As you may know, Google announced it would shut down Google News in Spain today as a new law takes effect, requiring such services to pay publishers to use small snippets of text.
Google has indeed shut down the homepage of Google News in Spain, but as detailed earlier, you can still access Spanish Google News via web searches, which provide news results and a link to additional results via Google News. As of the time of this writing, the actual service is still up and running even if the main page has been replaced by an explanation of the service’s closure.
It would appear that this is still enough to put a major dent in publishers’ traffic. GigaOm is reporting this to be the case, citing data from ChartBeat.
Josh Schwartz, the chief data scientist at Chartbeat, said the company doesn’t track every Spanish news site or publisher, but it has enough data on them as a group to indicate just how dramatic the traffic decline was. The service tracks about 50 sites, he said, ranging from small media outlets to the largest newspaper publishers, and looking at the data shows “a pretty massive difference” in traffic compared to a similar day before the removal. On average the drop is between 10 and 15 percent (Chartbeat only includes traffic from clients who have consented to have their anonymized data used).
The drop will presumably be even greater if Google stops showing news results altogether, which we should expect that it will, unless publishers are able to convince the government to allow Google to keep the service running. Ironically, they are currently trying to do just that.
Image via Google