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Google CEO Warns Newspapers Not To Anger Readers

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the hand-that-feeds dept.

Google 328

Barence writes "Google CEO Eric Schmidt has hit back at newspaper bosses, warning them that they risk alienating readers in their war against news aggregators such as Google News. 'I would encourage everybody to think in terms of what your reader wants,' Schmidt said at a conference for the Newspaper Association of America. 'These are ultimately consumer businesses and if you piss off enough of them, you will not have any more.' Schmidt's rebuke follows a sustained attack on Google by newspaper bosses such as Rupert Murdoch, who have accused the search giant of 'stealing' their content without payment." Schmidt also suggested that newspapers need to expand their distribution methods to make better use of mobile technology, and a NY Times piece argues that the Associated Press' struggle against aggregators is futile since they're largely trying to give news stories to consumers for free anyway.

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first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27501925)

i, too,fear the newspaper association of america!

Google Lawyer Alexander Macgillivray's Blog (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27501943)

On his blog, entitled "Google Public Policy", Alexander Macgillivray weighed in as well [blogspot.com] (and since he's Associate General Counsel for Products and Intellectual Property for Google this may have more weight than the CEO).

He makes a pretty common argument that Google News actually helps every news service as opposed to the AP's claims of hurting them (maybe even stealing from them).

And then he defaults to fair use:

In the U.S., the doctrine of fair use enshrined in the US Copyright Act allows us to show snippets and links. The fair use doctrine protects transformative uses of content, such as indexing to make it easier to find. Even though the Copyright Act does not grant a copyright owner a veto over such uses, it is our policy to allow any rightsholder, in this case newspaper or wire service, to remove their content from our index -- all they have to do is ask us or implement simple technical standards such as robots.txt or metatags.

And remember folks, he is a lawyer (although I am not).

Re:Google Lawyer Alexander Macgillivray's Blog (5, Insightful)

itlurksbeneath (952654) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502097)

Ah, the state of corporate America these days. When the options boil down to - spending 20 minutes of a computer analysts time to put a proper robots.txt file up or spend tens of thousands of dollars to drag another company into court - and you pick the latter option?

What's the real motive here?

Re:Google Lawyer Alexander Macgillivray's Blog (5, Insightful)

nb caffeine (448698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502179)

To make the lawyers rich

Re:Google Lawyer Alexander Macgillivray's Blog (1)

master811 (874700) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502837)

I'm pretty sure they don't intend to make their lawyers rich, but that's what does happen.

Re:Google Lawyer Alexander Macgillivray's Blog (2, Funny)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502413)

spending 20 minutes of a computer analysts time to put a proper robots.txt file up

HTML jockeys are calling themselves "computer analysts" now? Christ!

Next thing I know, people are going to start referring to Cascading Style Sheets as "code."

Re:Google Lawyer Alexander Macgillivray's Blog (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502779)

They've been calling HTML "programming" for 10 years. *sigh*

Re:Google Lawyer Alexander Macgillivray's Blog (3, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502419)

Ah, the state of corporate America these days. When the options boil down to - spending 20 minutes of a computer analysts time to put a proper robots.txt file up or spend tens of thousands of dollars to drag another company into court - and you pick the latter option?

What's the real motive here?

What you have here is a buggy whip maker suing the automotive industry in an attempt to save his job (or at least delay the inevitable).

Re:Google Lawyer Alexander Macgillivray's Blog (4, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502635)

That analogy would be correct if the automotive industry were using the buggy whip makers product either in whole or in part in their own product. They aren't, so the analogy is a bad one.

Re:Google Lawyer Alexander Macgillivray's Blog (5, Informative)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502481)

Ah, the state of corporate America these days. When the options boil down to - spending 20 minutes of a computer analysts time to put a proper robots.txt file up or spend tens of thousands of dollars to drag another company into court - and you pick the latter option?

What's the real motive here?

Putting up robots.txt doesn't solve the problem. That gets them off Google and the other aggregators, but doesn't get them what they want, which is either

1) To prevent Google and the other aggregators from aggregating at all (otherwise, having everyone but themselves on Google is pretty much corporate suicide)
or
2) To force Google to both aggregate AND to pay them for it.

Unfortunately for them, 2) pretty much requires legislative action. Even if they were to get the courts to declare aggregation to be copyright infringement, Google could just cut a deal with the smarter and/or more hungry papers to aggregate their stuff for free, leaving the whiners out in the cold with neither direct revenue nor eyeballs.

Re:Google Lawyer Alexander Macgillivray's Blog (0)

coryking (104614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502759)

Google could just cut a deal with the smarter and/or more hungry papers to aggregate their stuff for free

You mean the trash rags? Google needs name-brand papers listed to make their news service worthwhile. Without the big boys, it would be spam-news.com, biased-news.com, and crappy-blogger.com.

Re:Google Lawyer Alexander Macgillivray's Blog (3, Insightful)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502807)

I don't think being one of "the big boys" is mutually exclusive with being spammy, biased, or crappy...

Re:Google Lawyer Alexander Macgillivray's Blog (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502489)

Indeed. Sounds like a sound plan. Force Google to remove your content, and stop spidering it again, then watch as - like your paper readership - your online readership slowly drops to zero.

IMHO, probably just a sad ploy to try and stongarm Google into sharing some of their ad. revenue aka YouTube...

As per the MAAFIA: Failing Business Model + Lack of talent & imagination = Sue somebody

Sell their shares...

Re:Google Lawyer Alexander Macgillivray's Blog (1)

Thaelon (250687) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502561)

Money.

Re:Google Lawyer Alexander Macgillivray's Blog (4, Insightful)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502649)

>> What's the real motive here?

They don't want Google to stop.

They want Google to pay them royalties.

Google should terminate its indexing of any newspaper that threatens to sue them.

Re:Google Lawyer Alexander Macgillivray's Blog (1)

jlebrech (810586) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502741)

It's just like Town Criers suing Newspapers for putting them out of business!!

Re:Google Lawyer Alexander Macgillivray's Blog (1)

coryking (104614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502747)

If you think it is robots.txt that is the answer, you are incorrect. This is politics and Google doesn't have much experience with political plays plus they are highly arrogant.

Google has all the power in this business relationship and the Newspaper industry has very little. Threatening to sue is about the only realistic leverage they have. Going nuclear (aka robots.txt) isn't an option for either party.

Re:Google Lawyer Alexander Macgillivray's Blog (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502795)

Isn't it obvious?

There's no potential revenue in putting up a robots.txt

Re:Google Lawyer Alexander Macgillivray's Blog (2, Interesting)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502317)

And remember folks, he is Google's lawyer

Fixed.

Sure he's a lawyer, and so we can assume he's qualified to talk about the law. But as Google's lawyer, it's his job to present a view of the law that agrees with Google. It doesn't mean he's right or wrong; but I wouldn't just take his word as gospel.

IANAL, though I've studied copyright a few times in my life and am certainly an opinionated layman. I generally like what he has to say, but fair use is a risky place to play. The law gives some guidance on what it is, but it's wide open to interpretation (and if you want anything more codified you have to dig through hundreds of pages of industry recommendations and case law, assuming those cover situations like the one you're interested in... and don't think industry recommendations are unbiased).

If I were on a jury deciding whether fair use applied, I suspect my reasoning would boil down to this: in a given use case, does Google allow me to read the substance of the article without seeing ads or doing whatever else the owner would normally have me do to generate revenue for them?

And I suspect that comes down in pretty good agreement with what Google's lawyer is saying; but I always do worry when people throw non-sequiturs into their copyright arguments, like "I'm really helping the copyright owner"... maybe; so what?

Re:Google Lawyer Alexander Macgillivray's Blog (2, Interesting)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502379)

And I suspect that comes down in pretty good agreement with what Google's lawyer is saying; but I always do worry when people throw non-sequiturs into their copyright arguments, like "I'm really helping the copyright owner"... maybe; so what?

That goes to one of the four factors of the fair use test -- the effect upon the work's value in the marketplace. So it's actually not irrelevant. If my use of your work makes your work MORE valuable to you rather than less, that's a good argument that my use is fair (assuming enough of the other factors are satisfied).

The common argument is wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27502617)

He makes a pretty common argument that Google News actually helps every news service as opposed to the AP's claims of hurting them (maybe even stealing from them).

Newspapers pay for their news gathering mostly with advertising. The advertisers are deserting the newspapers for Google.

A couple of things make the problem worse. Most people just read the headlines and story summaries on a news agregator and seldom click through to the original story where they will see the newspaper's advertising. The people who do click through often aren't in the newspaper's geographic area. Even if they do see the newspaper's ads, they aren't in a position to be customers of the advertisers.

Whatever Google says, and even if what they are doing is completely legal, the 'common argument' is just deliberately ignoring the facts. When all the newspapers are out of business, there will be no news gathering and Google (and Huffington et al.) will have killed the goose that laid the golden egg.

Yeah this reader's _____ (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27501977)

First they discontinued my evening paper & replaced it with the morning paper, which I don't like. Then the idiot delivery woman keeps throwing papers in the middle of the street, where they get squashed by passing cars (or disappear completely). I've complained but the news executives have done naught to fix the problem. What's this have to do with the article? It all comes-back to the same root problem:

- They care more about the almighty $$$ then they do about keeping the customer happy, and that is why they will ultimately fail.

Re:Yeah this reader's _____ (1)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502057)

Then the idiot delivery woman keeps throwing papers in the middle of the street, where they get squashed by passing cars (or disappear completely). I've complained but the news executives have done naught to fix the problem

Maybe you should just complain to the newsagent that employs her instead? Sometimes going all the way to the top isn't as effective...

Re:Yeah this reader's _____ (2)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502099)

I met Rupert in Melbourne once at some kind of technology convention, naturally he had no time for anyone before he was shuffled off in a luxury car to other more worthy members of the human race. He didn't strike me as having a single shred of decency, a man that has enough money in liquid cash to support the next 36 generations of his offspring in a lavish life of hookers and beer. Is it any wonder that these people at the top of the pyramid are not sympathetic to your messed up newspaper? After all, they have theirs printed on pure gold leaf with a person to read it from cover to cover for them. They don't live in the real world.

Re:Yeah this reader's _____ (1)

tpgp (48001) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502189)

a man that has enough money in liquid cash to support the next 36 generations of his offspring in a lavish life of hookers and beer.

Well, of course - he's trying to save enough cash to keep the next 36 generations of his offspring in a lavish life of hookers and cocaine.

Frankly, what else would you expect from a conservative?

Re:Yeah this reader's _____ (3, Funny)

tuxgeek (872962) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502237)

He didn't strike me as having a single shred of decency

Sometime tune into Fox News just for the hell of it
< 5 minutes will verify this statement

Re:Yeah this reader's _____ (1)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502163)

I stopped buying the local paper when they cut the size and raised the prices, along with firing a reporter who was excellent covering his beat(local bands, movies, entertainment along with in-depth news articles on trends and events) Now I read it online, ignore all the ads with AdBlocker and make it a point not to visit any of the advertisers that get through AdBlocker. If you look at their organization, they are very top heavy with management, but are slashing reporters and production staff, while crying about rising labor costs. Fuck them and their newspaper. It is the Winston-Salem Journal in case anyone is interested. Small town NC paper.

Re:Yeah this reader's _____ (1)

jacksinn (1136829) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502401)

Until I got to the end, I thought you were referring to the newspaper conglomerate I work for. It is awful how top heavy our organization is, they slashed benefits and pay, cut talented people (one of my friends was a person let go and HR said these group of people were chosen because the company is less liable for cutting them than cutting some of the more ineffective people because many of them are older) and are still refusing to concede that the internet is their most viable business option. I work in the internet division of this company and we're about the only branch that isn't losing money; but due to their practices, there is only half the staff today there was two years ago. I look forward to them either seeing the light or utterly failing.

DMN (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502761)

I used to read the Dallas Morning News. I started out when it was a quarter for the daily edition. Then, it went to 35 cents, then 50 cents. Then, they reduced the size, changed the fonts and layout to something I found hard to read, and raised the price to 75 cents. I quit buying the paper at that point. It was no longer worth the money. The last time I looked, it was up to a dollar a day, and two dollars on Sunday. Not an incentive to start reading again.

Re:Yeah this reader's _____ (1)

DeweyQ (1247570) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502181)

- They care more about the almighty $$$ then they do about keeping the customer happy, and that is why they will ultimately fail.

Conversely, Google in its early days passed on clearly lucrative opportunities to ensure that their end users were better served. Here's a quote from "The Search" by John Batelle: "...one deal with DoubleClick... would probably net the company millions... But DoubleClick's ads were often gaudy and irrelevant. They represented everything Page and Brin thought was wrong with the Internet."

I'm sure things are changing, as they do whenever a company grows to the size of Google. But Eric Schmidt's words sure sound brash enough to be from an upstart.

Change you can believe in. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27502219)

ut DoubleClick's ads were often gaudy and irrelevant. They represented everything Page and Brin thought was wrong with the Internet

That was until they saw the True Light - now if you look them in the eye, you can the $$$$s in their eyes.

Re:Yeah this reader's _____ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27502309)

First they discontinued my evening paper & replaced it with the morning paper, which I don't like.

Newspapers do that because they want an excuse to get rid of all their teenage employees.

Sunday only (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27502507)

I stopped getting a local newspaper because they wouldn't sell a Sunday only subscription.

I didn't want Thur-Sun for the same price.
I didn't want Sat-Sun for the same price.

I want Sunday AND only Sunday newspapers.

We weren't reading the other days and just had to recycle them. That sucked.

I was a newspaper boy many, many years ago in 2 different states. I had "Sunday-only" customers and was very happy to serve them. Then, the closer you were to the city that published the news, the more daily subscribers I had. At one place my Sunday subscriptions were 10x the count the dailies. At the other, much closer to the city, perhaps 10% got a Sunday-only subscription.

Please tip your newspaper boy for all those mornings he was up at 4am and walking during rain, snow, 40-below weather and placed your newspaper inside your outside storm door. For 6 weeks, I delivered with a broken foot, in a cast, double bagged to keep the rain out. I think I wouldn't tip anyone throwing newspapers from a car.

Re:Sunday only (1)

SkyDude (919251) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502813)

Please tip your newspaper boy for all those mornings he was up at 4am and walking during rain, snow, 40-below weather and placed your newspaper inside your outside storm door. For 6 weeks, I delivered with a broken foot, in a cast, double bagged to keep the rain out. I think I wouldn't tip anyone throwing newspapers from a car.

Coward, today it's nearly impossible to find a kid delivering papers for two reasons. The remaining newspapers don't want the liability of having an underage contractor get injured on the job. The other is there are so few subscribers on almost any one route it's difficult for a kid on a bike to cover the route. Adults in cars have been doing the routes for many years around the Boston area because they are so spread out and a driver can get it done more quickly.

Re:Yeah this reader's _____ (3, Interesting)

JerkBoB (7130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502651)

Then the idiot delivery woman keeps throwing papers in the middle of the street, where they get squashed by passing cars (or disappear completely).

Remember paperboys? Sigh. I'm old enough that I can claim to have been one of the last of that breed.

From what I heard, they phased them out in the years after I stopped doing it (late 80s, early 90s) because kids just weren't reliable about managing themselves. It wasn't that complicated, but it did require commitment to doing the same thing at the same time(s) every day.

The pay was peanuts, but it felt good at 11 to have some income on my own other than my allowance. And having an endless supply of rubber bands meant that I became a deadly shot with them (against assorted flying insects, anyhow).

Sigh... zzzwha? Gerroff mah lawn you damn kids!

Re:Yeah this reader's _____ (3, Interesting)

Noexit (107629) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502659)

One thing to remember about the newspaper business: The home delivery subscriber is *not* the customer. The advertiser is. Find a misprint in a graphic ad with color that you've placed and you'll get an entirely different type of response.

Re:Yeah this reader's _____ (1)

DeweyQ (1247570) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502789)

Actually, as an advertiser in the 1980s and 1990s I was shocked at how poorly I was treated. Granted I was placing very small 1/8th page display ads but getting to resolutions to my problems from anyone at the big media company was distressing. I have been on the other side too (as an editor at a newspaper) so I believe that it is just OVERALL poor management that has put the newspapers where they are today. Besides, the advertisers are best served if the newspapers deliver a happy, engaged readership -- so annoying any of your "customers" (real, intended, or imagined) is just not smart business.

Dirty Schmidt (5, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502017)

"Being as this is Google, the most powerful media aggregator in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?"

  Eric Schmidt's

This Just In... (5, Insightful)

Jawn98685 (687784) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502023)

When it comes to what news "consumers" want, Google CEO "gets it". Old media CEO's don't. Film at eleven.

OK, so this ain't exactly news, but jeezuz, how hard is it to grasp the fact that a large number of the eyeballs viewing your "news" arrive at your web site via a link on Google news?

Hey, Eric. Cut one or two of them off for a week. Given them a heads up first, and suggest that they pay attention to their traffic numbers. Then let's all ask their board of directors what they think of how things are going when no one "steals" their content.

Re:This Just In... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27502225)

" large number of the eyeballs viewing your "news""

Guess what, even more people get the chance to see the ads that Google serv.

I think its a tricky question. But face it, Google is using others work to make money, its not a favor to newspapers, thats just a side effect.

Re:This Just In... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27502637)

Google news does not have ads on it, at least when I view it.

So I'm not really sure what you're talking about here.

Re:This Just In... (1)

hal9000(jr) (316943) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502407)

What is news is that in 2009, this is still being discussed. The problem is the old guard running news sites don't know how or don't want to adapt.

Come on. Creating relevant content on a daily basis is hard and takes money. I read or watch the news and a dozen questions pop into my mind about the story, but finding the answers is work and the news cycle is so quick, that those answers can't be had in time.

Re:This Just In... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27502471)

What you said "Cut one or two of them off for a week" highlights the issue (that I'm neutral on here) that Google is able to exploit a monopolistic position (that of being probably the first port of call for all interested in news in an aggregate form) which is annoying newspapers.

In essence the media are being forced to comply with a new standard that they never had to before which will in the long run utterly transform media, in a way that most classic providers dislike (now).

Re:This Just In... (5, Interesting)

jacksinn (1136829) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502499)

but jeezuz, how hard is it to grasp the fact that a large number of the eyeballs viewing your "news" arrive at your web site via a link on Google news?

The president of the internet division of the newspaper conglomerate I work for actually said this in response to a manager suggesting working more closely with Google to improve SEO: "We don't want users to search for our site. We need to focus on the users who are on our site and make it easier for them to find the content they want via our internal search." Yeah. We don't want silly new readers. And we don't want readers to be able to find us on search engines. They should just know to come here and when they're here, they'll then learn how to use a search engine - our search engine. I bet our search algorithms are totally better than google's.

Re:This Just In... (1)

DeweyQ (1247570) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502679)

The president of the internet division of the newspaper conglomerate I work for actually said this in response to a manager suggesting working more closely with Google to improve SEO: "We don't want users to search for our site. We need to focus on the users who are on our site and make it easier for them to find the content they want via our internal search." Yeah. We don't want silly new readers. And we don't want readers to be able to find us on search engines. They should just know to come here and when they're here, they'll then learn how to use a search engine - our search engine. I bet our search algorithms are totally better than google's.

I am still laughing as I type up a response. I was going to get all articulate and give a few more examples of this same kind of attitude in other traditional media companies -- but this quote, and your illustration of how it highlights the really broken thinking behind it -- well, it was just brilliant. Thank you.

Click through (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27502027)

I wouldn't end up on these newspapers sites without the aggregators "stealing" their content. Going to a single source is like you have a political bias that you want reinforcing.

Having said that, I come to slashdot for all my Microsoft news so...

Lose readers... how about lose news sources? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27502071)

What he says seems pretty self serving. Sure they risk alienating readers. The problem is that google is pulling them away from their own web sites where they hope to generate revenue.

Income is already bad enough that papers are going bankrupt. Bloggers are not the most reliable way to get accurate news.

His argument makes sense to him because he draws revenue from being an aggregator.

I seem digital delivery from news papers within the next ten years and google will be cut out of it totally.

Re:Lose readers... how about lose news sources? (4, Insightful)

robably (1044462) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502321)

The problem is that google is pulling them away from their own web sites

Google isn't pulling people away - people are actively seeking news aggregators and Google happens to be one of the best. People just like to use aggregators when looking for anything, be it news, small ads, auctions, whatever. With eBay it makes it easy to find the best deal, with news it makes it easy to find more details or to get a more balanced view by comparing what different sites report.

If the newspapers wanted to they could provide their own news aggregator, showing news stories from other newspapers next to their own, and as a dedicated news site they could probably do a better job than Google. They just haven't grasped that it would work in their favour.

Re:Lose readers... how about lose news sources? (1)

RoverDaddy (869116) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502337)

Nobody is 'pulling me away' from any newspaper web sites. I never start there to begin with. Say I want to learn more about a current event, like Obama's visit to Baghdad (just an example). My first instinct is to look at a global news site like cnn.com. If I come up blank on my favorite sites, then I try Google News, which might lead me to the New York Times if the content is there. Even though the NYT, for instance, might be a decent source of global news, it will never be the first place I look, because it just -seems- so limited. Newspaper sites never seem to update fast enough for my tastes.

I -do- occasionally read stories from Boston.com (my local paper website). Why? Because I've placed their gadget on my iGoogle page. Before iGoogle I hardly ever went there.

These days CNN is also acting as an aggregator of sorts, as many articles linked on its home page are actually news stories from local TV networks. Is anybody in TV-land complaining that cnn.com is stealing local station website eyeballs?

I don't see myself ever paying for digital delivery of a specific newspaper. Why limit myself to one view (and pay for it to boot) when the whole world is available out there with or without Google? Nobody's going to put that genie back in the bottle.

The newspapers need Google to lead eyeballs to their sites. They're just so desperate they expect to be paid on top of that. Schmidt has called their bluff by pointing out that they can opt out at any time.

Re:Lose readers... how about lose news sources? (1)

Bucc5062 (856482) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502349)

Bloggers are not the most reliable way to get accurate news.

And the news media these is more reliable? Between the farce that is Fox, the corporate business owned CNBC as just two examples of less then reliable reporting, I would start to put my faith more in bloggers. There was a time when I was an avid reader of the paper. I felt I was reading news items, not spun facts to fit an editorial slant set by ownership of the paper. I still would prefer the paper over internet content, but I do not have the time to sit and enjoy a morning read. Sadly, it takes almost as long to weed through all the ad content on something like CNN.com as it does to read a front page article in the paper.

Re:Lose readers... how about lose news sources? (1)

nicolas.kassis (875270) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502381)

I'm sorry but that is not true. Google does not copy entire articles to google news but gives users a few lines from the article. If you have such a bad case of ADD that you don't read any full length article, you wouldn't even spend two seconds on the newspapers site anyway.

Re:Lose readers... how about lose news sources? (2, Insightful)

caeled (621124) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502843)

Pulling them away? Are you completly uniformed about the way it works?
I check m y news entirely through the google news site. *EVERY* single time I read an article
it takes me to the website.

Without google, the page hits from me and thousands of other users would never appear.

I agree with an ealier suggestion. Fine, lets have google go down the list and just stop aggregating their news.

Let their add revenue drop even further as page hits drop. Then when they want to be included again *CHARGE* them for it.

Google Provides the Consumer Options (3, Insightful)

dcm684 (1281754) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502081)

The behavior of the newspapers in regards to services like Google News has always surprised me. Google is providing the papers another means of distributing content, and its at no cost to the paper. Personally, if I see a snippet of news on something that interests me, I will click the link and go straight to the news source's website. I have always assumed that that is a desirable outcome for the news sources.

The only thing that Google does is provide the consumer with more options. Since I use Google News I am more likely to use multiple sources for my national and global news. I guess this scares the newspapers a little bit.

Re:Google Provides the Consumer Options (4, Insightful)

nicolas.kassis (875270) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502405)

Except they want to increase their profits and making google pay is an easy way to do it. If they complain they might get something more. I don't think has really anything to do with reality as much as with them trying to negotiate a deal.

The newspapers should do some user surveys (4, Insightful)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502083)

I'd be willing to bet that there's a growing chunk of the online population who, like my self, may read content from newspapers, but only do so through online aggregators.

I never check the NYT, Washington Post, NY Post, etc. directly - either the paper or online versions. If I read an article at any of their sites, it's because it's been linked to on a blog or came through in an RSS feed from an aggregator.

They're assuming that people use their websites the way people use their newspapers, and that's probably not the case anymore, and surely won't be in the future.

Re:The newspapers should do some user surveys (2, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502925)

They're assuming that people use their websites the way people use their newspapers, and that's probably not the case anymore, and surely won't be in the future.

It hasn't been the case for years and it will continue to not be the case in the future. They are doing exactly the same thing that the RIAA and in many ways the MPAA has failed to do...get users to view their content on their terms instead of their customers' terms.

I do not want to go to an advertisement filled website that takes 100 seconds to load due to widgets, unrelated information, and stupid third party bullshit that many newspapers have on their sites. I don't like RSS feeds that aren't full as I have no interest in clicking through from my RSS reader to read your content just so you can pretend that an advertiser got his money's worth because I may not have blocked the ad. I also don't want to click through an article to drive up pageviews so that you can compete with other news sites online and show your current and potential advertisers meaningless data about how many people read your site and how many eyeballs will see their advertisements.

I spend a lot of time every day going out and getting information in my local area. I sit through the city council meetings, I watch them online when I don't want to drive there in person. I scour crime reports, I contact state agencies to get restaurant inspection information, and I ask local municipalities to provide me with how much they are spending and on what. You know what I get paid? Enough to cover my personal Internet costs and a little more, sometimes. Sad thing is while I'm not pumping out 25 articles a week, I'm pumping out 7 or 8 that are more informative and don't read like a press release for the city discussed.

Newspapers need to cut back and go back to basics or rethink how you're moving forward.

There's a lot of unemployed newspaper people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27502089)

Imagine if Google News really became... Google News. They could produce their own centent, and then to the AP's horror, syndicate it themselves... or, syndicate it to online papers in exchange for allowing them to place the ads on those pages.

Google News Value? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27502123)

What will be the value of Google News when the real content providers shut thier doors?

This isn't Google's doing - I think they do help get people to the News sites, the problem is Craiglist - they have taken the classified revenue from the Newspapers and The internet in general - why buy a newspapaer or put an add in one when the web is free.

It is sad - the newspapers are the modern day buggy whip manufacturer. There is not a way to save them. The big difference is that there will be a gap before alternate sources of good content come on line.

+1 Google (1)

YouDoNotWantToKnow (1516235) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502141)

I don't think many CEOs would have the guts to say the truth so clearly.

Re:+1 Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27502825)

What he says is in his own self interest, so I wouldn't give him credit for that.

Newspapers are failing right and left, all over the country. We're talking about organizations that have been in business for 100+ years and still win Pulitzer Prizes on a regular basis. Most of them already have web sites with attention paid to layout, network bandwidth, advertising, community forums, video clips, and the like. Did all of them get stupid at once? Maybe, but Occam's Razor suggests that the problem could be that the regional print newspaper business can no longer be sustained, at least w/o drastic changes for which nobody has yet found the right formula. If that's so, then Schmidt and other pundits talking about newspapers pissing off readers is just malarkey (to use an old-school journalists' phrase). They are fighting for survival and better try something... and if that doesn't work, they need to try something else. Don't just sit there losing millions USD each year.

I'm a little confused (4, Insightful)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502143)

Can someone please explain to me what exactly is these newspapers are complaining about? I just don't get it. If Google stripped all the content off the websites of these newspapers and attached their own ads to it, then I would see the problem, but that's not what they're doing.

Google News directs you to the newspaper's website. If I get to a nytimes.com article through Google News, it's the exact same website as I would be served if I typed nytimes.com into my browser and navigated to the website. Same content, same ads. Google is giving them traffic, so I fail to see what the problem is.

Is it that there are also ads on the Google News page itself?

Re:I'm a little confused (2, Insightful)

Brahmastra (685988) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502193)

Their problem is, right below their article on google news, there is another perspective from some other source, right in front of you for you to compare and contrast. That is definitely harmful to toilet paper publications like the ones Rupert Murdoch owns.

Re:I'm a little confused (2, Insightful)

corbettw (214229) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502855)

I think the problem is that you didn't go to the NYT homepage (and see the ads there) before going to the article page (to see the ads there). So while Google is sending you to a page full of ads, you're still bypassing a different page full of ads. If Google (and other aggregators) weren't bypassing the homepages of newspapers, they would (theoretically, at least) get twice the revenue from each visitor.

The problem with this thinking is that the newspapers are failing to realize they are getting visits from people who do not normally visit their site. They should view this as a source of new potential customers, and market themselves accordingly. By checking the Referrer header in each request, they can add snippets to their news articles ("Welcome Google News Readers!", or "If you think Slashdot is cool, check out our Tech section", or some other variant). This is a golden opportunity for newspapers to extend their audience, and they're blowing it completely.

Forget this (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502171)

Maybe papers should stop alienating readers by printing endless, shallow ideological bullshit. See the Los Angeles Times for a prime example of editors living in reality distortion bubbles, and an editorial page that has expanded to encompass the entire paper.

I use google news (4, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502195)

I use it because I can set up email alerts that let me scan a multitude of newspapers for certain keywords related to my business. The newspaper conglomerates themselves COULD have gotten together and put together a similar service, but they DIDN'T. Now google news is the only service that offers this. It's not google's fault that they have dragged their heals and clung desperately to the old model of doing things for so long.

I'll say to them what I would say to the movie and music industry: Adapt to the new way of doing things or don't complain when you suffer for your stubbornness.

He may be a lawyer, but he doesn't understand (5, Insightful)

VShael (62735) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502199)

'These are ultimately consumer businesses and if you piss off enough of them, you will not have any more.'

He may be a lawyer, but he doesn't understand who the consumers are in the newspaper model.

Newspapers, like much of modern media, sell audiences to advertisers.
So asking the news media to think of their readers, is meaningless. They never do, except as a product to sell to the advertisers.

This is ultimately an Advertiser business.

Re:He may be a lawyer, but he doesn't understand (3, Insightful)

DeweyQ (1247570) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502329)

I can't see your sarcasm or irony flag, but I'll respond as if you truly meant it.

"Ultimately" is the key word that seems to be in contention. As you point out, you need to sell readers to advertisers. Therefore, annoying your readers and driving them away (which the newspaper business is doing with aplomb these days), will hit your advertiser-based business model pretty hard in the end.

I will absolutely agree that asking the news media to think of readers is usually meaningless, but that's because many don't seem to get who they "ultimately" serve.

Re:He may be a lawyer, but he doesn't understand (1)

scubamage (727538) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502469)

Are you kidding me? That's completely wrong. My housemate is a graphic designer/programmer for Tribune Media, aka the Tribune newspapers. 99% of their revenue does come from advertising, but hardcopy sales have been dropping for years, and with them, hardcopy advertising prices. At this point almost all of their advertising revenue comes from online advertising. Yes news aggregators show a short blurb, but to read the full article you are sent to the original website. Check Google News [google.com] yourself and click a link. You don't read it on google news. That means if you're interested enough to actually glace beyond the headline, you're going to be exposed to all the ads on their site when you are directed there via the link. Granted, the newspaper may lose the exposures on their front page, but seriously - how likely do you think it is that someone from Philadelphia would randomly pull up the LATimes website just to browse the headlines? What about even lesser publicized small town newspapers? Not very likely unless I have family there. Because of aggregators I see an interesting headline and go there no matter what area the site provides news coverage for. This provides tons of extra views to these sites from people who would otherwise be completely in the dark about the site's existance. Views, in turn, mean advertising money. Advertising money means they don't go bankrupt. Marketing motherf*cker, do you speak it?

Also as an interesting sidenote, the best place to advertise with a newspaper is the obituaries. They average over 100-1000x more hits than any other page, both hardcopy and web. Just a tidbit.

Re:He may be a lawyer, but he doesn't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27502493)

So asking the news media to think of their readers, is meaningless. They never do, except as a product to sell to the advertisers.

Finally, somebody gets it!

Non-car analogy: Think of the newspaper reader as beef-cattle at a farm. It is the farmer's (newspaper) job to get you to the butcher and onto the plate of the advertiser. The farmer doesn't really care about you in-so-far as you don't die too soon.

Re:He may be a lawyer, but he doesn't understand (2, Insightful)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502509)

He may be a lawyer, but he doesn't understand who the consumers are in the newspaper model.

Newspapers, like much of modern media, sell audiences to advertisers.

I agree with what you are trying to say 100%, but there is a bit of a tweak I'd make to how you are saying it:

For any product, there are the consumers of the product, and there are the customers who buy it. Those two sets may have zero overlap.

The consumers of a product are the actual users.

The customers of a producer are the ones who actually pay for the product.

The producer is only motivated to keep the customers happy. The producer is only concerned about the consumers to the extent that the consumers are also the customers.

For example, why do many brands of dog food have artificial color added (especially red)? Dogs really don't care if their food is meat-colored or not - they only care that their food is meat-flavored and meat-scented. But dogs are only the consumers here, and the dog owners (customers) want their dogs' food to "look good".

Why does the post office make it so hard to get off the junk mail lists? Because while you, the postal patron, may be a consumer of their service, the bulk of their money comes from the third-class (junk) mailers - hence the junk mailers are the real customer here.

While IT techs may be the consumer of operating systems and programs, it is the PHBs who write the checks - the PHBs are the customer.

Coming back on topic - while we the readers may be the consumers of the product the news agencies create, we are NOT the customer. The advertisers are the ones who pay - they are the customers.

Once you start making that distinction the motivations of the parties involved becomes clearer.

And I'd add another observation to the mix:

Many people are saying that the value in the product is investigative reporting - hence bloggers and aggregators are not a replacement for the "old school" news agencies. And investigative reporting is expensive, so the argument is that aggregators need old-school news agencies.

How expensive is it for Google to get Street Views of the whole planet? How expensive is it for them to get high-res photos of the whole planet?

Does AP really think that Google couldn't fund some Real Journalists to do Real News reporting?

Re:He may be a lawyer, but he doesn't understand (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502585)

Actually, both advertisers and readers are consumers. Both readers and the paper itself are products. This equation works from both ends.

Re:He may be a lawyer, but he doesn't understand (1)

Jessified (1150003) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502667)

I see your point, but the advertisers are only going to be happy if there are eyeballs on the newspaper. And you don't convince readers to view your news by pissing them off. Either way you look at it, the point remains the same.

Re:He may be a lawyer, but he doesn't understand (1)

rrossman2 (844318) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502867)

That's very true, but if Google only puts a brief quote from the article, enough to intrigue you, you'll click the link and head to the paper's web page.
Then they are now getting the revenue from all the ads they serve. Which with some papers I know (Centre Daily.Com [centredaily.com] (the worst) | Altoona Mirror [altoonamirror.com] ) has got to be quite a bit of revenue!

Guardian wants free money from Google (2, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502227)

The Guardian Media Group has asked the Government to examine Google News and other content aggregators [today.com] , claiming they contribute insufficiently to their income.

"The newspapers put their content up on the web for free and then Google, the freeloading bastards, tell people where to find it. We told them to pay up or stop using our stuff, and they said OK, they'd stop using our stuff! Not giving us free money is a clear abuse of Google's power.

"We need the Government to bring back balance, 'balance' defined as being able to make them give us money because we want it. You'd think the Internet wasn't invented to give newspapers and record companies free money!"

The newspaper group argues that traffic from search engines does not make up the cost of producing the content. "Ad revenue has collapsed, so search engine traffic doesn't bring in enough views to pay for itself. Our inability to sell ads is clearly Google's problem. It's also the BBC's problem, so we should get some of the TV licencing fee too."

The Guardian suggests the exploration of 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. Basically, they should just give us money because we want it. And the music industry too. How about a bailout? Go on, gi's it."

Another piece of the Bush legacy (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27502267)

The big media companies had over 8 years to start throwing hardball questions at ol W, their failure to do so has rendered them useless in my eyes & in the eyes of many Americans.

Nowadays, it is pretty much assumed that if you want the full story on any given news article you need to go to at least 3 different sources (with at least 2 of them being non-mainstream.)

I dont even bother with newspapers anymore, just like teevee news, theyre nothing but fear and fluff. You dont get anything in-depth stories except about the kitty-cat who found his way home over 1000 miles.

You guys made this bed, you lie in it.

What your reader wants? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502333)

That's like telling a TV network to care what their viewer wants.

Nobody cares about readers or viewers. What counts is the ads. Basically, the content is the necessary evil around the ads.

I happen to agree with the Newspapers in this one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27502347)

Google should not be summarizing content created by the news organizations. A Headline link like Drudge Report does is acceptable, that is well established practice, but to print that first paragraph is wrong without the authors consent. If the different news media chose to allow the content to be summarized then it is their choice. The creator of the media should be given the revenue from that first hit; where you decide if the story is worth reading or not, not the news aggregator. We have been spoiled with a lot of free content. We should not assume we have a right to it. Especially a media giant like Google.

Re:I happen to agree with the Newspapers in this o (2, Informative)

Nyxeh (701219) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502751)

Thats the thing. If they don't like it they can opt out at any time they want - there are plenty of technical fixes to solve this problem, so why are they resorting to lawyers?

Schmidt doesn't get it (1, Informative)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502357)

The average person wants everything for nothing. As long as they have the illusion that they're getting it, they're happy. That's the current situation.

Schmidt is a leech happily feeding on content provided by the newspapers. Their ad revenue is tanking because it's so easy to get news free (and that's exactly what people are doing), but the papers still have to pay their reporters and editors. Anybody who believes bloggers and those overpaid drones on cable news can do the job a decent investigative reporter does is a damned fool. Right now, the only people employing such reporters are newspapers (yes, I know there are exceptions...they're rare and irrelevant to the point). When real content is gone, Schmidt will happily switch gears to supply the latest images of some starlet's crotch...which is what a lot of people want, after all.

Meanwhile, the access to real information, which helps keep society free, dies off.

Re:Schmidt doesn't get it (1)

splat-boing (1406119) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502475)

That would all depend on what starlet's crotch Google plans to publish...I don't just want to see ANY starlets crotch...

Re:Schmidt doesn't get it (1)

svendsen (1029716) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502553)

You can't be serious? it costs money to actually do good research? You mean reporters who want to go into war zones to let us know what is going on would actually like a support structure in place and compensation for putting their lives in grave danger?

Maybe once all these people who want money to do reporting go away we can go to a free model where the state supplies all our news for nothing! No worries there...

Re:Schmidt doesn't get it (2)

DeweyQ (1247570) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502571)

Meanwhile, the access to real information, which helps keep society free, dies off.

The Internet has done more for freedom in society than any other single force.

Newspapers are indeed the only people employing reporters currently. Although journalism will not die, newspapers certainly will if they continue to willfully avert their eyes from the writing on the wall. We don't know what the outcome of this upheaval will be. But I'm pretty sure blaming Google and calling Schmidt names isn't a way to resolve it. I will once again point to Clay Shirky's article on the subject: http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2009/03/newspapers-and-thinking-the-unthinkable/ [shirky.com]

Re:Schmidt doesn't get it (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502763)

Do you know what a news aggrestor does? From your response I would say no.
Googles news searches news articles puts the headline and the first sentence or two foryou to view. They include a link to the source in question. If you want to know more you go to the source and their own ads.

News aggerrator only increase views for a source. While google gets some ad revenue while your on their site, when your reading the main article they get the ad revenue.

If AP was smart they would create their own aggerator. However the AP isn't smart they are just greedy and don't want to change anything even their own smelly underwear.

Re:Schmidt doesn't get it (1)

kai6novice (1093633) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502773)

I totally agree, I think the next step Google will take is to hire reporters and start their own e-news branch. So they have their own content. They can start hiring all the reporters that are fired from the newspaper company.

if it already happened is it "original"? (1)

royler (1270778) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502373)

the onion isnt in trouble, and they actually make up their own original news.

all reporters steal their content from things that happen in real life and theyre complaining that their "original content" is being stolen?

when you go to a newspapers website, are there videos? are there audio stories? is there good writing anywhere? i dont really see the attraction to not adapting to whats new, except for people who enjoy complaining.

using Google News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27502389)

,,,And how did I find this piece of news this morning? Why Google News, of course. I read the Times piece and /.

Also, the newspapers need to get a grip and read their logs and just see how much referral traffic comes from either google, or outside their local geo. I think they'd be surprised.

but frankly how'd we get good quality content (2, Insightful)

shakuni (644197) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502455)

if newspaper organizations do not have viable model. In essence good quality news requires presence of high quality tools and personnel that can be deployed rapidly across the globe to cover a wide range of events. If they cannot generate sufficient money from their effort and go down who will do this job ?

News aggregators need news for aggregation. I havent heard anyone in slashdot help address this fundamental challenge.

this is not a tirade against google or argument in favor of newspapers but just wondering what is the new model of news media that we are conceiving if all or most of the traditional news media go down. User generated news is has too much noise to have any validity and lacks quality and predictability.

News + search = peanut butter + jelly (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502459)

I strongly believe news and search go hand-in-hand, and news outlets can only gain from this pairing of services. If I'm searching for a tidbit of news I'll often get my answer on a non-local news website that I'd never have visited otherwise. For instance, in recent memory I've read some impressive technology journalism in a Salt Lake City publication, and other interesting pieces in the Christian Science Monitor and Al Jazeera, so I'm compelled to trust these outlets again in the future.

I trust Google enough that it will offer up the most relevant articles based on my search queries, and relevance is often more important to me than the source of my news. I suspect local newspapers, and even wire services like AP and Reuters, are simply afraid of suddenly having to compete on the same footing.

Schmidt's comments in TFA are absolutely correct. People are searching for news, and if you exclude your service from search you are effectively opting out of eager readership.

I don't understand why people read Murdoch trash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27502473)

His newspapers are gutter trash, pushing populist dumbness and overreaction to the masses instead of the news and reasoned analysis.

Any Brit who buys The Sun should be ashamed of himself considering the paper's record, including the reporting of the Hillsborough disaster and countless things since, including last week's G20 demonstrations where an innocent man (not a protester) was attacked by police and subsequently had a heart attack and died, and The Sun was well in there slurping up the police account of the situation hook line and sinker. Journalists! HAhAHA.

The Other Way (1)

UberMunchkin (1106101) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502521)

Personally I stopped reading newspapers years ago, they are a vastly outdated form of media.

I get my news from the BBC news website and a couple of other news websites on the internet, this content is paid for. The BBC collects a TV license fee from us here in the UK and some of that money goes to their online division. Sky charges a subscription to access their channels. etc.

I can get my morning headlines via RSS Feed on my cellphone, the BBC even do a mobile specific video area where I can watch headlines and news on my cellphone while on the train into work.

The news paper companies need to adapt to the changes in media delivery. Most cellphone companies offer an unlimited data package now, I'm with Vodafone and they do one for £7/month. So given that I can access all this news and content in real time on my phone, why would I want to buy a newspaper?

Gotta be careful (1)

bahwi (43111) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502531)

I've totally given up ABC news because it redirects so many times it thwacks my back button. Not on my PC, that's fine, but I typically read the news during down time the rest of the day, ex: waiting for food, before class, at the coffee shop, etc...

ABCNews is already gone, I wish google had an option to remove a news source. NYTimes killed my WM5 phone(as in crashed iexplorer.exe, not that difficult of a task) but I think they fixed it before I switched to the 'droid.

Newspapers shouldn't want traffic (1)

whencanistop (1224156) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502545)

I read this comment on the bottom of a Guardian blog yesterday and it rings true:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/greenslade/2009/apr/06/google-wallstreetjournal [guardian.co.uk] "Most newspapers would prefer a fraction of their current traffic in exchange for a core set of engaged, frequent, transacting users."

I'd argue that the 'would' should be a 'should'.

It's probably not what Google wants to hear, but more visits and ad views doesn't necessarilly help most newspaper sites as they won't sell out their ad inventory anyway. What the newspapers need to do is focus on building up a bigger core audience (through building authorative links to informative, well written articles) who are more likely to interact with the site and add value based on however the newspaper sees its business model. The real trouble is that they don't really have detailed business models at the moment apart from putting ads on the pages. However if you don't sell all your ads, then more page views does not equal more money.

This is Madness. (4, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502591)

I wrote a comment yesterday [slashdot.org] about how the newspaper industry has lost most of an entire generation of readers due to the declining quality of their product. Now they are standing to lose all of that generation, and the next one coming, by making their content effectively inaccessible.

Like it or not, most people under 30 get their news from the internet. Some will read the occasional newspaper, or watch the TV, or listen to the radio, but the bottom line is that they are spending more time online than all three put together. They're going to look for information and news online before they look for it elsewhere.

People want one click news. Google news, while it isn't perfect, is providing them what they want. An easy way to get the latest headlines, and to search for news topics that interest them and that may not have recieved general coverage. Think about what the service is doing. It's combining the strengths of online, national and local news sources, all in one feed. As a reader of news online, I can safely say that well over 95% of the news stories I have read online were come by via the Google news service.

Newspapers, for some obscure reason, don't seem to like this. Instead they would prefer to make it harder to find their content, and ultimately harder to read it. Imagine an online business that demanded that Google and every other search engine stop indexing their content. It would be lunacy, yet that's exactly what these newspapers are doing.

There is a fundamental law to Internet business, if I may:

If you put barriers between users and your online content, your site will die.

It doesn't matter how high quality your site's content is. If people cannot get past the barriers between them and it, they will turn to your competitors, one of whom will have information they can access quickly and conveniently. Time and again it has been shown that the more open and accessible a site is, the more traffic it will accumulate. True, there may not be much quality control on the traffic (Myspace, Gamespot, etc), but if your site is advertisement based, this will not matter a fiddlers to you.

So here is Google, doing newspapers a favour, by making their online content easier to acess and read, ultimately drawing more eyeballs to the ads on their story pages. And what do they do? They spit in Googles face and demand cold hard cash for every ten word story excerpt. It's lunacy. The product of minds either deranged or deluded. These people seem unable to grasp the consequences of their actions, unlike Google, who has understood the mechanics of all this from day one.

If the The Guardian manages to get its content delisted from Google news and other feeds, then the only effect will be that I, and millions of others, will no longer click into The Guardian website. It will be almost as if their site did not exist. And because people are moving to online over print news, these newspapers will lose an entire generation of not just online readers, but readers period. They are asking to drink hemlock, nay, demanding to do so.

I don't know who is running these newspapers. But whoever they are, they clearly do not actually understand how the newspaper industry actually work anymore. They seem to be like the bankers and economists in the financial industry, who knew so little about their businesses that they, against all reason, rationality and common sense, threw all their money, reputations and futures away for nothing. There is no logic to the decisions of management at these newspapers, yet they persist in this folly.

This probably points to some underlying pathology in the way western companies in general are run. They seem to be quite happy to lose every last one of their customers as long as they retain complete control over the dregs that remain.

Re:This is Madness. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27502869)

Excellent!

What about bookmarkers? (1)

aquickone (1393907) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502643)

When I find a news site that I like via google news I generally bookmark the rss and visit direct from there on out. I dont get what the problem is..

Re: Rupert Murdoch (1)

cagrin (146191) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502695)

Video [youtube.com] from the people at Barely Political with a lot of truth to it i think ;) enjoy.

Newspapers abrogated their social contract (5, Insightful)

Phoenix666 (184391) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502705)

long ago. It has been at least a decade, possibly longer, since American newspapers decided to stop reporting and become repackagers of AP feeds. If you saw Google News when it first started, that fact was so glaringly, embarrassingly obvious that they took it down. That is, every single paper they were pulling from had the exact same articles, pulled from the AP, with perhaps a minor title change or slight change to the wording. The San Jose Mercury looked almost identical to the Boston Globe.

Then you have the abject failure of newspapers to investigate and confront at least two of the biggest disasters to occur in the past decade, the thin fabric of lies the Bush administration peddled to take the country into Iraq, and the financial collapse that we're currently suffering through. They merrily went along with the charade. The Grey Lady, the New York Times, for instance stood four-square behind its shill Judith Miller then, and still employs the hack Adam Nagourney whose spintastic gibberish would have gotten his ass insta-fired at the New York Times of 20 years ago.

And the final vestiges of editorial spine are snapping. George Will published blatant, factually incorrect statements in an op-ed of his last month that the Washington Post has yet to even address, much less issue a retraction for.

Newspapers therefore abandoned their core value proposition, to be sources of useful information, a long time ago because it was cheaper. It's just taken a while for citizens and readers to realize that and act accordingly.

So really, the Internet is only killing what was already dead. But increasingly major investigative style news is being broken by bloggers and citizen journalists, so there is a hope that online real reporting will live again.

If you don't want Google to index your content (1)

martinmarv (920771) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502757)

Then block them. It's relatively simple, using the robots.txt file.
If you like, remove your RSS feeds and XML-based SEO site maps.

What's that? Your ad-hits have taken a massive decrease? Fancy that.

So what ? (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502765)

If people are reading your content at Google News instead of at your site, what does it matter if you're pissing off readers ?

Sometimes it's better to just step out and cut your loses than to worry about whether you're pissing anyone off.

In other words... (1)

keraneuology (760918) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502769)

1,500 newspapers all want to sue Google because it is now painfully obvious that all 1,500 papers in the country bought the same story from AP/UPI?
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