European News Agencies Again Demand Google, Facebook, Etc. Pay Up For Sending Them Traffic

from the definition-of-insanity dept

Because it’s worked oh so well in the past, European news agencies are (again!) calling for service providers like Google and Facebook to start paying them money for sending them business.

Nine European press agencies, including AFP, called Wednesday on internet giants to be forced to pay copyright for using news content on which they make vast profits.

The call comes as the EU is debating a directive to make Facebook, Google, Twitter and other major players pay for the millions of news articles they use or link to.

“Facebook has become the biggest media in the world,” the agencies said in a plea published in the French daily Le Monde.

“Yet neither Facebook nor Google have a newsroom… They do not have journalists in Syria risking their lives, nor a bureau in Zimbabwe investigating Mugabe’s departure, nor editors to check and verify information sent in by reporters on the ground.”

“Access to free information is supposedly one of the great victories of the internet. But it is a myth,” the agencies argued.

“At the end of the chain, informing the public costs a lot of money.”

This is a doomed idea. First off, if the demands are a pain to implement, news agencies can expect to start seeing referral traffic drop as other news sources not tied to payment demands see their search engine stock rise. If they continue to press for a cut of these companies “billions,” they can expect to be cut off completely. This isn’t hypothetical.

Second, any agency that wants to cut off the search engines supposedly bleeding them dry can always block the engines’ crawlers. But this obviously isn’t about killing off search engine hits and Facebook sharing — it’s about dipping a hand into pockets of service providers for having the audacity to expand the reach of European news agencies.

Finally, there’s nothing in it for news agencies even if they succeed in getting a snippet tax implemented. They see companies worth billions and think skimming a little off the top will put them back in the black permanently. But anyone who knows anything about ad payouts knows CPM “taxes” aren’t the road to riches. In reality, any implemented scheme would involve hundreds of news sites divvying up fractions of cents between themselves for search result impressions. Payouts might be slightly higher for more direct clicks from referrers like Facebook, but at best, new agencies should expect a few bucks a month from a link tax, rather than the thousands (or millions) they envision.

The news agencies supporting this move are complaining about declining ad revenue and think charging platforms for sending them traffic is the solution. This has been tried and it hasn’t worked, but hope springs eternal when you’re all out of innovative ideas.

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Comments on “European News Agencies Again Demand Google, Facebook, Etc. Pay Up For Sending Them Traffic”

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30 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Turn around is fair play...

Most “news agencies” like the sun, the dailymail, drudge report, fox etc are just bots grabbing sentences from different sites about existing stories and assembling them into clickbait.

This is why you’ll occasionally see the Sun (UK) and the Daily Fail spout gibberish that looks like the ravings of a Nigerian Email Prince.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Do Facebook users read the news?

I click on new articles my facebook friends post.

I’ve never understood people complaining about the content in their news feed being dumb. If you have dumb people posting dumb things, unfriend them or at least hide all content from them.

Aside from the ads interspersed, facebook is what you and your friends make it.

Peter (profile) says:

"They do not have journalists in Syria risking their lives"

Maybe not. Google, Facebook and Twitter do have a lot of users in Syria who post news stories. Which in turn get re-written into ‘professional’ news reports by ‘our resident Syria expert in Tel Aviv or Istanbul’.

Interesting idea that Google and Facebook should buy back the news that they generated in the first place.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

They won’t really notice. Google don’t directly monetise the news service, and if it becomes more of a pain than the indirect income they get is worth, they’ll ditch it completely. It’s not like they’re opposed to randomly ditching useful services for whatever reason they decide.

Google only “bends” when they have to – for example, without giving in to ContentID and other hare-brained demands, it’s quite possible that YouTube could have been shut down. They give in when it’s going to affect their core businesses by not doing so. With Google News, it’s not going to affect them all that much if they just kill it entirely.

PaulT (profile) says:

“Yet neither Facebook nor Google have a newsroom… They do not have journalists in Syria risking their lives, nor a bureau in Zimbabwe investigating Mugabe’s departure, nor editors to check and verify information sent in by reporters on the ground.”

Nor do they need most of those things for the bulk of what they do as companies. So?

“At the end of the chain, informing the public costs a lot of money.”

Yes. So, why do you object to those companies sending the public further down “the chain” where you can monetise them, rather than go to other news sources or never read the stories at all?

As usual, the basics are answered in the rant, they just don’t want to understand what they’re saying.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Google should send them the articles where other groups have tried this, Google stopped giving them traffic at all, & their numbers plunged to a point they were BEGGGING Google to link to them again. Google is perfectly willing to walk away & if you thought you were losing money before let us know how no one coming to your site works for you.

You’d think news agencies could have researched this themselves, but I think they’ve fired most researchers to pay for more ad-block-blockers.

Andy Prosper (user link) says:

Facebook was a social network for those who spoke English” and that the real problem today, for newspaper companies, is that “Google and Facebook are left with 80% of the publicity and they do not hire any journalist “. In that sense, he pointed out those who ask the government to intercede, that what you have to ask is that conditions are put “for Google and Facebook to pay for the content they use. http://www.prodigitalweb.com/google-and-facebook-should-pay-those-who-feed-them-content/

Anonymous Coward says:

If these company’s don’t want Google to link to them, it’s really EASY to create a robot.txt file can BAM, no more Google linking to anything on your site!!!!

They don’t want that of course, they want a way to make money from News story links. Google and Facebook have MONEY.

What I think Google and Facebook should do is UNLINK every one of them that are complaining right now. Just pull them, they’ll then have nothing to complain about. That way those that still want Google’s links will still be linked. Hell, they’ll see more traffic.

Because if they do create a law forcing Google and Facebook to pay everyone, Google and Facebook will just take everyone down, wither they were complaining or not. Then they get no traffic and no money.

Why play this game? Maybe have Google’s Lawyers first send them a letter that they will be taken down from Google per their wishes as Google refuses to pay them for links. Problem solved!!!!

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