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Newspapers Feel Exploited By Search

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Agence-France Presse demanded Google stop including its content in Google News, and a group of 18,000 newspapers could press search engines on the issue of content aggregation too.

It’s all about the money. Search makes a lot of it, by virtue of displaying advertising alongside search results containing content from sites all around the Internet. Quite a bit of the content comes from newspaper sites, and that has the World Association of Newspapers ready to start screaming some unprintable words.

CNet cited the grumbling from WAN. Member newspapers have watched advertising dollars flee the world of print for online options. Users have been shifting their attention from print to online for news, due to the timeliness and on-demand nature of the Internet.

Waiting for the morning paper to arrive several hours after the 11 o’clock news has signed off isn’t the way people want to get their news. 24-hour cable news channels like top-rated Fox News cannot match the Internet for finding information of relevance to a particular user.

WAN thinks search needs to pay for the content they aggregate. Without content, there is no index to search and no search business, they claim.

But without search, there would be a Balkanization of the online newspaper world. Users would be familiar with the web sites for their local papers, and probably those of large national publications like the Wall Street Journal or USA Today. Talk about self-limiting.

Newspapers do not want to be free, but news does. Citizen journalists will make that news available, and indexable. Visits that would have been driven to the original site by search will stop at one remove from them instead. Since every blog seems to have some type of advertising displayed, the potential to recoup some ad revenue online by the newspapers vanishes too.

WAN may not like the search engine situation, but right now they may need search much more than search needs them.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Newspapers Feel Exploited By Search
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