Newspapers Still Fail To Recognize That More Traffic Is A Good Thing
from the life-was-so-much-easier-before-this-internet-thing dept
Google News has done a great service to online news readers by making it easy to find stories from a vast network of sources -- many of which people would never otherwise visit. It's hard to see exactly how a site that sends new readers to newspapers' web sites, and makes their content more valuable, could be a bad thing, but plenty of newspapers don't see it that way. This isn't the first time the papers have made a stink about it, and the AFP newswire even went so far as to get itself removed from Google News, cutting off a bunch of traffic -- and pissing off its customers. The problem, really, seems that Google isn't paying the papers anything -- even though they're not monetizing Google News (hey, unreasonable demands for revenue-sharing from Google -- that sounds familiar). An exec from one paper in France says: "I don't say that Google News has to die, but we prefer to have a contract with services like Lexis Nexis to give us money and audience. Google News just gives us audience." So Google serves them up readers on a plate, readers to whom they can show ads or monetize however they want -- just like readers that visit the site directly -- yet Google should pay for the privilege? The fundamental difference, of course, being that Lexis-Nexis is a subscription service that charges users -- Google News doesn't. With newspapers struggling to compete in the changing digital world, you'd expect them to be grateful for any and every reader they could get, but it seems like the Google name creates this giant expectation that it should pay for anything and everything it touches, even if it's making other people's content more valuable and more readily monetizable. Perhaps Google should just yank the complaining sites from its index, since its wide reach means that it could likely serve up plenty of competent replacements. It's pretty obvious that the newspapers have far more at stake here than Google.