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?


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Comments on “Belgian Newspapers Ask To Be Banned From MSN As Well”

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22 Comments
ScaredOfTheMan says:

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.

Richard Lemieux says:

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?

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Bobloblaw says:

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.

jsnbase (user link) says:

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.

Me2 says:

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.

Joe says:

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.

arrgster says:

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!

ehrichweiss says:

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.

Who Needs 'Em says:

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.

olddoc says:

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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