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.