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Should Google Be Forced To Pay For News?

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the according-to-his-need dept.

The Media 322

Barence writes "The Guardian Media group is asking the British government to investigate Google News and other aggregators, claiming they reap the benefit of content from news sites without contributing anything towards their costs. The Guardian claims the old argument that 'search engines and aggregators provide players like guardian.co.uk with traffic in return for the use of our content' doesn't hold water any more, and that it's 'heavily skewed' in Google's favour. It wants the government to explore new models that 'require fair acknowledgement of the value that our content creates, both on our own site (through advertising) and "at the edges" in the world of search and aggregation.'"

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Not us. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27403579)

I work in the online division of a particularly large paper.

We work hand-in-hand with google and push to get as much content on there for free as possible.

Because we, unlike our moron competitors, understand that these clips bring traffic to our site, which makes us money.

Re:Not us. (4, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403713)

First....please, try to remember.

The INTERNET, and the Web on it...were never created with the purpose of generating revenue for companies. You guys jumped on late in the game, and while you're welcome to use it for said purposes, it is not tailored to those purposes. If you don't like 'sharing' via the web, don't put it out there for anybody to see for free. It is public domain (or should be) at that point.

If you don't want people or groups or other sites to access your freely publicized data....don't put it out there where anyone can get it. Either keep it off the web or put it behind a 'wall' where only paying members can see it.

Re:Not us. (4, Insightful)

OECD (639690) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403871)

If you don't want people or groups or other sites to access your freely publicized data....don't put it out there where anyone can get it. Either keep it off the web or put it behind a 'wall' where only paying members can see it.

Paywalls don't work well, so why do that when they can coerce a revenue stream with lawsuits and/or petitions?

Re:Not us. (4, Insightful)

perlchild (582235) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403949)

Nor would the only rational alternative. They don't like google, they can block google. They don't have to ask government to intervene in an area it has neither knowledge, skill nor particular legitimacy.

Re:Not us. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27403889)

The INTERNET, and the Web on it...were never created with the purpose of generating revenue for companies.

The internet wasn't created for the benefits of whiney freetards like you either.

Re:Not us. (4, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404211)

It kind of makes me wonder if there were groups of professional copiers who were pissed off 500 years ago when Gutenberg introduced movable type to Europe. I suspect that 100 years from now, the businesses that are bemoaning the freedom that the Internet provides will be footnotes in our grand children's history books; whereas the advent of the Internet will be regarded as on par with irrigation, the plow, and the printing press.

It's hard for me to even get pissed off at the music, movie, and news agencies anymore; in a way, I feel sorry for them. They lack the imagination and creativity necessary to change in the face of massive technological upheaval. In 20 years they will either have changed so much as to be unrecognizable or someone will have risen up to take their place. Hand copiers of books lasted decades after Gutenberg's press was introduced, but their demise was just as inevitable.

Re:Not us. (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404215)

Um, what, the GP said that the work hard to get Google to publish as much content as possible. It's something that's a part of their business model and apparently works in the interest of all involved.

Re:Not us. (1)

TheModelEskimo (968202) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404247)

How did you get modded up for not reading the parent's comment? That's weird.

Re:Not us. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403745)

Because we, unlike our moron competitors, understand that these clips bring traffic to our site, which makes us money.

If you're a small site, that might be a fair argument, and presumably nothing would stop you from voluntarily sharing your content with Google.

On the other hand, given your claim to work for a particularly large paper, I have to be a bit sceptical. I happen to use the BBC News web site as my first news source of choice, and I don't need Google to tell me how to find them every day.

That being the case, I find it hard to believe that high-profile, high-traffic sites like the Beeb really get more benefit from occasional search hits via Google than a news aggregator would get from scraping all of the headlines from the originating site, and I find Google's argument here to be wishful thinking rather than based on any real merit.

Alas, I predict with some confidence that this Slashdot discussion will be full of people who think GMG are just upset about losing revenue, while paying no attention to ideas such as giving credit where its due and supporting the people who actually do the legwork to research news stories. I wonder if such people would rather live in a world where good quality, original news sources are only available to subscribers, and the aggregators are reduced to the level of Digg, Reddit, Slashdot and the like.

Re:Not us. (5, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403839)

How is Google making money on the news aggregation? I don't see any ads here:

http://news.google.com/ [google.com]

So presumably they are making money on search advertising:

http://news.google.com/news?q=profit [google.com]

How terrible of them to provide a service whereby people can search the news and then click to read the original stories (and they give a reasonable amount of credit right there on the search page...).

Re:Not us. (0)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404057)

How is Google making money on the news aggregation?

Well, firstly, that's a straw man: nothing either ethical or legal about this situation requires that the entity doing the ripping should be making a current profit from it.

Secondly, if you really think an organisation like Google does anything out of the kindness of its heart, you're kidding yourself. It may not be aiming to make a profit directly from each service it runs, but it sure as heck intends them all to be beneficial to its bottom line in the long run.

How terrible of them to provide a service whereby people can search the news and then click to read the original stories (and they give a reasonable amount of credit right there on the search page...).

Please stop and consider for a moment what sort of precedent that sets.

As food for thought on the relative value of the original headline/soundbite vs. the whole article, I refer you to well-known site slashdot.org, where people not reading the article (or even necessarily the whole summary) is a common criticism. I also refer you to pretty much every major news site in the UK, where you will see a headline/ticker of some sort at the top of each home page.

I think if the news aggregators want to rip what may be the major value of other sites, while adding little or no value of their own, then it shoud be incumbent on them to demonstrate that this is not harming the original source who did all the real work to find/research/verify the story. This is exactly the reason why sensible copyright laws don't give specific proportions of a work that may be used fairly ("up to 10%") but rather consider qualitative factors such as the nature of the use and the effect it will have on the copyright holder.

Re:Not us. (3, Insightful)

GameMaster (148118) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404085)

There's an argument to be made that they are, indirectly, profiting through the strengthened brand they are creating by increasing traffic to a Google branded website but it is a weak argument. Of course, the whole premise is weak. Companies have been taking advantage of the things their competitors leave in the public domain, virtually, forever. Think about all the little businesses that use the location of stores like Wal-Mart, McDonalds, etc. to pick locations. They're taking advantage of all the work done by employees of those, larger, companies to pick locations with high profit potential due to things like high traffic, good visibility, etc.

Re:Not us. (1)

cjb658 (1235986) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404251)

The Guardian's problem with Google is that people are just reading the feed and not going to THEIR site and clicking THEIR ads.

Re:Not us. (4, Interesting)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404127)

On the other hand, given your claim to work for a particularly large paper, I have to be a bit sceptical. I happen to use the BBC News web site as my first news source of choice, and I don't need Google to tell me how to find them every day. That being the case, I find it hard to believe that high-profile, high-traffic sites like the Beeb really get more benefit from occasional search hits via Google than a news aggregator would get from scraping all of the headlines from the originating site, and I find Google's argument here to be wishful thinking rather than based on any real merit.

I'm sure the big papers would rather have more readers like you. The real issue here is that google news is a sort of great equalizer, giving equal exposure and opportunity to many news sources large and small. It isn't that google is stealing their business, it's just helping to make many news sources available that people might not notice otherwise. And that's exactly what I like about it.

Re:Not us. (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404191)

May I suggest that any news site which believes that Google is making money in a way which costs them lost revenue, ask Google to stop linking to them? If Google refuses to honor such a request, then is the time to rewrite the laws.
The question comes down to this: do these organizations make more money because they are listed by Google (or other news aggregator)than they would if they were not listed by the aggregator? If the answer is yes, then the aggregator does not owe them anything.

Re:Not us. (4, Insightful)

jnetsurfer (637137) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403789)

I know, I don't understand their complaint at all. Google is driving traffic to their sites. How is that a bad thing?

Re:Not us. (1)

aicrules (819392) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404133)

ZOMFG but the aggregated content is devoid of any uber-ad-filled content!!!

Re:Not us. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27404145)

I know, I don't understand their complaint at all. Google is driving traffic to their sites. How is that a bad thing?

Bandwidth traffic costs money that the source site is not generating.

Re:Not us. (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404253)

It isn't necessarily a bad thing, but thats not for you or Google to decide - the content owner doesn't want it, and the argument that 'but they are benefiting from it anyway' does not trump the content owners rights.

Re:Not us. (4, Insightful)

Anml4ixoye (264762) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403917)

Besides, if you really wanted to block them, wouldn't one just block the Googlebot? Or nofollow the entire site? Or robots.txt the entire site?

What they really want is to be in the top of the search results without having to have the stuff out there. You can't have it both ways.

The issue explained (5, Interesting)

Bananenrepublik (49759) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404049)

Since noone in this thread seems to have understood the issue, here's what I gathered after reading some German-language newspapers (I've not used google news in years, so please point out inaccuracies kindly):

So far, everytime you clicked on a story on google news, it took you to an article somewhere else. I.e., everytime there was an interesting story on google news, somebody else would share the profit.

But now google starts running news agency stories themselves. I.e., whenever someone clicks on an AP, say, story, they are redirected to a google news page that carries the AP story. Previously, it would have been some newspaper's page who happened to run that story.

So far so good. But how does google news decide which agency stories to place on their front page? For that, they use the story placement on the various news sites they're aggregating, and this is where it becomes unfair because this work is an essential part of running a news web site -- unordered newsfeeds aren't worth much, as otherwise everybody would be getting their news from ap.org or whatever.

In other words, by running stories from news agencies themselves, google has turned from someone benefitting the various news sites into a freeloader.

Re:The issue explained (1)

GameMaster (148118) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404169)

That makes more sense. I'd mod you up if I could.

Re:The issue explained (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404199)

In other words, by running stories from news agencies themselves, google has turned from someone benefitting the various news sites into a freeloader.

No. If the AP wants to charge Google, they are free to do so. The papers that carry AP stories have not been granted an exclusive license.

Re:Not us. (1)

Gorobei (127755) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404117)

We work hand-in-hand with google and push to get as much content on there for free as possible.

Good for you.

I've seen this happen a hundred times: a tech innovation comes along and disrupts a cozy business model.

The immediate response is to fight it, but the tech improvement gets cheaper every year: no matter how you fight, the tech gets cheaper and better every year. Eventually, you find yourself proposing absurdities like hitting consumers with $100K/song for copyright violations.

The more balanced response is to look at what your own business is, and decide how to leverage the free external tech innovations. E.g. New York Times is supposed to be the paper of record: so provide all your old content for free, and charge new content for a few weeks. There, problem solved. Oh, except now you claim to be the Lexis/Nexis of reporting, so better be able to able to back that claim up. Ah, you claim it's your OpEd guys that are the value-add? Sorry, their columns are all over the blogs under fair-use within hours of being published - why do pundits even need a newspaper?

Ben Stein might have been useful in the dark-ages, but now he's just an angry man yelling at the clouds.

Cluebat for newspapers: serve your community in realtime and sell ads to cover costs. Make it easy for users to read your stuff.

robots.txt (4, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403591)

robots.txt?

Or are they trying to get paid rather than make a point?

Re:robots.txt (3, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403759)

They're trying to get paid rather than make a point.

They have no leg to stand on under current law, which is probably why they're pushing for a new law. Google only lists stories. The small excerpts that are included are clearly short enough to fall under fair use provisions, and all they do is point people to the actual site with the content on it. But then, if you're a newspaper, meaning you're probably suffering the inevitable demise of your print publication, you'll look anywhere for opportunities to make more money to keep yourself afloat.

Re:robots.txt (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27403767)

The article notes that opting-out would be online-suicide for the Guardian. Clearly what the Guardian needs is paid advertisements in its headlines. "Enjoy Coke While Gov Raises Taxes" "Fly Emirates to Escape Rainy Weather"

Money for nothing... and the chicks for free. (5, Insightful)

Wrexs0ul (515885) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403841)

The big problem with your argument is: once you throw a reasonable answer at the problem it's no longer news-worthy. It's so easy to keep a search engine off your site the article would quickly become a technical how-to... and uninteresting to the non-slashdot masses.

If you don't want to share then take your ball and go home. Google thugs aren't shaking-down editors, nor in the case of common feeds like the AP are taking anything beyond what they are allowed to. Close your doors, create a consortium-only system for sharing across "approved" sites, and you're good to go. The perceived money you're losing from not doing this already would easily cover the costs of developing and maintaining the system.

Just hope enough people are willing to come over and only play with your ball that it pays the bills. I would have never found places like the Guardian [google.ca] without Google, and if they remove their content would never go back.

-Matt

Re:Money for nothing... and the chicks for free. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27404235)

BUTBUTBUT Then they won't get any moneeeeeey And they want their moneeeeeey from gooooogle *sniff sniff* ITS NOT FAIR!!!

So ask Google not to index you... (5, Insightful)

Ben Jackson (30284) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403595)

If the benefit is so "heavily skewed" then it should be a no-brainer to ask Google not to index your news site.

Re:So ask Google not to index you... (5, Insightful)

tolan-b (230077) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403771)

Indeed. They claim that the click-throughs they get aren't worth it, then say they couldn't live without them. So they pretty much by definition *are* worth it.

I don't envy them though, providing online news is a horrible way to try to earn revenue.

Our old business model is no longer making us... (3, Insightful)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403599)

...as much money. Please, government, bail us out of this mess we're in! Our shareholders profits are at near-record lows!

The same issues are facing all news organizations, except for the few that actually embraced technology, or started pay for content long before news aggregates became en vogue.

Re:Our old business model is no longer making us.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27403735)

They try to make it sound like Google is costing them something, saying Google ought to compensate them for the cost of producing their content. WTF? Does being indexed by Google cause them to have to produce more stuff? Online advertising may have fallen in value, but they're still getting more traffic, and therefore more revenue, with Google than they would without Google.

It's as you say: a business is bringing in less revenue than before, so they want someone else to make up the difference to keep them in the manner to which they are accustomed.

OK (4, Insightful)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403605)

Then google will play fair, im sure these news agencies will miss being able to use google's services for free when researching...

Re:OK (4, Insightful)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403715)

If that happens they are lucky. What would they do if someone with the market share of Google hired their own reporters? The content the produce wouldn't even be looked at.

Yes (-1, Troll)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403617)

Google is Making Money from Google News, Some of that money should go to the people who actually did all the work and make/record it.

Just as TV stations should pay Newspapers for when they get their news from them.

Re:Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27403861)

You say that like writing code isn't work.

Re:Yes (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404095)

I didn't say all of the add revenue, I said some of it. There is a Value add for Google's code.

However a lot of the time people will not click threw to the full story they will read the headlines and a paragraph and go on.

Re:Yes (1)

DustoneGT (969310) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403873)

Google refers people to the newspapers' web sites. They get traffic in exchange for the snippet of content. It's still a valid argument.

Re:Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27403945)

Indeed. However these companies are making money from click-throughs due to being linked by google's service. Some of that money should go to the company that did all the work of gathering an audience providing them directions.

THe end-game here, if the companies win the suit, is that google will stop indexing their content for free, and instead charge them for the privilege. The companies will however get even equally good control over what gets indexed, so it won't be a total wash for them.

The only companies that have a shot at having the balance of payments skew in their favor are AP and Reuters.

Remove them... (0, Redundant)

Pvt_Ryan (1102363) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403623)

Google could just remove them from the search results and we'll see what happens then.. Somehow I think google will suffer less.

or the guardian could just use robots.txt

I call Bullshit (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27403631)

I just visited Google News two minutes ago, and clicking on the stories there takes you to the newspaper/media outlet's page, not some ad laden screenscraped Google version.

All these people who think that the Internet should change because it doesn't fit in with their flawed idea of how things should work need to grow up or GTFO.

Re:I call Bullshit (3, Insightful)

Camann (1486759) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403843)

Exactly, Google isn't taking these news stories from them, rather it's generating traffic for the news websites. There's no reason Google should pay news sites to provide this service to the news sites.

If they don't like it they can be removed from Google easily, I'm sure.

Be the First to Ask Google to Stop, I Dare You (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403635)

claiming they reap the benefit of content from news sites without contributing anything towards their costs

Well, go ahead, be the first brave news source to ask Google to remove you from their caches. It'd be suicide. Even the article points out what you'd be doing:

The Guardian says content providers are faced with a catch-22: they can't afford to withhold content from search engines, yet can't feasibly charge consumers for it either, "not least because of the presence of the BBC and the vast quantities of free content it publishes on bbc.co.uk."

I'd like to hear and discuss the alternatives mentioned in the summary but can't find them in the article.

Has the Guardian's online readership or ad revenue plummeted?

Perhaps you should just learn to deal with Google acting as a portal and give your readers a reason to visit your site to read the whole article? This is overall a good thing for you--don't ruin it.

Where is Google making the money and how could you scale fractions of that to go out to sites based on popularity?

Re:Be the First to Ask Google to Stop, I Dare You (1)

JaxWeb (715417) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403897)

Sadly, the Guardian sells next to nothing despite it being by far the best newspaper.

Re:Be the First to Ask Google to Stop, I Dare You (3, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403989)

Sadly, the Guardian sells next to nothing despite it being by far the best newspaper.

If they are "by far" the best newspaper then what are they worried about? Google News puts them right next to every other newspaper and if their superiority is so vastly obvious, they should be stealing readers left and right from other newspapers. Readers who are used to trashy tabloids should read one article from them and switch their home pages to The Gaurdian, right?

If you ask me, this is a result of newspapers fearing that people will go to Google News and realize that there are other viable & better news sources out there.

News aggregaters simply mean that providers need to work harder to win eyes, it's putting them up against everyone else which is great for the end consumer. Once again, an industry is bitching about a great new technology that makes the end user's life a whole lot better but makes them work a little harder for their dough.

Re:Be the First to Ask Google to Stop, I Dare You (4, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404075)

they should be stealing readers left and right from other newspapers.

The problem is ultimately that "being the best newspaper" is becoming more and more like "selling the best buggy whip".

Re:Be the First to Ask Google to Stop, I Dare You (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404225)

"...people will go to Google News and realize that there are other viable & better news sources out there."

+1 you win a cookie, that's likely what it is.

Especially since Google doesn't seem to put any sort of highlight on which is the first/original source of the news, and seems to list them alphabetically (how do they decide which one gets the Title URL anyways?), that will likely be part of their argument even though it's basically impossible for Google to do that without having to be spoon fed the stories directly from the website/editors/etc. And who says what first is a pretty major part of the competition between them.

Re:Be the First to Ask Google to Stop, I Dare You (2, Insightful)

smallfries (601545) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404021)

You middle-class commie scum :)

(can't really talk, I tend to read the Independent myself. Just makes me middle-class liberal scum)

Re:Be the First to Ask Google to Stop, I Dare You (1, Insightful)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404233)

The Economist is the only British news periodical that's any good.

And yeah, I'm middle class classical liberal [wikipedia.org] scum.

Actually these days The Economist seems to have the whole print edition [economist.com] online, for free. Kind of cool, because it's hard to get in some places.

Re:Be the First to Ask Google to Stop, I Dare You (1)

revjtanton (1179893) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403929)

Its like they're asking for money simply to have it!

The printing press killed the practice of paying for indulgences since people could actually read their own Bibles, and now the Internet is killing the tangibly printed word because fact is fact regardless of who says it, and most of us would rather hear about it as it happens rather than a day or week later.

Other outlets are capable of doing the EXACT same thing as newspapers yet they don't have to cut down trees to do it. Now that the jig is up its like they want to be paid for the nostalgia factor...lame.

Guardian are a bunch of trolls (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403935)

1) They like to troll (maybe just to get hits).
2) They also want to be a "Bridge Troll" collecting toll on a bridge they don't own.
3) Their bias is quite disgusting sometimes.

sounds like their real beef is with the BBC (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404279)

If their real complaint is with the BBC providing free online news, it's a bit disingenuous to direct their ire at Google. Of course, they're somewhat cornered because calling for BBC News to be shut down wouldn't be popular, especially for a left-of-centre paper.

Shooting self in foot (4, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403639)

You'll notice when you load news.google.com - not a single ad. Click on ANY of the links... ads.

Now then, who is making money from this relationship?

Not only that, but there is a technical solution: check the referrer and if it is news.google.com throw the user to your home page so that you can pretend to "control" them. Or block them and let your competitors get the ad revenue.

Re:Shooting self in foot (4, Informative)

notaprguy (906128) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403791)

You're assuming that most people look for news on Google by doing to http://news.google.com/ [google.com] . Most people go directly to www.google.com and search. For example, I'm looking for news about the death of extreme skier Shane McConkey so I do this: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=Shane+McConkey&aq=f&oq= [google.com] At the top of that page is a news link (with ads to the right). When I click on the news link I'm taken here: http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&q=Shane+McConkey&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=pUfSSarBE52ctgOA8PjHAw&sa=X&oi=news_result&resnum=1&ct=title [google.com] That's a Google News page with a summary of a wide range of news topics on Shane McConkey...including ads to the right. Hence, Google is monetizing news content that they don't pay for.

Re:Shooting self in foot (3, Interesting)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403955)

Hence, Google is monetizing news content that they don't pay for.

OMG!

Google is making money off of making me more money! What am I gonna DO!?!?!?!?!?

Why are so many people such idiots?

Re:Shooting self in foot (1)

notaprguy (906128) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404027)

How do you figure anyone is making money except Google in the pages I linked to?

Re:Shooting self in foot (2, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404013)

But that news search page you link to is no different from any other search page on Google. It's not an aggregator - it's a search page of publicly available web pages.

Of course there's no point in being pedantic because the morons at the Guardian are also complaining about the search engine. I guess that they've never heard of robots.txt.

Re:Shooting self in foot (1)

firewrought (36952) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404077)

That's a Google News page with a summary of a wide range of news topics on Shane McConkey...including ads to the right. Hence, Google is monetizing news content that they don't pay for.

This does not seem like a reasonable way to see it. This is not news content, these are search results. If I want the content, I have to go to the site itself. Yawn, this is just another attempt at legal piracy, nothing to see here...

Re:Shooting self in foot (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404151)

Hence, Google is monetizing news content that they don't pay for.

No, Google is monetizing hyperlinks to news content that they don't pay for. But since when are you expected to pay for the privilege of linking to someone else's content? It's what Google and every other search engine does with every web page. Waaaaah, you can find my home page via a Google search, ergo Google should give me money? That's ridiculous! They're monetizing nothing more than the service they provide, which is the ability for people to find my content which I can then monetize however I want.

If Google put more than a sentence or two on their own website, obviating the need to click on the link and go to the news source to read the article, then there would be a scrap of a point here. But they're not. Instead, they're like a business complaining that the yellow pages dared to make a profit off of selling the phone directory that lets people find the business! Idiots!

Fix your webpage slashdot. (-1, Offtopic)

Puls4r (724907) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403653)

You'd think a technology page would at least be compatible with browsers so I didn't have to look at ads that cover up 70% of the top story.

Re:Fix your webpage slashdot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27403731)

Gotta let IE 5.5 go some time man.
I say good riddance.

No, just fix your browser (1)

Logic Worshipper (1518487) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403859)

With adblock plus [mozilla.org] or noscript [mozilla.org] . Either will do the trick, running both I had to do some work to see the add you're talking about. That's firefox.

Opera will let you block the content too, if you prefer that.

Why is every 2 bit operation . . . . (0, Flamebait)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403669)

. . . crying out for a government investigation to figure out "new business" models for them.

For god sakes; provide a relevant service to consumers who are willing to pay for them, or *go out of business*!

The dot com bubble saw a million different companies that tried to sell things that nobody wanted, and each one of those companies cried a river of tears before it evaporated. Some of them even had a few promising ideas, just poor execution.

I'm afraid were about to see a bailout bubble, with huge valuations applied to ancient, dying companies that have no real value except for a "Too Big to Fail" stamp.

Value means you contribute, and generate wealth, preferably for everyone (customers, employees, management, and owners). When Value is defined as, "I hold your economy hostage, you better keep me alive," something is dramatically wrong.

Re:Why is every 2 bit operation . . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27403965)

They aren't asking for a government to produce a new business model for them.

This has nothing to do with bailouts.

They are ancient but they aren't dying.

They _are_ pretty much the single most web-savvy newspaper group on the face of the earth, and they are saying that Google's market position is fundamentally unfair. It would be common sense to at least _listen_ to their argument.

Your darwinian approach to this is understandable but dogged adherence to it in this case might be establishing a news monopoly for Google.

Why not negotiate directly with Google on this one (1)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403671)

If they don't like their business relationship (insofar as one exists), I'm sure The Guardian is big enough that Google will deign to send their VP for something-something out there to negotiate some better terms. That's what VPs are for -- they manage these sorts of business relationships.

I'm sure they can work out some sort of mutually beneficial arrangement ...

Unintended consequences? (-1)

notaprguy (906128) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403673)

My inclination is to say yes, Google shoud be required to compensate news producers because they're monetizing their content. Google is sort of the ultimate bottom feeder. Their only money-making product produces value - making it easier to find stuff - but all built on the back of other people and companies. If the New York Times or your local paper are going out of busienss because you and I are finding our news on Google News then either we should pay or Google should pay. I vote for Google. On the other hand, you have to wonder whether this is really something that could be implemented in a reasonable way and whether there would be unintended consequences. How will it impact the economics of news gathering? One would hope for the better but I could be wrong.

Re:Unintended consequences? (3, Insightful)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403729)

If the New York Times or your local paper are going out of busienss because you and I are finding our news on Google News then either we should pay or Google should pay.

I'd agree, except that Google does not actually produce news, or even reprint other people's articles. "Finding our news on Google News" means that we are being directed to the New York Times or your local paper. Those papers BENEFIT from Google's links.

Re:Unintended consequences? (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403857)

Well, since google news totally absolutely never links to the original site and just steals their precious text (which they put on the internet)I think the news sites should just not allow google to index, err, steal their content.

That'll show that thieving google who's the boss.

Re:Unintended consequences? (1)

Camann (1486759) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403951)

news.google.com serves the news producers already through increased traffic. The news websites can put whatever ads they want onto their own webpages. Google doesn't give the whole news story, just headline and (for a select few) a single sentence, linked back to the news website.

Also, I'm looking right now and I can't find a single ad on news.google.com. So where's Google's monetary benefit here?

Re:Unintended consequences? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27404175)

your missing that goodle let's you opt out of the parasitic relationship you've imagined

But Google doesn't charge anything... (2, Insightful)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403683)

There aren't even any advertisements on Google News. The Guardian seems to have at least two big ads on every article page (though, thankfully, not the home page).

So, the money quote from the Guardian's statement is this: "The argument has traditionally been that search engines and aggregators provide players like guardian.co.uk with traffic in return for the use of our content, and this is enough to make the relationship symbiotic and equal.... However, there is a vast over-supply in the market of advertising inventory, and yields have come under severe downward pressure. As a result, the value of the traffic generated by search engines and aggregators has reduced significantly."

In other words, if Google stopped sending traffic to the Guardian's web site, their ad revenue would go up!

Err... wait.

Did anybody think this through before going public?

Ah, yes! They want to explore "new models" that "require fair acknowledgement of the value that our content creates, both on our own site (through advertising) and 'at the edges' in the world of search and aggregation." In other words, they want to tell another company, which offers a free service, how to run that free service, so it better supports their ad-driven service! OK, that makes much more sense.

Re:But Google doesn't charge anything... (1)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404149)

FYI: the Guardian.co.uk site claims to get more than 25 million unique visitors [adinfo-guardian.co.uk] each month, for a total of 228 million page views (or "impressions"). Or maybe it's 14 million unique visitors and 94 million page views -- that page has charts which claim both sets of numbers. Maybe if they could decide exactly how many people visited their site, they could find ways of maximize revenue.

If you were a frequent Guardian reader, could you pay a small fee to have an ad-free interface?

Thank you for going online (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27403749)

Because I can easily access all the news I need online, I don't buy newspapers, and I don't visit their advertisers when I go to their website.

All this just to say: whether I see their content via Google or at their own site, they're not getting a dime from me. (Or a shilling, or whatever the Brits call them.)

So stop (1)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403769)

So stop linking to their content.

Good idea (1)

Thyamine (531612) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403781)

That makes complete sense. Why not cut yourself off from the biggest search engine. That way, when I'm searching the hundreds (thousands?) of news sites out there for some random term, your site won't show up. Because, of course, you know I visit each and every news site in the world daily, and Google is taking away from your revenue by pointing me to your site to read your articles.

RSS feed (5, Informative)

Locklin (1074657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403783)

The funny thing is that I've had the Guardian on my RSS feed for a while, mainly because their RSS feed contains the whole article, so I don't even need to click the link unless I want to see pictures.

My feed reader might be "stealing" from them, but they seem to be encouraging it.

robots.txt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27403799)

If you don't want your content on Google... just add them to robots.txt... although that would remove you from the search engine entirely and I'm sure that's not what you want.

I read my news on Google because it's fricking easy to use. If you want more people to come to your site rather than reading your content on Google, maybe you should make it easier to do so.

Go ahead, make my day (3, Interesting)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403809)

...'search engines and aggregators provide players like guardian.co.uk with traffic in return for the use of our content' doesn't hold water any more..."

Oh, really? Okay, when Google stops indexing the content of your rag, then you can look for its rotting body in the ditch next to the information highway.

You should be glad Google isn't charging you to carry your stories.

No longer holds water...okay, skippy, let's see you come up with a way to promote your site that doesn't include Google. Then I'll be impressed. Cause, see, in all the excitement, I can't remember whether we spidered your worthless rag or not. What you have to ask yourself...is do you feel lucky? Well, do ya...punk?

Meta comment (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403825)

This piece of news seems to display enough idiocy to be immediately understood by all slashdotters as retarded. However, it's not idiot enough to grant just a couple posts about it being a dumb PR mistake that should never have seen the light.

Such precision is uncommon.

Correct response (2, Informative)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403835)

"So, you're saying that people can't tell anybody else what articles your paper has today?"

That sums it up succinctly. Google doesn't (aside from it's cache) serve up the article. All it does is state what articles are available and where they can be found. Exactly what someone saying "Hey, the Guardian had this article yesterday on page 17, you gotta read it." is doing.

Alternatively, Google should simply stop spidering the objecting sites. End of problem. Well, for Google anyway. The lack of traffic may cause a problem for those sites, but that's what they asked for.

robots.txt (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403851)

Why dont they just use robots.txt and exclude themselves from any search engines? If they dont want to be aggregated the solution is right there.

Micropayments/subscription wont ever work for online media, period. The printing business is not applicable on the internet but the old media moguls wont accept it. This is just another feeble attempt at getting cash from publication where the cost to publizise is close to zero.

Stupid (0, Redundant)

krappie (172561) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403869)

Should Google start paying for search results? This is idiotic. If they don't want Google to index them, thats what robots.txt is for. They can restrict Google from indexing them, they can lose traffic and everyone can move on.

The problem is ancient (4, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403895)

Who makes more money? The travel agent, or the vacation resorts? They travel agent NEEDS the resorts or they would have nothing to sell, but the resort is depended on the agent for their trade. If they are ignored by the travel agent, they don't do business as they are to small to attract their own customers.

Same with hotels and hotel booking agencies. Who controls who?

With google and the guardian it is pretty clear. Google is a multi-billion dollar company operating around the globe. The guardian a small british newspaper. This is in a way odd. It would be like the hotel booking agency being ten times the size of the hotels it refers to.

Because that is what google does. It indexes the newssites for us visitors and then allows us to choose the ones we want to visit. For that service it charges a fee in the form of advertising. The amazing thing is that Google has managed to make billions out of this. They are the portal that works! What is even weirder is that the end destinations of us visitors don't seem to be able to make enough money.

Imagine a travel agent that worked for free printing only a cheap add on your ticket, yet earned more money then the resorts themselves.

Historically, these type of refferal agencies have always had an uneasy relationship with their end-users. Travel companies have long since tried to get independent of travel agencies, selling their own products or forming alliances to operate their own.

Hotels love to have customers referred to them, but they hate that booking agencies can send potential customers to better/cheaper accomodations. Price compare sites are fought thought and nail by retailers. Hell, tv companies hate cable companies and expect them to pay for giving them the viewers that view their ads.

Google is making money thanks to others people content. This doesn't sit well, espeically when the people making the content have trouble making money themselves.

There is no easy solution. No content, no google. If news.google.com can't link to stories anymore, nobody would use it. Converserly, without news.google.com I wouldn;t vist half the news sites I do now.

Frankly both need to figure this out together as they need to realise they need each other. After all the guardian has an obvious solution, block google, but they don't want that. They just don't want the referrer to keep all they money for themselves. Google on the other hand has every right to say "though shit". They refer viewers to news sites. That the newssites can't make money of this ain't their problem. What next? A cabbie got to pay a portion of their fee to the hotel they drive people too? On the other hand, that cabbie as google NEEDS these end destinations.

But seeing the struggle in other industries makes it clear that this problem won't be solved.

Web 2.5? ad-evenue sharing (1)

waTR (885837) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403901)

There are other questions being raised here. This may be a direct attack on the you post I profit web 2.0 model. Perhaps this will force publishers to do ad-revenue sharing with content providers. I remember reading a while back about youtube paying content providers some amount of money from the ad-revenue their videos generate. How is this any different? This is a natural step in the evolution of the web 2.0 model (web 2.5?).

why provide RSS? (1)

cornercuttin (1199799) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403903)

i can understand where Google Reader can effectively block a bit of ad revenue, but Google Reader is only as good as the RSS feeds that feed it. if BBC, Guardian, or anyone else are pissed off about it, well, disabling their RSS feeds seems like a place to start.

i would also expect them to pay Google lots of money for using Google's search engine. that is a "free" service that Google provides, and it seems a bit hypocritical to want to boost revenue in advertising, yet not want to pony up money for services rendered.

i like the Guardian UK website too, but now i will avoid them.

They do pay... (4, Informative)

cortesoft (1150075) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403923)

I work for the news wire AFP, and we have an agreement with Google to use our news.. and they DO pay us... http://searchengineland.com/afp-google-settle-over-google-news-copyright-case-10926 [searchengineland.com]

Re:They do pay... (1)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404203)

Good thing you provided a link. I was thinking, AFP - A Fucking Paper? Who would name their newspaper A Fucking Paper?

Lead follow or get out of the way (1)

grapeape (137008) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403933)

Lets see...in the past week The Huffington Post starts an online investigative team, Fox announces FoxNation, the Chicago Sun-Times joins the Chicago Tribune in chapter 11 and The Guardian whines about lack of online revenue to support its dying dead tree publication.

It seems to me some people in the media are figuring it out while others are fighting tooth and nail to prevent the inevitable. News happens to fast for traditional media to survive, the days of everyone being in the dark for 24 hours till the headlines hit are long over. Today "news" is as likely to get tweeted as its happening.

As for investigative reporting, most of the real investigation in my area seems to be from independent papers that are already quite heavy into the web, rss and other forms of new media, while the local newspaper has tried and failed with online subscriptions and has let go of most of its best writers in favor of canned news that is the same as what you can find online only a day late.

Re:Lead follow or get out of the way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27404207)

Mentioning The Huffington Post in the same sentence as real news outlets (biased as Fox and the Chicago newspapers may be) is doing a grave disrespect to the actual journalists who work for said real news outlets.

Hey, Google is your biggest affiliate! (1)

Dr.Syshalt (702491) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403937)

This is just outright stupid. Google brings customers to your site and you expect them to pay up?

A lot of companies pay up to 60% of sales to those who brought customers and made a sale.

Those news agencies are just idiots who have no idea how online business works. "Catch-22", my ass... Don't link how the Web business works? Get out and sale your newspapers through the boys on the street.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27403941)

Information wants to be free, news wants to inform and the corporate fuckwads who control the information wants to be greedy.

An idea (1)

NonSequor (230139) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404059)

What if Google and other online advertising providers could allow for a linker and a linkee to exchange some fraction of their advertising revenue? This would acknowledge that some portion of the aggregator's revenue is the result of the linked content and that some portion of the content creator's revenue is the result of being linked by the aggregator.

If the system were set up right, an aggregator that produces a great deal of additional traffic for the content provider receives a net payment while an aggregator that doesn't produce many hits pays the content creator (not to exceed their revenue from the page or pages with the link).

You could have a bidding system where content creators establish required revenue sharing rates for a link and offered revenue sharing rates for a click-through. Content providers that offer good content for a competitive price would benefit and aggregators that generate a lot of traffic for the content providers would also benefit.

Of course this would probably kill Slashdot since no one reads the articles around here.

Cant live in the 21st Centiry (1)

Peter_JS_Blue (801871) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404091)

I think this just another pathetic whine from companies who just cant live the 21st century. They are crying to the Government to bail them out of their own incompetence and lack of vision.

Sites like Google News, Reddit and Digg dont take anything away from these news papers, they send them traffic and if they can make any money from that traffic, thats their own stupid fault !

Sooner or later, someone will find a way to pay journalists directly for their efforts without the need for a newspaper. When that happens, the newspapers will be totally redundant and totally dead !

robots.txt Not Working? No User-Agent Detection? (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404139)

The Guardian claims the old argument that 'search engines and aggregators provide players like guardian.co.uk with traffic in return for the use of our content' doesn't hold water any more, and that it's 'heavily skewed' in Google's favour.

Is The Guardian saying that their robots.txt file is not working? And that they are also not receiving the User-Agent string that allows them to identify GoogleBot?

Frankly, I am skeptical. I think they are not interested in the free-market, opt-in or opt-out as you wish, approach. What they are asking for is economic socialism(*).

* Please don't conflate political socialism with economic socialism. Don't tell me about gulags or suppression of dissent -- that's political socialism (or rather, some examples of it).

Maybe the Guardian ought to reconsider.... (1)

OMGcAPSLOCK (1507399) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404161)

...its own position in the foodchain and start paying every time it reports on a current event. 300 killed in an earthquake in India? Then for every copy of a newspaper you sell that reports the story, send a % to the relief fund. Either that or accept the fact that you're in the business of making money out of the successes and failures of others, and be prepared to accept that you're as viable a target for that as anybody else.

Same could be said for cable news (2, Interesting)

proc_tarry (704097) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404201)

Cable news channels (CNN/Fox/MSNBC/etc) don't contribute to the gathering and reporting of news, they only regurgitate (over and over and over and...) that of news gathering organizations (NYTimes/Washington Post/WSJ/AP/Reuters).

Conspiracy theorists unite! (1)

MilesAttacca (1016569) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404217)

Funnily enough, I just noticed that the favicons for the Guardian and Google look quite similar. Perhaps it's a conspiracy and "Googlian" is fighting with itself to drive up pageviews!

Devils Advocate... (1)

Phizzle (1109923) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404261)

Should Google start charging news sites for the privilege of listing news from their particular sites, since it clearly results in increased traffic to those sites which they monetize?

I suggest an experiment (4, Insightful)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404271)

1.) Newspaper asks Google to pay for clips.
2.) Google drops newspaper from news index.
3.) Newspaper calculates the difference this makes in their revenue.
5.) Newspaper offers to pay Google rather a lot in order to be re-indexed.

Problem solved.

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