay them and have to search for any decent content that i am interested in.

    The Google business plan is working for everyone, the problem is that nobody likes Google making money from their work, they want ever tiny little bit of income.

    Maybe Google should start charging newspapers to have them in the list of approved exaggerators for Google news sites, maybe these newspapers would feel better paying up front instead of Google just getting advertising revenue from others which they would still be allowed to do if they were charging for posting links to newspapers.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    jackn, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 8:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    yes, poor bob.

    g is in the power position here, they are just trying not to be evil.

     

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

  28.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Mar 28th, 2013 @ 9:01am

    Re: Re: Re: How the 'negotiations' /should/ have gone...

    The best papers are retreating behind a paywall as they slowly figure out that Google's so called "exposure" isn't worthy very much as ad rates drop to close to nil.

    Then why did the Belgian papers come back and ask Google to please add them back to Google News?

     

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

  29.  
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    special-interesting (profile), Mar 28th, 2013 @ 9:02am

    Its now quite funny that now google will have to pay for gossip and with such bad precedent we may have to also. It would be a watershed Internet censoring event. It would be hilarious if not for that.

    I hope google is able to cut them out of the news loop and they go out of business. Since news has traditionally always been an advertisement supported business model they need the links.

    Many times have I visited sites via reddit.com (which is that' close to becoming a news generation site itself) just because of content and I hate clicking further. A site better have good content when arriving with no (obvious) pay wall or its most likely never clicked on again even if the link looks seductive. (burned once...)

    I firmly believe in trying to maximize profits but it stops at the level of cultural exchange of ideas and concepts using new (definitely not unregulated) formats. (presently read that as talking about the news and sharing links or whatever clips over the 'back (gossip) fence' of news aggregation sites.)

    Since copyright has not just slowed down cultural growth but practically obliterated it there is no excuse for the current terms, format restrictions (DRM) or enforcement nonsense. It helps and profits no one not even the firms holding the copyrights. 95% of copyrighted stuff just vanishes one year after publishing and the rest is held hostage to ruinous monopolistic pricing schemes that have no basis in manufactured cost.

    It can be argued that there are more reason to get rid of copyright altogether than not. One of my better summarization posts: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130322/23560222425/copyright-lobby-public-has-no-place-policy-di scussions.shtml#c7504 the usual wordy but self consistent culturally based argument.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 9:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, because the only reason why anyone would want to use Google is to look for news...

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 9:13am

    Oddly enough I seem to be reminded of a saying involving the Danegeld...

     

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

  32.  
    identicon
    jackn, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 10:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: How the 'negotiations' /should/ have gone...

    The best papers are retreating behind a paywall as they slowly figure out that Google's so called "exposure" isn't worthy very much as ad rates drop to close to nil.


    And then they wonder where everyone went. They are slowly figuring out that if no one knows about you, no one comes to u and ur paywall.

     

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

  33.  
    identicon
    jack, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 10:09am

    Re:

    That the same argument the ice harvest industry used.

    no one is ever going back to the newspapers.

     

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

  34.  
    identicon
    jackn, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 10:10am

    Re: Re: Re:

    so how do you suggest newspapers fix their broken business model?

     

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

  35.  
    icon
    Lurk-a-lot (profile), Mar 28th, 2013 @ 10:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Nonsense. I get most of my news coverage from blogs and Google news. When I hit a news paywall I hit the back button and update my settings to ignore that news source. That means that they've lost me forever, along with any ad revenues they might have gained.

    So in my view, rather than google having nothing, it's the newspapers that have nothing without google.

     

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

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 10:37am

    Re: Re: Re:

    So the fact google shows me sites i've never heard of isn't a valueable service to the sites as well as me?

    geuss tv/billboard/ect advertising must have useless all those years and not worth paying for right?

     

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

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 10:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Not our problem to solve.

     

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

  38.  
    identicon
    DOlz, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 11:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And if we take away cars people will go back to riding horses,

     

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

  39.  
    identicon
    news paper, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 12:18pm

    eeeeeeeeeeee

    Blog Buys Newspaper is a popular news paper .it Cary many information.

     

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

  40.  
    identicon
    news paper, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 12:18pm

    eeeeeeeeeeee

    Blog Buys Newspaper is a popular news paper .it Cary many information.

     

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

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 1:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: How the 'negotiations' /should/ have gone...

    "Just what is Google going to fill the hole as the newspapers start dropping out?"

    Other newspapers/magazines/blogs that won't demand payment.

    Here's one for you, boy...
    Without Google, how will new readers find those papers who "dropped out"?

     

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

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2013 @ 1:27pm

    Re: Oh, poor Google! Having to PAY for the value it uses!

    And the newspapers who get free publicity from Google?
    What of them, boy?

     

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

  43.  
    icon
    Bergman (profile), Mar 28th, 2013 @ 2:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If I hear about an interesting article, I Google for it.

    If I find it and read it, and there's an interesting ad on the news page, I click that ad.

    If I don't find it on Google, I don't go wandering through random news sites hoping they have it, I check Google the next day. If Google still doesn't have it, then I might check Google again the next week. If they still don't have it, I end up not reading the article.

    And because I don't read the article, I don't see the ads on the news site page. I don't click on interesting ads. And the news site loses out on the advertising revenue I represent.

    I'm not alone in this behavior. By myself, the ad revenue I represent is negligible. But taking all the people like me as a whole, it's very significant.

    A newspaper that cuts Google out of the deal isn't going to get my business. If two competing newspapers both have an article on the topic I want to read about, and one of them embraces Google while the other has taken its ball and gone home, guess which one makes money off of me?

     

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

  44.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Mar 30th, 2013 @ 1:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: How the 'negotiations' /should/ have gone...

    Who visits websites that have paywalls?

    bob, one story you should know about is this webcomic, I forget the name cuz I never read it myself, but...

    They were behind a paywall and they weren't making any money, so, they decided to end the comic at the end of the month because they were going broke. they took down the paywalls...

    By the time the day came for them to shut down, they had broke even. So they went another month. By the end of that month, they saw more profit in one month than they had at any time before.

    Hmm...

    What was that about paywalls again?

     

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

  45.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Mar 30th, 2013 @ 1:53pm

    Re: Re: Oh, poor Google! Having to PAY for the value it uses!

    The only fool I see is you, bob.

     

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

  46.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Mar 31st, 2013 @ 12:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "And when people learn that Google has nothing, they'll migrate back to the papers."

    Bob, my very deluded friend. Who wants to carry a newspaper? The last time I bought a newspaper was for spray painting. The only reason was, it was 11 PM and the hardware store was closed.

     

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

  47.  
    identicon
    Lil' Aussie Battler, Apr 1st, 2013 @ 1:42am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Well Bob if online ads are worthless why are advertisers moving away from the legacy entertainment industries such as TV, radio and newspapers and following their audience online?
    In Australia and I'm sure in many other countries as well the legacy industries are moaning about the price of advertising dropping and affecting their profits as viewers, listeners and readers head to the internet for their fix of entertainment and the advertisers dutifully following them. After all they are just following the money, sorry, "potential customers". If their customers spent all their time in a crack whore's den, well that's where they would advertise at the expense of elsewhere.
    Commercial FTA TV has been particularly affected here with one network almost broke (Ch10), another on the ropes (Ch9), with only one still doing OK (Ch7), whilst the part government funded network with commercials (SBS) is finding adverts just aren't making money like they used to.

    Newspapers have found their classified sections have practically vanished over the past decade as people now sell their stuff online. This has removed the rich, creamy profits from the top of the milk bottle, and the rest of milk in the bottle is turning sour as advertisers expect to pay less as fewer people are reading the papers these days. After all, who wants to read yesterday's news today!
    If online ads weren't a good business decision then I wouldn't expect the publicly funded BBC world news to be bothered with them, but lo and behold their pages are full of them.

    So as you say "Dream on"

     

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

  48.  
    identicon
    francis, Feb 10th, 2014 @ 5:26pm

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Mar 28th, 2013 @ 3:57am

    French internet monthly payment users accounts use for laundering offshore ?

     

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

  49.  
    identicon
    francis, Feb 10th, 2014 @ 5:34pm

    money laundering,politics,banks,french account users eploited

    French internet monthly payment accounts users exploited by banks offshore ,with political enrichment?

     

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


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