Could Newspaper Owners Really Be This Clueless?
from the they-don't-deserve-to-be-in-business dept
Just as stories are hitting the press about slow-to-innovate newspapers finally embracing the internet comes the news that a bunch of newspapers are quite upset that Google drives more traffic to their websites. This isn’t a first. Last year, AFP sued Google over the same issue — and Google yanked AFP stories out of their news index. This meant that newspapers that carried AFP stories lost out on a lot of valuable traffic. So, why are more newspapers trying to go down the same path? It would appear that like book publishers and telcos, they’re all jealous of Google’s ability to make money. The quotes from all three are almost identical. This latest one, from the newspapers is: “They’re building a new medium on the backs of our industry, without paying for any of the content.” But, that’s wrong. What Google is doing is making that content more valuable by making it easier to find. If the newspapers want to opt-out, that’s fine — but it ends up hurting them. This is all about jealousy that Google has figured out a way to make a lot of money by making their content more useful. That doesn’t take away from their content, but actually helps them — which is why the anger towards Google is so ridiculous. Maybe Google should just call their bluff, and take them out of the index. The main problem here is that it appears most newspapers don’t know what business they’re in — and that’s leading to very confused (and sometimes backwards) strategies. Chris Tolles, over at Topix.net, drives home the point forcefully by pointing out that newspapers don’t recognize what business they’re in: “The newspaper of the future needs to fight for audience ?- fight for its life, before someone comes and takes it from them.” Dropping out of any aggregator service is a giant leap backwards. Any news provider moving in that direction isn’t trying to be a newspaper of the future… but one of the past. Update: A good point was made in the comments that I had totally forgotten about. This is even more ridiculous, because Google still hasn’t monetized Google News. In other words, they’re not making any money directly off of this, and yet the newspapers are still upset. That doesn’t apply to other news aggregators who do use ads, but since Google News seems to be the main target, it just emphasizes how ridiculous the newspaper publishers’ position really is.