Google and publishers in Germany have been going back and forth for years. Well, Google and publishers everywhere have been going back and forth for years, but in Germany, a group of publishers pushed for an ancillary copyright law last year, trying to force Google to pay for using snippets from their content in search results, but ultimately, Google was able to get around it.
The publisher group (VG Media), which is made up of over 200 publishers, filed a complaint against Google, but in August, a secret document was leaked, indicating that Germany's Cartel Office decided that the legislation wasn't entirely clear, and that it wouldn't pursue the complaint. Reuters shared this statement from the regulator at the time:
“Sufficient suspicion is always necessary to initiate an abuse procedure. The complaint from VG Media did not establish this."
Google decided to just stop showing snippets for the disgruntled publishers earlier this month. VG Media has apparently given up now, at least on its current strategy for dealing with the search giant, and will allow them to pull snippets. Via TechCrunch:
VG Media said the publishers it represents are being forced to take this step because of the ‘overwhelming market power of Google’. Mountain View commands a more than 90 per cent marketshare of search in Europe.
The publisher consortium has a press release about it here, but it's in German.
Yes, Google does have a huge part of the market. There's no question about that. However, just being in Google is no guarantee of traffic anyway. Just ask anyone that's ever been affected by an algorithm update like Panda. Publishers should be more focused on how to improve their traffic from Google and from other sources rather than trying to play hardball with the traffic providers.
Image via Google