Stupidity

by Mike Masnick




Japanese Newspaper Says No To Google News

from the short-term-stupidity dept

Earlier this year, a technical glitch had people thinking that CMP was blocking visitors from Google News -- though that turned out not to be true. However, over in Japan, that's exactly what's happening where Yomiuri Shimbun has banned Google News from linking to them. First they're upset about "copyright issues" concerning headlines. Of course, you may recall that we discussed exactly this issue back in March, where a Japanese court ruled that you couldn't copyright headlines. However, the second issue brings back the same issue that keeps showing up, no matter how many times you think everyone understands: deep linking. The newspaper is upset that people might go directly to the news they want, as opposed to visiting the front page first. This is short-term thinking. There are a lot of news sites out there, and the ones that make it more difficult to get to what people want will lose out. Instead of driving more people to a front page, it will drive fewer people to their overall website. It's a little worrisome that a modern news agency would actually turn away one of biggest channels that could drive them traffic.

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  • identicon
    superweenies, 9 Sep 2004 @ 12:35pm

    No Subject Given

    People Are Idiots (tm).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dorpus, 9 Sep 2004 @ 12:52pm

    2ch Rabble

    The most popular source of online news in Japan is 2ch.net, a kind of People's Drudge Report, at

    http://headline.2ch.net/bbynews/

    Anybody can post a link to any news article, and anybody can comment on it without registration. It does make apparent the problems of a completely free system -- the site is overrun by ultra-racists and "2-getters", people who are proud of posting empty replies immediately following the article.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Tony Gentile, 9 Sep 2004 @ 2:20pm

      Another perspective, perhaps?

      Techdirt:Japanese Newspaper Says No To Google News

      Techdirt's got a post, "from the short-term-stupidity dept.", about a Japanese newspaper publishing co blocking Google from displaying their content in Google News (i.e., not allowing deep linking). Mike goes on to say:

      :The newspaper is upset that people might go directly to the news they want, as opposed to visiting the front page first. This is short-term thinking. There are a lot of news sites out there, and the ones that make it more difficult to get to what people want will lose out. Instead of driving more people to a front page, it will drive fewer people to their overall website. It's a little worrisome that a modern news agency would actually turn away one of biggest channels that could drive them traffic.:

      And, Mike might be right. He might also, however, not see the implications from a newspaper perspective.

      Imagine that you'd built and run a company for 50, 100 or even 150 years. You've worked hard to become a trusted source of local news and information. You've sustained operations (and even earned a profit) by selling advertising. Life is good.

      'Suddenly' (from the perspective of a 150 yr old company), your customer's needs start changing. They want to read your content online; they want your content on-demand, rather than at the start of every morning. You spend the time and money to build an online service to satisfy those customers, and maintain and enhance the brand you've built up. You also optimize your site, based on a usage flow that pre-dates search, to try to extract revenue; barely enough to run the online operation, and certainly not enough to pay for the cost of acquiring the content

      Then, someone decides to aggregate your content, and that of thousands of your competitors, without your permission. Worse yet, this aggregator has a global brand, and is used by several orders of magnitude more users than use your online site or read your daily print.

      GREAT you think! I'll get access to SO MANY MORE USERS. But then you realize... most of those user's aren't local; they don't care about me or my brand, they just want to consume my expensive-to-produce content. And, shoot, even worse, they don't have the decency to surf through my home page or really investigate my nav to look at the advertising or click-through the other services that we use to monetize traffic; again, they just want free access to my content.

      So how valuable are these users to my business? And do I really want to shoulder the expense of serving them?

      Media Co's, in particular, newspapers must change their business model (and certainly their site design) if they are to extract value from users who see them as commodity providers, vs. a trusted & valued source of local news and information. But how to accomplish that... is not entirely obvious. Whatever it is though, it had definitely work in the long term, or many of other News Co's will wither if not die.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Mike (profile), 9 Sep 2004 @ 2:44pm

        Re: Another perspective, perhaps?

        That's a very short-term perspective. People are realizing that content is no longer local. Cutting themselves off from a channel for new visitors will harm them in the long term. People are learning to look for multiple versions of a story, and taking themselves out of the "being found" process guarantees they won't be.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Tony Gentile, 9 Sep 2004 @ 3:19pm

          Re: Another perspective, perhaps?

          :That's a very short-term perspective. People are realizing that content is no longer local. Cutting themselves off from a channel for new visitors will harm them in the long term. People are learning to look for multiple versions of a story, and taking themselves out of the "being found" process guarantees they won't be.:

          Losing access to a large flow of *valuable* customers would indeed be a bad thing, and clearly short sighted.

          But local online newspaper sites are still in their infancy in winning National ad sales deals, and then only generally by forming syndicates (witness Knight Ridder Digital's "Real Cities Network"), or by doing enough acqusitions such that they have a national footprint in aggregate.

          In other words, the business model doesn't match the change in user needs, ala The Profit Zone (Slywotzky, 1998 & 2002).

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2004 @ 1:43am

      Re: 2ch Rabble

      people who are proud of posting empty replies immediately following the article.

      Like your content-free or off topic posts here on Techdirt?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dorpus, 9 Sep 2004 @ 3:23pm

    The Secret Weapon

    Yomiuri will have a weapon of last resort up its sleeve, called yakuza. Gangsters will make bad things happen to Google Japan, hook some high-level employee with a beautiful woman and blackmail him. I doubt the young nerds at Google will know what hit them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Clouser, 10 Sep 2004 @ 12:50am

      Re: The Secret Weapon

      The easy solution to all this is that online newspapers should sell advertising space on each and every news story page. Then they can realize revenue from deep linkers from Google.


      You can't stop deep linking and its really stupid to do it. That's the bottom line.

      If they block Google, in the long run, they will lose. Some other newspaper will get the traffic and earn revenue from it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DV Henkel-Wallace, 10 Sep 2004 @ 10:54am

    Not just "short-term" but completely wrong-headed

    We still see this kind of thinking a lot on web sites, and outside. The seller of a product wants to control how it is used (I always love that message on a package: "It is a federal offense to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling."

    Many people suffer from this control-freak delusion. The RIAA wants to control how you listen to your music. The MPAA tries to shut down fan fiction. Car companies tried to ban third-party accessories. Web site authors think that it's somehow good to have a splash page (or a Flash splash page which is worse!). They use HTML as a layout language, not a markup language and tell you what browser you have to use.

    These newspaper guys have the same problem. Many people pick up the newspaper and flip straight to the comics (or sports) -- they don't read linearly, reading 100% of every article in the order provided. This so-called "deep linking" is no different.

    Tony Gentile does make a good point: that many WWW readers may not be in the target demographic, so that the newspaper wastes bandwidth serving them an article and ad that is not relevant to them. But fortunately the web can help here, by serving ads more relevant to the reader -- including the far-away reader the newspaper couldn't normally reach!

    People with this newspaper's kind of command-and-control attitude appear to be on the rise, but I think their ultimate demise is inexorable.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Stephen Larson, 8 Oct 2004 @ 2:34pm

    Japanese Newspaper Says No To Google News

    I couldn't agree more with the point that not allowing deep linking from search engines is short term thinking. What better way to introduce your newspaper then to present a story that they are looking for. 25% of the visitors to our newspaper sites come from search engines and google supplies the largest amount. Even if someone looks at only the one story, the Google AdSense ads we have on them produce revenue.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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