Google Continues To Battle Publishers Who Want To Be Paid For Links

    October 19, 2012
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

Google prepared a note about a proposal by French lawmakers and backed by French news publsihers, which want search engines to license all of their content. Publishers want to be paid for the privilege of linking to their content. Obviously, this doesn’t sit well with Google, and the company has threatened to stop linking to such sites.

Of course, the note is in French, but Google has provided it in its entirety here. On the company’s European policy blog, Google’s Director of Public Policy in France, Oliver Esper, says, “The web has led to an explosion of content creation, by both professional and citizen journalists. So it’s not a secret that we think a law like the one proposed in France and Germany would be very damaging to the internet. We have said so publicly for three years.”

“In order to shed light on the reasons that lead us to believe that this law is detrimental to French users, innovation on the Internet and ultimately to the news publishers themselves, we decided to post the note in its entirety,” he says. “We have always been and remain committed to collaborate with French Publishers associations as they experiment and develop sustainable economic models on the Internet.”

Regarding Germany, we discussed the proposed law in that country and the larger ramifications of such a law here. Of course, Google has battled similar criticism and threats from publishers here in the U.S. and abroad.

AFP reports: “France’s new Socialist government, which is open to helping struggling media companies, warned Google that it should not threaten democratic governments.”

Google is also having some issues with publishers in Brazil. There, publishers have gone so far as to pull out of Google News altogether. It will be interesting to see how long that lasts.

The Knight Center for Journalism In The Americas (via PaidContent) reports that all of the 154 newspapers that belong to the National Association of Newspapers in Brazil (ANJ), accounting for a whopping 90% of Brazil’s newspaper circulation, have left Google News.

Google didn’t budge on publisher requests to be paid, so now, Google apparently has a lot less Brazilian news sources in its system. Of course, that doesn’t mean that Google users will necessarily have a hard time finding the content, as pulling out of Google News hardly keeps your content from being crawled by Google. In fact, Google’s regular web results often come from news publishers, and with Google’s increased emphasis on freshness in recent months, there’s a good chance that brand new articles will show up for news-related queries.

Publishers who don’t want to be crawled by Google at all, can keep the search engine from doing so with robots.txt, but publishers face losing a ton of traffic by doing so. Then, the question becomes, will users miss these sources enough to go directly to their sites and give them whatever compensation they may be seeking?

Browsing Google News for Brazil, it doesn’t look like there is a shortage of available content for people to read.

Last month, Google celebrated the tenth anniversary of Google News, reporting that it is now available in 72 editions and 30 languages, and that it counted 50,000 publications among its news sources. I guess the number is slightly less now.

  • knysna

    Why on earth would publishers want to be paid for the privilege of linking to their content?

    They get sent free traffic from Google that generates revenue from ads.

    I think they’ve shot themselves in the foot by pulling out of Google News.

    Needless to say, it won’t be long before they all come groveling back like a bunch of hungry pigs.

    • http://www.payperclickhouston.com Tony Nguyen

      Big publishers think they have a big voice on the internet. They think their content is unique enough to be paid. That’s fine when all there was was traditional outlets like newspapers and magazines, but it sounds like they just have not woke up to reality. The watering hole had moved a decade ago.

  • http://damescribe.hubpages.com Gin

    It seems some people need to realize, Google is a host and it’s rude to ask him to pay for the privilege of our presence. News sources always have large circulations and therefore should use it to monetize their sites like others. I think Brazil have made a bad business move altogether unless another SE is rising in popularity.

  • Tominguez

    Google profits from all the content merchants and publishers produce, but they use incredible tactics to offer consistent traffic no matter how good your content is. I do not fan that sites charge for links but I do not like that google makes it so inconsistent and now expensive to be in google when we are the ones who really created search engines usability.

  • yang

    Motors get benefit from linking permanently refreshed quality contents: news, but cost of producing news is high and badly remunerated, why the cost of operating for a motor wouldn’t be what is proposed here by German, brazilian, french, who else tomorrow?

    on the other hand, we should ask to remove publishers’ ability to refuse to be listed by motors, for the public’s benefit!

    Too easy and short to say motors should delist publishers and – so what for the user?

    Music producers get paid for the right of broadcasting music on radio, and, on the other hand, they cannot refuse for their music to be broadcasted, why? Because radios sell advertising on the back of those broadcasts.

    Google (for example) is not a search engine. It’s an advertising agency, that offers hundreds of free services, useful to follow consumers behaviour. Motors could pay such a neighboring right, just because without affecting its business model, or so marginally, they sell advertising on the back of the millions links they make with news, permanently refreshed and paid by publishers.

    We must thing big, think durability and fairness in business practices, in order to keep and develop a rich, full of content and open Internet. At the end, public, through better quality content should benefit from both motors and publishers businesses, as public makes it all.

  • http://androidtrickz.com Ravi

    Publishers is not written correctly at Line 2 in your content
    Google prepared a note about a proposal by French lawmakers and backed by French news publsihers,

    Coming to Topic . All the traffic from Google News gets to the website and hence they get revenue either from Adsense or any other advertising medium. If they pull out of Google News and Google Deindexes them .. they will run out of options to get money.

    Google sends them free traffic and in turn they also get revenue share.. simple it was to benefit both .. well news papers and websites they do not have their own news they get from agencies…

  • http://www.tipsinablog.com Danny

    Quite an interesting topic, Chris.

    I was just thinking about this a little more, and as others have stated in comments above, it does sound “over the top” to request payment for the privilege of just having linked to content…

    Imagine it was approved, there would probably be a huge “snowball effect” with publishers across the board demanding similar payment for being linked to….