Germany's Top Publisher Admits Its Web Traffic Plummeted Without Google; Wants Politicians To 'Take Action'
from the careful-what-you-wish-for dept
A couple of weeks ago, we wrote about the decision by German publishers to grant Google a “free license” to post snippets — a humiliating climbdown from their earlier position that Google should pay for the privilege of sending them traffic. Now Germany’s leading publisher, Springer, has admitted in a Reuters article that stopping Google from using snippets for a while was catastrophic for its titles:
Springer said a two-week-old experiment to restrict access by Google to its news headlines had caused web traffic to its publications to plunge, leading it to row back and let Google once again showcase Springer news stories in its search results.
Chief Executive Mathias Doepfner said on Wednesday that his company would have “shot ourselves out of the market” if it had continued with its demands for the U.S. firm to pay licensing fees.
The Reuters article provides some interesting figures quantifying the power of Google in Germany:
Springer said traffic flowing from clicks on Google search results had fallen by 40 percent and traffic delivered via Google News had plummeted by 80 percent in the past two weeks.
In the same piece, a Google spokesperson provided some other numbers:
He said Google delivers more than half a billion clicks to German news sites per month. The search company has paid more than one billion euros in online advertising fees to German media publishers in the last three years, the spokesman said.
Doepfner said his company’s climbdown was
proof of Google’s overwhelming power in the search market. He said he hoped lawmakers, courts and competition regulators would take action to curb its powers.
As we wrote recently, there’s a risk he may well get his wish, especially in the light of these newly-released figures demonstrating Google’s huge power in driving traffic to sites. Given the complete failure of attempts to “curb” Google’s powers in Germany, It’s hard to see how that will turn out well Europe-wide.