Slippery Slope: Is Google Now Paying More Newspapers To Link To Them?

from the just-cut-them-off dept

We were surprised last month to hear that Google had backed down in its dispute with news agency AFP, agreeing to pay up in order to link to AFP articles in Google News. As has been explained repeatedly, Google is increasing traffic and attention to their sites. That is, Google is doing them a huge favor (and considering how much search engine optimizers cost these days, it's saving them a lot of money too). If those newspapers are too braindead to figure out how to monetize that traffic, well, that's their problem. If they really want to punch the gift horse in the mouth, all they have to do is use a robots.txt file. Instead, however, after troubles in Belgium, Google started backing down... and that's resulted in a slippery slope. Suddenly, everyone wants their cut. That's why you hear all these stories from newspaper publishers whining about how Google is somehow "stealing" from them. They all know it's a negotiating tactic, and that Google has started to cave. With news leaking out that Google has now paid off a bunch of British newspapers as well, the pressure is only going to get stronger. Of course, the really sinister explanation that some are suggesting for this is that Google knows that it can afford to pay off these newspapers -- while not many other sites can. So, effectively, Google may be paying off these newspapers not because of real legal threats, but because it knows that the legal threats will be pointed instead to other competitive services who are less able to weather such legal challenges. This, apparently, is also the same deal that Google set up with music labels when it decided to buy YouTube. If true, this seems like a strategy that will come back to bite Google in the long term. Having to pay for permission to do things that are perfectly legal already is a dangerous precedent to set -- and it's one that Google will likely regret. Update: Google is denying this story.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    GoblinJuice, 21 May 2007 @ 6:38am

    Where's my cut?

    Google has indexed some of my stuff, so where's my cut? I want my check. NOW.

    Life Lesson: If you give a bully your lunch money once, you'll never have lunch money again.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord

The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...

Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.