Big Publishers Want Special Treatment from Google

Hurting Google Traffic on Their Own

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Update: In an interesting turn to this story, the New York Times has eliminated 993,000 article pages as it rolls International Herald Tribune (IHT) into the NYT site. Instead of redirecting the articles to the same article on NYT, they all simply go now to one landing page.

Ryan Tate at Valleywag writes, "The Times’ longtime online chief, Martin Niesenholtz, recently whined that a Google search on the word ‘Gaza’ didn’t include any of his content on the first results page. And yet he just nuked 121,000 of his own articles containing that keyword."

Original article: Big-brand publishers don’t like being overshadowed by bloggers. What else is new?

A new AdAge article discusses a group of such publishers (including brands like the Wall Street Journal, ESPN, and the New York Times) which make up Google’s Publishing Advisory Board, which is calling for Google to rank their content higher because they’re "the original sources" of news stories. Of course we all know that while that may often be the case, it is also very often not. Somtimes even "original sources" even come from Microblogging. Remember when the news of the emergency landing on the  Hudson River broke on Twitter?

Twiiter Hudson Plane Crash

This is not a new discussion. As Steve Rubel says, when he read the article he felt like he had stepped back into 2004.

The truth of the matter is, many big brand publishers have become more blog-like and many bloggers and blog-style news sites have become big brands themselves. Rubel phrases it well, "To me, we don’t have zebras and elephants anymore. They have mated and we’re all one species."

But that’s not how some of these publishers see it. They’d rather get special treatment based on their own brand rather than putting forth the effort in search engine optimization that others would when they weren’t ranking to their satisfaction. Matt McGee (who has also joined this particular discussion) recently looked at a study showing that the Fortune 500 is still "largely invisible" in natural search results.

So where does Google stand? A recent update did supposedly cater to bigger brands anyway. "There’s absolutely value to original content," AdAge quotes a Google Spokesperson. "There’s value to derivative content, too. We look at this in many ways from the point of view of the user. But the truth is there are so many shades of gray even within, quote, original content."

The big-brand publishers are awaiting a more concrete answer from Google. The council meets again on April 30. With so much gray, that answer is probably going to be hard to reach.

Where do you stand on this subject? Talk about it with WPN readers.

Big Publishers Want Special Treatment from Google
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  • http://www.michaeltyler.co.uk Tyler

    I believe Aaron Wall did an article on this some weeks ago.

    It really marks a move away from merit based results and consumer led growth;
    the freedom of information which made the internet so popular now being given a specific rating based on it’s monetary value.

    I’m behind you guys..

    Google really reeeks and needs to be stopped or at least come with a health warning.

  • GuestNow

    This is not a big deal, I always tell all my clients, we are WEB 2.0 going on 2.01, social interaction online is never going away.

    If the NYT is not getting a top page result for GAZA then they are not providing the social networking tools they need to get that listing.

    simple as that. Let your users lead you to the top, that’s the new way!

  • Joseph

    Un real…..

    Well, I guess they can always try keyword stuffing like BMW


    If not I guess the “big wigs” will have to start working hard like we do :)

    • http://www.Nurburg.eu FaTe

      The shock horror that they cannot just throw some cash at a problem and it’ll go away, Yeah they need to do some leg work like the rest of us about time they start proving their content is actually worthy of top ranking places instead of just expecting Google to assume it is.

      Cry more?

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