German Publishers Go After Google; Apparently Very Confused About How The Internet Works

from the welcome-to-online dept

It looks like Germany may be a new front in clueless attacks on Google. With newspapers and magazines admitting that they're too clueless to know what to do with traffic Google sends them, officials in Germany are opening an antitrust investigation into Google based on some of the most ridiculous logic we've heard to date:
Hans-Joachim Fuhrmann, a spokesman for the German Newspaper Publishers Association, said the Web sites of all German newspapers and magazines together made 100 million euros, or $143 million, in ad revenue, while Google generated 1.2 billion euros from search advertising in Germany.

"Google says it brings us traffic, but the problem is that Google earns billions, and we earn nothing," Mr. Fuhrmann said.
Okay. Let's pick apart this apples and oranges comparison. First off, Google earns 1.2 billion euros from search advertising which has almost nothing to do with news. It comes from people searching for cameras or cribs or cars. Google News had no advertising at all for most of its existence and only introduced ads in the US less than a year ago. In other words, no, Google is not making more than newspapers and magazines when it comes to its News site in Germany.

And, even if Google was making more money (which, again, there's no evidence that this is true), that still doesn't excuse Fuhrmann's claims -- which basically amount to him admitting that Google figured out how to make money and the companies he represents did not. Yet the publishers he represents had all of the advantages in the world. They were local. Google was not. They had been around for many more years than Google. They had brand recognition and loyalty that Google did not. Furhmann is basically admitting what a colossal failure the companies he represents have been. They failed to capitalize on a huge opportunity. And now, when Google sends them traffic, they are still failing to use that traffic wisely. And then they blame Google for it? Wow.
The publishers also complained about what they saw as a lack of transparency in the way Google presents search results and news snippets in its Google News service, saying the company was manipulating the results to help maintain its strong position....

"We often feel like Web sites are elevated in Google's search results if they have a strong business relationship with Google, and we think we can prove it," Mr. Fuhrmann said.
So go ahead and prove it. First of all, Google is a private company and can rank sites however it wants. It's an opinion of what Google feels is most relevant. If Google was not doing a good job, then people would go away. So basically, at this point, Fuhrmann hasn't just admitted that the publishers he represents have failed miserably to set up even the most basic business models for adapting to the internet, he's now suggesting that Google is purposely handicapping its own site by not presenting the absolute best results!

It's difficult to see how this makes any sense at all. The publishers are claiming that Google is purposely degrading its results (and they can prove it!) and at the same time complaining that they can't compete against those degraded results. Wow.

On top of all that, the article reminds us, as we discussed last year, that these publishers have convinced German Chancellor Angela Merkel to support a new copyright law that would force aggregators to pay up just to link to stories. It's as if Germany doesn't want the internet at all.

Filed Under: business models, germany, internet, newspapers, publishers
Companies: google


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jan 2010 @ 7:37pm

    it's not germans don't want the interwebz. it imposes that germany gets used by lobbyists more and more.

    theres the gema, the gez, the vg wort, the... everyone there cries and cries and wants more money.

    the bad thing is: many ppl cry! but it won't change anything cos they vote for the same parties.

    cdu (angela merkel), fdp (guido westerwelle) is government. will do shit.

    spd (frank walter steinmier) was government with cdu. were doing shit.

    green party with spd. did shit under schroeder.

    early 80s to mid 90s cdu governed. then spd governed. now its cdu again. it won't change! only about 2% of the ppl voted for pirate party (party for data security, transparency etc. thus against lobbyism and dumb propaganda).

    it is pretty sick. and the thing is: you can't do nothing against it! 80 million ppl. guess 5% or so are kind of intelligent. rest is crying, voting bullshit, living hedonist live. not caring about politics so that fuxx that do propaganda and shid go up eeeverytime.

    you know what they say? "ok it went shit. but let's not vote other parties or try a change cos they did not tell how to not do shit. so we stick to the shit we know.".

    let me tell u one thing: the last years things got worse. working politics, social politics. it will get even worse with health politics. different courts often have total opposed jurisdiction. especially in questions of the interwebz! this makes people uncertain!

    more and more people can't tell what their true rights are in cases of it/internet/commercial. small to medium people are affected by competition laws which are fukkn open to interpretation. thus "little" people trying to expand commercially need to get to court or sign "contracts against there will to avoid contracts" (cease and desist orders, binding).

    let me say it again: it is all fukked! lobby, freedom of speech, interpretable laws, deadlocked votes, same political parties, propaganda at it's best.

    no fun!

    damn sheeps.

    ps: i thank the international press to take these lobbyheads into account and laugh at them in a way most german citizens have unlearnt cos they live there tiny lives not understanding the whole issue.

    u know what? it needed one man of the netherlands (rob savelberg) under a bunch of journalists to ask angela merkel if she was ok with a secretary of finance that was and still is under suspicion to have taken 100.000 dmark from some lobbyist. she said "i truely trust mr schäuble." savelberg said sth. like. "so... is that all? i mean...". merkel: "i have said all.".

    german journalism. hah! needed a dutchman to show the germans what fuxx there are! by the way: schäuble (secretary of finance) was last government period 2009 and back secretary of interior which propagated the computer trojan used by authorities. former secretary of family propagated internet censorship in germany and is now secretary for working and social.

    good night germany! longe live propaganda! it worked 60 years ago, and as history repeats, it will do work again! short lives the memory of the people. "give them problems so they don't fight us!" fits.

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