Google Stops Hosting AP News

from the isn't-this-a-good-thing-for-newspapers? dept

Peter Friedman points us to the news that Google has apparently quietly stopped hosting AP content on its site. You may recall that a little over two years ago (after much back and forth), Google began hosting AP content. This was licensed content that Google had paid for — but that deal came about after the AP made some noise suggesting that Google’s linking to content (with headlines and snippets) could be infringing. Rather than stand up to that (surprisingly, since it had a strong case), Google just did a licensing deal. What amazed me, at the time (and since), is that this didn’t piss off AP members. Before this deal, Google would link directly to AP member websites who posted versions of AP stories, driving more traffic to those newspapers sites. After this deal, however, Google sent most of that traffic directly to its own site, and paid the AP directly for the license. The end result? The “members” of the AP got less traffic and fewer ad impressions. If I were an AP member I would be incredibly pissed off that the AP was directly competing with me and basically getting paid by Google to block traffic to my site.

So why has Google stopped posting new AP stories? Some think it may be Google calling the AP’s bluff. That’s because, despite having a deal that gives the AP lots of money for the right to post its content, the AP continues to make ridiculous claims that Google is somehow “stealing” its content. So, some suggest that Google pulled the content to show the AP what life is like without Google. There may be a more reasonable explanation, however. The original AP/Google deal expires towards the end of this month, and the original deal (stupidly, annoyingly, and against basic web accepted best practices) only allowed Google to host content for 30 days. After that, it disappears and people searching for that old content or following old links are simply told its gone (think of how much ad revenue the AP has lost because of that…). With the deal running out, Google knew it would then need to take down all AP content immediately, and it probably did not want to have content posted for less than 30 days — so when it hit the 30 day mark, it just stopped posting content to avoid having stories that would go up and be taken down too rapidly.

Still, it makes you wonder how AP member papers are faring — since they may now be getting more traffic from Google, because those AP stories showing up online from AP member papers will now get listed, once again, instead of just being hosted on Google itself.

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Companies: associated press, google

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Comments on “Google Stops Hosting AP News”

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28 Comments
Ima Fish (profile) says:

Google would link directly to AP member websites who posted versions of AP stories, driving more traffic to those newspapers sites

Mike, news websites do not want traffic. Every time a search engine or a news aggregator sends traffic, the publisher complains about stealing. What news websites want is revenue. They have no plan for it, but they know that if the stealing would stop, the money would start flowing.

This is the news equivalent of the music industry’s “three strikes” pipe dream. If you kick people offline, people will magically start buying music digitally encoded on plastic again.

ScaredOfTheMan says:

I use Reutors

I actively avoid all AP links and Content, the obviously don’t want people to link, which means they obviously don’t want people to click. I am big fan of giving them what they want.

Reutors on the other hand is quite happy to let people link and aggregate their content in snipits, so I oblige them too.

The Anti-Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

No, what I am saying is that Google’s business model is to “get in the middle” of a whole bunch of stuff. Actually paying for content is pretty much not the way they do business.

Google wants to “help” you find the news, and expose you to as many of their ads as they can without making you hate them on the way. If they don’t serve ads, they will still offer you up links that will get your somewhere in their system that will.

Google does well of of providing easier access to other people’s content. It’s their business model in a nutshell. It’s the reason why YouTube fits them so well.

Central Coast Rick says:

AP doesn't just report the news, they make it!

Our local newspaper prints ONLY AP whitewash stories on Climategate – even when one of the story editors was revealed in an email as instigating attacks by our heroes (Mann, Jones, et al) on a paper with the ‘wrong’ message.

The faster they go away the better chance the planet has!

Fair OR Balanced AP is NOT!

Amfarbs (profile) says:

They steal too...

Last month, they contacted my advisor for pictures of the University of Arizona’s nuclear reactor which is being decommissioned this summer. I sent them my copyrighted picture with express directions that they retain my credit. Not only did they not give me credit (and take credit for themselves), they cropped off my copyright watermark off the bottom of the image, not to mention mislabeled the caption.
See their article: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5heNUKqZg8CVRS8WjvbGZFuqABwlQD9CNP41O0
And my original photo:
http://www.amfarbs.com/Reactor/50th_Anniversary/Pages/Party.html#0

Anyone have any experience trying to get legal recourse from them!? I suspect it would be a fruitless exercise in bureaucracy.

Anony1 says:

Two things. I’m tired of the excuses. Google certainly didn’t think they had a “strong case” against infringement, originally, or at least their lawyers must have told them to play it “safe”. You simply do not, DO NOT, if you have a single brain cell in your body, pay people for things you don’t have to, if you think you have a “strong case”. Google may actually have a “strong case”, but their actions prove they didn’t think so. So at that point, the point of complete stupidity, Google deserves what it gets. That’s why I always have been underwhelmed by Google. They can’t quite decide what they want to be, but it’s OK to throw away money on dead ends right?

The second point, is that IMHO, the AP is one of the most obvious and horrible examples of an organization with biased reporters/stories on the planet. Bar none. The countless sensationalistic headlines followed by the actual truth buried in the middle of the story. Then again, most news media outlets/collectives do that, but AP is the worst offender. So good riddens to bad rubbish.
Two stupid companies (one in a better financial position admittedly) make two stupid decisions. There’s a good headline.

Anony1 says:

@nasch: That is not only BS in most cases, but even if true, that shows exactly why “Google: do no evil, except when we profit by it” is such a pathetic company. They could completely squash AP over this, yet esentially settle, by setting up the initial license. You think this will make AP back down in future cases, against less well funded “buisness partners”? Google has a responsibility. If they don’t, then the entire company is hypocritical. Do no evil my a$$…..

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