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Half of Google News Users Browse But Don't Click

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the just-browsing-thanks dept.

The Media 237

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from the International Business Times: "Nearly half of the users of Google News skim the headlines at the news aggregator site without clicking through to the publisher, according to new research. ... Outsell analyst Ken Doctor said in a statement that 'among the aggregators, Google's effect on the newspaper industry is particularly striking.' 'Though Google is driving some traffic to newspapers, it's also taking a significant share away," Doctor said. 'A full 44 percent of visitors to Google News scan headlines without accessing newspapers' individual sites.' ... With a number of US newspaper owners considering charging online, Outlook found that only 10 percent of those surveyed would be willing to pay for a print newspaper subscription to gain online access."

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Slashdot did it first (5, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839622)

So the newspapers are finally realizing what Slashdotters have known for 10 years -- nobody RTFAs.

My guess is that the newspapers that switch to a "pay model" are going to try to provide an aggregator feed that their editors will fill only with teaser headlines: "The Massachusetts Election" instead of "Brown Wins in Massachusetts." We'll see how that flies when the aggregators continue to display free news sources, such as NPR headlines.

By the way, for the rest of you who never RTFA, the summary above really contains all the useful information in TFA. There isn't a need to click through in this case.

Re:Slashdot did it first (1)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839656)

By the way, for the rest of you who never RTFA, the summary above really contains all the useful information in TFA. There isn't a need to click through in this case.

Useful summaries? KDawson and Timothy?

Hi, you must be new here.

Re:Slashdot did it first (1)

Zarf (5735) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839662)

By the way, for the rest of you who never RTFA, the summary above really contains all the useful information in TFA. There isn't a need to click through in this case.

So this proves that !RTFA is a viable and profitable strategy. Why criticize?

Re:Slashdot did it first (5, Insightful)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839682)

By the way, for the rest of you who never RTFA, the summary above really contains all the useful information in TFA. There isn't a need to click through in this case.

This alone is the reason people don't click through. The Fine Articles are often overstuffed piles of crap that are best condensed into a single cut-and-paste-able paragraph. After a certain number of wasted clicks, people become conditioned to only click when they really, really want to know more AND believe that the source in question is going to deliver more.

Re:Slashdot did it first (2, Funny)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839872)

Actually, I only click-thru for the comments.

(For those of you too young to get the joke, it was originally said by a comedian who claimed to read Playboy only for the articles.)

Re:Slashdot did it first (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839990)

And as further help, the parent describes that their comment was actually a joke. (Parenthesis are used to mark where the description begins and ends, like I'm doing right here and right now) --see?

Also, on a more metaphysical level, the parent is also suggesting that all content online is pornography. HTH

Re:Slashdot did it first (2, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840556)

Haven't you ever heard of infoporn [urbandictionary.com] ?

---- ADVERTISEMENT ---
Get your infoporn NOW by reading Wired!!! [wired.com]
--- ADVERTISEMENT ---

That's what those articles, stuff with ads and "Prev | 1 2 3 4 | Next | Last" links displayed are all about! I could go on an on about infoporn, but that, in itself, would be infoporn, right?

Re:Slashdot did it first (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840172)

Well, I only read "National Enquirer" for the articles, so... it's possible.

Re:Slashdot did it first (4, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840548)

What if they have two sources: one that costs money to read, and one that doesn't? How much extra trust does someone have to have in the news source to actually pay money to read the entire thing? In other words - how much would Fox News have to charge before a conservative reader decides that he's better off reading the NPR article?

I think we're going to have a very interesting shake-up coming in the world of news organizations. My belief is that if they stick to news as entertainment, they're going to be eaten alive by free, ad-supported blogs. Their only chance is in 60 Minutes style in-depth reporting on a topic. Note: this is not a comment on how trustworthy 60 minutes is, but merely on its format and marketing message.

Re:Slashdot did it first (1)

jayme0227 (1558821) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839704)

Those on Google aren't even reading article summaries, just headlines. I'm seeing a whole new trend in journalism. Just post one sentence, unsubstantiated statements and you have news! Hurrah!

Wait, what's that you say? This is already going on? It's called Twitter? I guess I'll have to check it out.

Re:Slashdot did it first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30839758)

Twitter journalism?

Re:Slashdot did it first (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839848)

Beats gonzo journalism.

Re:Slashdot did it first (4, Funny)

rockNme2349 (1414329) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839854)

Nrly hlf of ggl nws usrs dnt click thru to articles. News sites upset. Only 10% of usrs wllng to pay. Click Here [slashdot.org] for full article. ($10)

Re:Slashdot did it first (1)

mustafap (452510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840222)

Bad news for us hacks who are paid by the word

Re:Slashdot did it first (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840570)

I often don't click through to the articles. The reason is because I can see from the summaries that there is nothing there I want to read. I use Google News to search for articles about a particular topic, and often there aren't any relevant recent articles about that topic.

Re:Slashdot did it first (2, Interesting)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839710)

> So the newspapers are finally realizing what Slashdotters have known for 10 years -- nobody RTFA

The only problems with this if that, like on Slashdot, the titles are sometimes misleading. It occurred to me several times that I found points in the article that contradicted the newspaper title ;-)

In newspapers, the title is often chosen by another person than the writer, mostly for marketing reasons I would assume.

So in the end, we end up with people being misinformed on some topics ;-(

At least /. got a lot of comments which usually contribute to fix misleading titles for people who do not read the TFA. ;-)

Re:Slashdot did it first (4, Insightful)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839728)

So the newspapers are finally realizing what Slashdotters have known for 10 years -- nobody RTFAs.

Um, ever hear of a little thing called the Slashdot effect? Post your website URL, let's see if we'll read it :-D

Re:Slashdot did it first (2, Funny)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840128)

So the newspapers are finally realizing what Slashdotters have known for 10 years -- nobody RTFAs.

Um, ever hear of a little thing called the Slashdot effect? Post your website URL, let's see if we'll read it :-D

Oh, we click on them, sure, but we don't read them.

Re:Slashdot did it first (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839852)

By the way, for the rest of you who never RTFA, the summary above really contains all the useful information in TFA. There isn't a need to click through in this case.

*suspicious glare*

How'd you figure that out?

Re:Slashdot did it first (2, Funny)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839960)

How'd you figure that out?

From the RSS feed.

Re:Slashdot did it first (1)

Haymaker (1664103) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840024)

I actually saw this story on Google News before it appeared on Slashdot, but I can't say I bothered to click and read.

Re:Slashdot did it first (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840192)

A bit of data to add to all the correlations they are trying to do.

My interests include much of the world. I find things in Bangladesh as interesting as happenings in MessyTwoShits. But, worldwide, there are so MANY things happening, I can't even dream of keeping up with everything.

There are only 24 hours in a day - and I can't spend all of them reading news.

I scan headlines, choose the MOST interesting, and click those. When I've actually read somewhere between 6 and 30 articles. I've got tend to my own real life.

The Wall Street Journal may get 3 clicks this week, one next week, none the next, then 6 clicks the following week. So - how do they count me in their click-throughs?

Ehhh. If I find that the system actually takes my kind of news reading into account, I'll come up with something to throw another monkey wrench into the works.

Re:Slashdot did it first (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840204)

My guess is that the newspapers that switch to a "pay model" are going to try...

Well to me this raises a bunch of other potential problems for the for-pay newspaper market. What are the chances that you can get people to pay for the ability to read your articles if they're not even willing to read them when they're free? People can get "Brown wins in Massachusetts" for free-- you can't copyright that information. If people don't want to RTFA, then the newspapers don't have a business. There's no way around it.

Re:Slashdot did it first (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840238)

It just takes one reader to have access to the text of the article, and post a proper summary on their blog, and then they're back to square 1.

Re:Slashdot did it first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30840388)

In related news, half of marijuana users smoked but don't inhale.

Re:Slashdot did it first (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840502)

We'll see how that flies when the aggregators continue to display free news sources, such as NPR headlines.

As someone who does occasionally click through to RTFA (on google, not slashdot), I've noticed recently that FT.com articles are getting pushed to the top more often than they used to, despite their new policy of one free article per month.

Outsell Not Outlook (3, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839684)

Outlook found that only 10 percent of those surveyed would be willing to pay for a print newspaper subscription to gain online access.

The article says the same thing but what they probably messed up is that it's Outsell not Outlook:

With a number of US newspaper owners considering charging online, Outlook found that only 10 percent of those surveyed would be willing to pay for a print newspaper subscription to gain online access.

For its annual News Users' survey, Outsell asked 2,787 US news consumers in July about their online and offline news preferences. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus three percent.

Outsell found that 57 percent of news users looking for "news right now" go to digital sources, up from 33 percent a few years ago.

I'm guessing that was a spell checking/slip up. Not to be blamed on the submitter or slashdot editors but instead the IB Times.

Kind of like... (4, Insightful)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839694)

how many people read or skin the slashdot summary, but don't read the article?

Re:Kind of like... (4, Insightful)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839860)

kdawson ?

Re:Kind of like... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839870)

Or even the other comments.

Re:Kind of like... (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840176)

Slashdot has comments now?

Re:Kind of like... (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839880)

how many people read or skin the slashdot summary[?]

Very few of us find the summary big enough to skin. It would be like skinning a vole - too small to be worth the effort. However, skimming the summary is a tact[sic] usually taken by Slashdot readers, many of whom cannot seem to write a reasonable sentence (i.e., using capitalization, proper spelling, using the words they mean, plausible grammatical construction, etc.).

Re:Kind of like... (1)

DJ Rubbie (621940) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839968)

I think a number of slashdotters skip the summary also and go straight into the comments.

Re:Kind of like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30840324)

I only read comment titles to save my time. Wait, what was your post about, again?

Next up! Cover up magazines at stores! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30839696)

In other news, 99% of people read the headlines off newspapers in vending machines and in checkout lanes but don't buy the paper.

Now the real return on advertising is known. (5, Insightful)

strangeattraction (1058568) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839702)

So now the real return on advertising is known. 50% sounds rather good to me.

Re:Now the real return on advertising is known. (3, Insightful)

D'Sphitz (699604) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839742)

My thoughts exactly, what are they trying to argue, that 50% click through rate is bad? Come on that's phenomenal!

Re:Now the real return on advertising is known. (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840224)

That will go down substantially if they start charging or manage to opt-out of being aggregated. I for one have only ever read articles printed by Detroit Free Press, Baltimore Sun, the Huffington Post, and others because they are aggregated by Google and free for me to view online. That says nothing to the smaller operations that I definitely wouldn't pay to see aggregated.

What's the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30839708)

Look, the kind of person who is content to read just the headlines isn't ever going to pay to read the articles. Clearly they don't find them interesting enough, which isn't google's fault. Unless they're just worried about the ad revenue they'd get from that person visiting their front page once a day? I mean, I guess it would be fair to give some portion of the ad revenue earned by google from people looking the NYT's headlines to the NYT, but that's not what they're asking for.

Interpreted differently (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30839746)

Half of Google News users not only browse but also click through

That's funny... (5, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839748)

Because if I was going to unscientifically guess at the number of times I go to Google News and don't see any headlines that garner my interest enough to click, ~50% would have been it. This value would be lower when exciting news is breaking, and higher when it's just more of the same BS about whatever is occupying the current news cycle magnifying glass. "Tiger Woods also revealed to have bunions!"

What's next? "44% of people scan front page headlines of newspaper in newspaper vending machine without making a purchase, clearly indicating that Seven Eleven is stealing revenue from the newspapers." Noooooo, Seven Eleven is making their product more readily available, and if people aren't interested enough to buy it, whose fault is that?

Re:That's funny... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839986)

What's next? "44% of people scan front page headlines of newspaper in newspaper vending machine without making a purchase, clearly indicating that Seven Eleven is stealing revenue from the newspapers."

Exactly. I think newspapers were selling on the album model, before the internet you bought it just in case there was any interesting news. Now that there's a track = article model like with music, and people just aren't interested in 90% of what's in it, In any case, I'd love to see them try eradicating free news. The only thing that'll do is kill those who try so maybe the reminder can survive on the concentrated ad revenue.

Re:That's funny... (1)

tivoKlr (659818) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840076)

My experience, forced somewhat by my employer, is similar. The free wifi in our facility requires one to click through a EULA and hit an "I Accept" button. Now for some reason, they capture the URL you were attempting to access before the EULA page displays but they then just dump you on the google.com homepage. Since I'm on my iPhone (which if it would just run something in the background keeping the wifi connection active I would only have to do this once a day), I just tap the news tab to see what's happened in the world since I last hit "I Accept" a few minutes ago, and low and behold its the same crap. So shocking that I don't read much of it, nor do I really need to read 5 different takes on the same story.

Regardless there isn't a snowball's chance in hell that I'll pay for an online news subscription, I'll pay for usenet but not for real news.

Re:That's funny... (1)

Silentknyght (1042778) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840300)

if I was going to unscientifically guess at the number of times I go to Google News and don't see any headlines that garner my interest enough to click, ~50% would have been it

My sentiments exactly. But I'd also like to comment that usually the headline plus the two-sentence blurb tell me as much as the entire story. So rarely is the actual article a 'trove' of information, that my habits have been trained to [i]not[/i] read the article.

Re:That's funny... (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840308)

Because if I was going to unscientifically guess at the number of times I go to Google News and don't see any headlines that garner my interest enough to click, ~50% would have been it.

The question is, then, how many users do you count as? The article seems to claim that 50% of users just don't actually read any articles. Presumably the remaining 50% don't read every article but read articles sometimes. So if you visit Google News multiple times and 50% of the time don't read any articles, do you count as a single visitor who reads articles sometimes, or does each visit count you as a "user" and some of those users never read articles?

Ah, who knows? Lies, damned lies, and statistics...

Re:That's funny... (1)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840618)

I wouldn't trust a statistic I didn't guess either.

Gimme news worth reading (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839756)

Make them worth my time and I will click through and read them. That's essentially the problem. Let's take a look at the current international news: "New quake in Haiti." Ok. Whatever. "Obama signals he's ready to compromise on reforms." I already knew that and I might read it when we have a compromise, 'til then it's hot air. "Killing spree murderer in Virginia turns himself in." Don't care. "Geert Wilders in court." Don't care about a right wing asshole in Holland either. "Obama's first year" wake me when it's been his third, 'til then I can't do jack about it anyway (not that I could anything either then 'cause, well, I can't vote in the US). "Weapon lobbyist's testimonial threatening CSU" Duh. Who'd have though... Not interesting enough to click, though. "Italy's senate passing 'Lex Berlusconi'" He got promoted from King to God? He gets his way in Italy any way he pleases, how is this news? "Poland puts Patriot missiles to Russian border" Ok, that might be interesting enough to actually read it.

So, after reading all the "news", only one story was actually interesting enough (and could have some sort of impact on me) that it's something I might read. Everything else is either drivel, opinion or just plain pointless.

As a person who does this... (1)

TheAlkymyst (1695930) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839766)

I must say, if I saw any news worth my time, I might click through. As long as "journalism" continues being opinion pieces and small amounts of actual facts, which are never shown in an independent light, I'm going to keep reading headlines to keep my bearings, and then if something really interests me, I'll find independent coverage elsewhere, and form my own thoughts. If you want people to continue using your services, treat them as if they can think for themselves. We can, and we do.

One catch to that (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30839776)

Their research assumes that people who are going to google news actually used to visit the newspaper sites independently. I can say that I have never browsed newspaper sites indedpendently, but I do end up there some times from google news.

So the amount of lost advertising is probably smaller than they say it is.

Bullshit. (5, Insightful)

ChaosDiscord (4913) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839780)

This is a phenomenally stupid article.

The findings give further ammunition to publishers who insist that Google and other news aggregators are linking to their stories without paying any advertising revenue.

You don't need ammunition to support painfully obvious facts. yes, Google and other news aggregators link to stories without paying any advertising revenue. Brilliant sleuthing Sherlock.

Relatedly, if they hate having Google do so, it's trivially easy to get off the page. Why don't they? Because for all their whining, they know that Google does drive traffic to them. "I don't have a business model, and you do," isn't a valid reason to ask for Google's money.

"Though Google is driving some traffic to newspapers, it's also taking a significant share away," Doctor said. "A full 44 percent of visitors to Google News scan headlines without accessing newspapers' individual sites."

Those two sentences have absolutely nothing to do with each other, despite Doctor's and the article's author's implication that they do. What really matters is, what portion of those 56% visitors would not have visited the news site in the absence of Google News. I'm guessing the answer is less. New result: Google is a net win for news sites.

...only 10 percent of those surveyed would be willing to pay for a print newspaper subscription to gain online access.

In related news, almost no one is willing to pay for a DVD to gain online access to the movie. If I wanted to read the physical edition, I'd subscribe to that. If I want to read the online edition, asking to subscribe to the physical edition is insane. At my last apartment I got the Sunday paper for free. I did get some small amount of value from it, but I ultimately specifically requested to not get it because it wasn't worth the hassle to throw it away.

The effect of aggregators have been particularly challenging for the media industry, particularly among the recent downturn of advertising revenue.

The article has shown nothing of the sort. It's entirely possible that in the absence of Google News that total news consumption would drop.

Re:Bullshit. (1)

Geekenstein (199041) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840398)

Relatedly, if they hate having Google do so, it's trivially easy to get off the page. Why don't they? Because for all their whining, they know that Google does drive traffic to them. "I don't have a business model, and you do," isn't a valid reason to ask for Google's money.

Google has drawn away direct traffic to these news sites into their own service. I don't believe its so much "hey, thanks for the traffic!" as "Well, a little bit is better than nothing..". Removing yourself from what has become your only option is not helpful when it just hurts you. Of course, we're both playing on opinions here since there is no evidence either way.

"Though Google is driving some traffic to newspapers, it's also taking a significant share away," Doctor said. "A full 44 percent of visitors to Google News scan headlines without accessing newspapers' individual sites."

Those two sentences have absolutely nothing to do with each other, despite Doctor's and the article's author's implication that they do. What really matters is, what portion of those 56% visitors would not have visited the news site in the absence of Google News. I'm guessing the answer is less. New result: Google is a net win for news sites.

The implication is that if the users were not skimming Google News' headlines, they would instead be skimming them on the content provider's site, and whether or not they actually found an article of interest, the provider would end up with the view and the ad dollar.

The article has shown nothing of the sort. It's entirely possible that in the absence of Google News that total news consumption would drop.

Not sure what your reasoning is on this statement. Is Google somehow forcing people to visit Google News? If not, why would people stop wanting the product if Google did not offer it? News is not a medium created by Google.

My take on Google News is this: Harmful to large organizations who have their own clout to draw viewers on brand recognition (Reuters, ABC, CBS, etc), but helpful to smaller news sites without that level of draw.

Which, if you look at who exactly is complaining, plays out as true.

Or perhaps it is you, media people... (5, Insightful)

ruiner13 (527499) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839784)

Maybe if you actually wrote your own content and didn't rely on the AP wire to write your headlines & stories for you, people would see your UNIQUE headline and article and click in to read your news instead of the 700 other versions of the exact same content? All Google has really done to hurt your business model is expose how much of your precious content is just AP regurgitated schlock. People have realized that there is no reason to go to one site or the other, since they're all the same. With that being the case, you might as well just click on the one that looks like it would have the least offensive presentation, and frankly, all of your flash ad laden pages and pop-ups just don't have that appeal.

Re:Or perhaps it is you, media people... (1)

DeadPixels (1391907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839936)

I can't count the number of times I've tried checking various news sites for information on a current story, only to find that they're all copy/pasted AP content that doesn't tell me nearly enough of what I want to know. If more sites actually created their own content, I might be more willing to read them.

Also, unless every newspaper decides to go to an online-subscription model, I don't think it will work out. The newspapers that still provide their news for "free" will get all of the visits, and thus, they'll be able to charge more for ads on their page, and increase their revenue.

Please include your target in the actual post. thx (1)

mattwad (1643895) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840148)

about half way through that post I realized who the hell *you* were talking to.

Re:Or perhaps it is you, media people... (1)

kd5zex (1030436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840506)

Posting to remove an unintentional moderation.

Not Interested (5, Insightful)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839792)

Okay, lesse here ...

Entertainment News, nope, couldn't care less [scrolls]

Sports News, nope, couldn't care less [scrolls]

Random Feel-Good Stories, nope, couldn't care less [scrolls]

Domestic News, government officials are still corrupt, stock market is still iffy, another auto maker is filing Chapter Whatever, [scrolls]

International News, emergency relief in Haiti still ongoing, continued tribal disputes in the Middle East, China still has internal issues

Okay, so it's the same crap as yesterday, and the day before that. I'm a bad person because I don't want to re-read a story regurgitated from several days ago? And the news outlets are upset that the recycled content isn't generating revenue?

Re:Not Interested (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839988)

It's a great time to be the next Nostradamus, though. I'm fairly sure I can make a few predictions that will come true. And I will even be more accurate and to the point than old Nossy ever was!

Here's my predictions for 2010. Bookmark it in case you want to find out if they come true.

Something will emerge that shows how some three letter agency abused anti terror laws to break constitutional rights.
The economy declines more and more and even the bailouts won't save anyone, actually, they make matters worse.
Some economy expert will say so, and nobody will listen.
Climate change will be proven to be due to pollution, only to be immediately be refuted days later with the ultimate proof it ain't so.
Sarkozy will pass another law to the benefit of his buddies or his bi... I mean, wife.
Berlusconi in turn will pass one that keeps him out of jail.
We find out about a new terrorist attack angle, immediately followed by a company offering the remedy.

I mean, seriously, that's not news. That's simply predictable as can be.

Re:Not Interested (1)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840322)

When I go to an actual newspaper's website, I click FAR fewer links than 50% of those available to me. Does this mean the newspaper is taking a significant share away from itself?

No ... clearly the FA is talking 'bollocks'.

Re:Not Interested (1)

holiggan (522846) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840510)

Don't forget the stories that go something like "OMG! New research found out that 100% of the people that died last year were previously alive! Being alive can lead to death!"

Seriously, I hate the panic waves that the media creates. Bird flu, swine flu, mad cow, bla bla bla. They blow it all so out of proportion that you either just ignore it all, or you will never leave that permanet panic state, waiting for the next "deadly thing".

That's why I've stoped watching news on the TV a longggggg time ago, and I just skim the Google News page, just as TFA describes.

I can even honestly say that I get more actual "news" during my daily blog reading time than when I read the "old school" media sites, either newspapers, TVs or whatnot.

The death of traditional news (2, Interesting)

terraformer (617565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839798)

This has been a long time coming. The key to survival will be those papers who know how to adapt. The WSJ has adapted under one model successfully. The NYT will fail if they pick up the WSJ model, though some similarities may work. What will end up happening is sites that provide free news will be doing it as a loss leader for other content. That news though will be vapid and likely filled with advertising bias and other impurities. Those behind larger pay walls like the NYT, Salon, etc will find limited niche markets of those wanting more substance in their news reporting.

Re:The death of traditional news (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840040)

That news though will be vapid and likely filled with advertising bias and other impurities.

Like a newspaper, in other words?

Perhaps they should write things worth reading (5, Insightful)

EEBaum (520514) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839804)

A huge portion of newspaper articles (though not as large as the portion of television news segments) are fluff, not worth reading. If you can get all the information you need from the headline, maybe the article wasn't much worth writing anyways.

Maybe if newspapers were to write more articles exposing the horrendous fustercluckery going on locally and abroad, making meaningful commentary on artistic endeavors, giving relevant information on local events, etc. rather than living off press releases, whitewashed statements from politicians, and reprinting AP/Reuters feeds, people might be more inclined to read them.

Hell, one somewhat respected (though less so lately) newspaper in my area reserves the back page of its front section for photographs of its readers holding up a copy of their paper while on vacation. Every day.

The very fact that The Family Circus is still in print is a testament to the utter incompetence and out-of-touchery of newspapers.

Re:Perhaps they should write things worth reading (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840136)

The very fact that The Family Circus is still in print is a testament to the utter incompetence and out-of-touchery of newspapers.

Either that or, truly, the end times are upon us and Little Billy is the Antichrist.

Re:Perhaps they should write things worth reading (1)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840340)

A huge portion of newspaper articles (though not as large as the portion of television news segments) are fluff, not worth reading. If you can get all the information you need from the headline, maybe the article wasn't much worth writing anyways.

[Citation needed]

As for the last part of what you wrote: Ever consider that the decline in human attention span [wikipedia.org] and the commoditization of news media might account for what you wryly observe as "get[ting] all the information you need from the headline"? And you would suggest that this is a good thing?

It's not just a substitute for news... (2, Informative)

ngc5194 (847747) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839806)

... a lot of times I don't find what I'm looking for.

I can't speak for everyone else who uses Google News, but a lot of the time that I go there it's because I'm looking for a particular story. A lot of the time I can't find it or it's probably too recent for the story to make its way through the cycle to end up referenced at Google. If that's the case, I don't click on anything, and I'll come back later or find the article through some other means.

Just because someone doesn't click through it doesn't mean Google is stealing page views from the original news source.

Wait a minute (4, Insightful)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839808)

So Google News, which is stealing content from other news sites without payment or permission, is actually sending half of its readers to the sites themselves? This will probably get modded redundant, but Murdoch is an idiot.

Not that bad (2, Insightful)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839818)

I know of a lot of advertisers who would kill for a 44% clickthru rate ... hell, I know a lot of advertisers who would kill for a 1/10th of that clickthru.

Fine, if newspapers are finally waking up to the 21st century, and wish to put content behind a paywall, then they should go for it. And Google should send them a huge bill every month for referrals to paid content.

In fact, if Google did this for all paywall sites, maybe there'd be less useless crap in the results. Tired of seeing search results for pages that when you clickthru to them, turn out to be behind a paywall / login page.

Isn't this cheating anyway, presenting one version of the page to Googlebots, but putting a wall in place for regular users ?

Re:Not that bad (2, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840084)

Cheat back. Use a browser that lets you identify yourself as Googlebot.

I think Google News (4, Interesting)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839822)

may hurt some of the big sites but most sites are probably helped out. I visit the CNN homepage less since Google News came out, but there are dozens of other sites that I've visited that would never have heard of if they didn't show up on Google News.

Re:I think Google News (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840062)

And that's exactly the reason why CNN, Fox News and other big news networks are so heavily against it. It's threatening their opinion monopoly.

I don't really understand the problem here... (1)

novastar123 (540269) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839838)

I honestly don't see what the big deal is.

Google is paying the bandwidth costs for all those people that don't click through, so they are saving those news sites some money.
And I'm betting a majority of the people who use google news, and the like, are more tech-smart than the average news reader, so
odds are they have a ad blocker installed, like I do. So these sites wouldn't be all the extra ad revenue that they think they will.

Yeah, yeah yeah, I know, ad blockers hurt site's. Sure, that is true, but those annoying ass flash ad's with autoplaying sound, and those ads
that cover the content, yeah, they make me want to hurt the sites owner. So I run a white list, sites I visit a lot, that dont have annoying ads, are whitelisted.
And any site that runs adsense ads doesn't get blocked either.

And as to the news sites that are considering charging for their online access, well, I am betting they will be going out of business, or reversing their decision shortly
after implementing that scam. Why would anyone pay to read a certain news papers website when they can get pretty much the same news somewhere else for free?

GASP! (2, Funny)

ryanisflyboy (202507) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839876)

You mean to tell me that 44 percent of visitors to Google News aren't actually interested in the listed headlines, and therefore don't click through!? Let me put this to the test...

"Democrats see Mass. message: Jobs, jobs, jobs" - boring, pass.
"Alternate supply routes could open Haiti aid bottleneck" - just got all info I needed.
"Americans See Economic Recovery a Long Way Off" - no duh.
"Airstrikes Target al-Qaida in Yemen" - woot, bombs, but I'll pass.
"Netanyahu turns fire on Abbas as US envoy flies in" - whattahootey?
"Powers 'shifting to sanctions' in dealing with Iran" - invasion timer started.
"Intel chief concedes errors in Christmas bomb case" - and?
"Michelle Obama to launch initiative fighting child obesity" - by dressing fashionably?
"Alleged dinner crashers invoke Fifth Amendment" - reality TV series coming to NBC in spring.

Didn't click on anything, until I got to my custom filter:
"Twisted Physics: Scientists Create Knots of Light" - Oh wait, this is from fox news. Never mind.

Re:GASP! (3, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840426)

I dunno, I'm pretty interested in finding out what errors Intel could have made with regards to the Underpants Bomber. Is it related to the FDIV bug?

Same reason as movies (1)

Joucifer (1718678) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839878)

I don't click through 99% of the stories for the same reason I don't go to 99% of the movies. Whoever makes the preview(headline) is way better at their job then who ever makes the movie(article).

Probably Better % Than Newspapers (1)

uiucgrad (325611) | more than 4 years ago | (#30839962)

This is probably a great percentage compared to the % of people that read the headlines of a newspaper at the newspaper stand never buy a paper.

Re:Probably Better % Than Newspapers (1)

musicalmicah (1532521) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840288)

EXACTLY what I was thinking. I don't even pick up the FREE weeklies here in Seattle most of the time, but I still glance at their covers.

maybe so, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30839992)

..news.google.com is still my 3rd best referrer.

50% is amazingly good (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840030)

I'm actually astounded 50% of people would click through anything. The fact the conversion rate is that high means that the news sties would be insane to cut out Google.

bullshit spreading contest (2, Insightful)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840066)

So, assuming the stats are all right, the conclussion is... well bullshit?. So, in fact google news users click HALF of the links they find... That's a lot of traffic. Since google news tends to show the same news multiple times. And since some news sites are not worth clicking. And since many users probably did not find the news they were looking for... 50% is actually a huge number.

Google could actually fix this if they wanted to (2, Insightful)

BlackSabbath (118110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840078)

If for some inexplicable reason, the news industry starts going insane and declares that they are putting up pay-walls everywhere, then Google could head 'em off at the pass by agreeing to split their advertising revenue from news.google.com to the publishers whose article blurb's are shown for a given page view. Of course, the assumption here is that news publishers could be made profitable with just a bit more advertising revenue. If they are out by an order of magnitude, then this "solution" won't save them either.

As an aside, I'm a keen Google news lurker, however I will sometimes click on a link belonging to a news publisher other than the main one whose article blurb is shown. That's because I choose to boycott certain publishers. I'm not sure if gNews is adaptive or not (I read while logged in) however so far it doesn't seem like it.

Re:Google could actually fix this if they wanted t (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840482)

No, what google should do is charge them to be included in the listing. They don't have to be mean about it either. If it's behind a pay wall, then they just don't spider it unless the owner specifically requests to be added, which, for a fee, is always possible.

The question of just who is trying to eat who's lunch would be solved pretty quickly I should think.

Re:Google could actually fix this if they wanted t (1)

socz (1057222) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840586)

i reply because I like your name, I like the band and I do the same. I actually was very weary of one news provider, The Christian Science Monitor - because with a name like that, how could they NOT be skewed right? Well, I took a chance one day just to check it out and sure enough, it was good reporting. So I did some investigating, and what people told the woman who started it sure enough still affects them. But like she said, the content will overcome that problem. So I look out for preferred sources of news as well as those as I try to avoid.

I like to tell this story because #1 It's really about giving other ideas a chance - in this case it was worth finding out that the name does not make the company. #2 Maybe someday someone will remember this and give a company a chance and be greatly satisfied with their product - such as Hans-G who is now known as Hans Spree?

Newspapers don't own views, so nothing taken (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840092)

Though Google is driving some traffic to newspapers, it's also taking a significant share away

Newspapers don't own traffic, so nothing is being taken. Google is providing a competing product that half of users prefer to that the newspaper provides. Newspapers can easily provide a robots.txt which instructs Google to remove them from their news pages, if they think they would be better off that way.

Re:Newspapers don't own views, so nothing taken (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840504)

The benefit Google is deriving is that they get the content for free and post it. Now they may not be posting all of the content - although in some cases they do. Even with the limited snippet they show on search pages, this is seeming to satisfy 50% of the potential readers.

Now, if all news sources were to take the action of blocking Google there might be a point to using robots.txt to do so. However if only 99% of news sources were to do so it would be a pointless and futile exercise that would result in all of the news simply being gathered from fewer sources. End result of that would not be anything useful.

I think the problem is similar to someone deciding to have lunch on supermarket sample day by just going from sample stand to sample stand repeating as needed. If one person is doing it nobody really notices and at most they are just being an ass. If 100 people do it there is an economic impact. If half the people in the town do it the grocery store closes down.

We are at the level now of half the people in the town sampling and deciding that is enough.

purposeof headlines (3, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840114)

In the olden days headlines were written to attract potential buyers to newspapers. Believe it or not, above the fold headlines and content were given away for free! People were allowed to crouch next to newpaper dispensers or sometimesnewstands and steal several paragraphs of entire articles.

Depending on the headlines and the news day, some of these thief's might come around and buy a newspaper(here is another amazing thing, once you put your money in, you could take as many as you wanted!).

This is no different. In many ways it is better. Instead of seeing only the above-the-fold headlines, users can see many headlines which may increase the chance that the user will 'buy a newspaper', in this case view the ads. The newspaper no longer has to deliver the physical product, procure space to market the product, and deal with broken machines. Furthermore,the user does not get to read more than a few sentences of content. All those costs are handled by the news aggregator.

Of course, if your headlines are crap, no one will buy. And, of course,there are many more headlines to write as each article must sell itself. More work for those that are willing to do the work to reach readers.

wtf? (4, Insightful)

mirix (1649853) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840142)

So.. I go to google news, search "hamburger".
I find all the summaries boring, except an article about the hamburger festival in Abkhazia, which is what I was *actually* looking for. I then proceed to click on that article.

I had no intention of reading the other articles, I wasn't looking for them, so why would it be expected that I click on them?

"...according to new research..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30840186)

What research? All I see are a bunch of arbitrary claims made by a marketing company with no citation to the actual research done. Was the study peer reviewed and published in a journal? Was it double blind? How did the researchers handle statistical aberrations in their calculations? Until any of these questions are answered, this story has about as much credibility as anything coming out of Fox News.

Logic Fail:Correlation does not imply causation (1)

Required Snark (1702878) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840190)

The so called conclusion results from a failure in logic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation_does_not_imply_causation [wikipedia.org]

Nothing has been proven by the saying "A full 44 percent of visitors to Google News scan headlines without accessing newspapers' individual sites." So what? This does not show that readership has gone either up or down. The statement can be true and more readers go to the news source then without Google. News papers are failing on their own lack of content, they are just lookig for someone to blame.

Re:Logic Fail:Correlation does not imply causation (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840434)

I believe the point is that Google is making the news available in a fashion which satisfies 50% of the readers without ever having to go further. This pretty much means that Google, with their ads on their pages, is getting considerable revenue from the newspaper's content without giving the newspaper a chance to display an ad.

The clickthrough rate on the ads isn't significant - nobody is paying for ads based on clickthrough.

The causation here isn't significant either. The observation that the content is being snarfed up by Google and is satisfying 50% of the readers by itself is very important.

You can say that the content summed up by Google in their brief summary is good enough because of a general lacking in quality of the content behind the summary. But that is far more of an inference into the observation than is warranted.

Remove sources? (1)

Singularity42 (1658297) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840196)

I'd go further into the sources if I could remove certain ones. Fox News is almost a troll, and the Wall Street Journal seems to be not much better.

walking past the newsstand (1)

Bob the Hamster (705714) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840280)

Each morning I walk my dog, and I go past the newsstands on the corner. I always slow down and peer into them and read the headlines. I never buy one.

Reaction: My two cents on contemporary news (5, Interesting)

dogeatery (1305399) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840294)

First off, that 50% is a fantastic click-thru rate, though I'm sure they'll find a way to make the glass half empty.

There are so many great comments here that collectively sum up the news industry, especially reliance on AP and every paper having essentially the same content. However, I'm surprised that no slash-dotters have mentioned the obvious fact of many "articles" simply being paid ads. I'm sure many Americans are aware of this.

Last summer I attended the Mayborn Literary Non-Fiction Conference in Dallas (and hosted by my alma mater, UNT) and had my suspicions confirmed by fashion "reporter" Joy Sewing of the Houston Chronicle. In a presentation which essentially boiled down to a defense of her paper's increased emphasis on fluffy content, she let the truth come out with the following quote about fashion top-ten and gift lists: "If Macy's buys an ad in my paper, then guess what? Macy's is in my article."

Since hearing Ms. Sewing's admission, I've made it my personal goal to quote her to the world -- please pass it on! People like her are willingly turning journalism into a farce, even as they admit to knowing better. Shrugging shoulders and saying it's "Nature of the business" is saying you don't care about quality as long as you're getting paid. It also makes it more difficult for people like me to get work.

tl:dr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30840314)

tl:dr

This is why I quit going to newsstands (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30840334)

Because they bitched at me for scanning headlines and buying only a couple of papers, and not buying a hundred newspapers every time.

Yup. (1)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840346)

I also scan the headlines of the local newsrag in the newspaper machine before going into a restaurant. Haven't paid for one of those in the past decade either.

I read articles without clicking the links (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30840362)

I often read articles without clicking the links. Instead of clicking, I copy and paste the link in to a new browser window so there's no referrer information. It's not only that I'm clinically paranoid, but one of my hobbies is thwarting the aggregation of data about me online. The site I'm browsing doesn't need to know what brought me there.

Of course I'm guessing most people don't do that.

How is this different from any other industry? (2, Insightful)

ebakunin (160006) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840364)

When Yahoo and Google started giving click-thru data for advertising, as opposed to page impressions, advertisers were shocked that viewers ignored most of their ads. When Tivo starting giving viewing statistics to the networks they were shocked at how ineffective their ads were. Are newspapers only now learning that there's a huge difference between seeing a headline (an ad) and actually paying attention to it? Seriously?

Google's approach to this is exactly right. (2, Insightful)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840468)

Google is on record pretty much saying, "live with it or add a simple header to your stuff so we ignore you." It couldn't be more straightforward.

Rupert Murdoch has a pretty impressive media empire, and he's whining about Google News, but even he doesn't have the balls to add the header, because so many of his readers find his content through Google News. He's trying to get a coalition of major publishers to all pull out simultaneously, so that Google News loses most of its content and the users go away. I just don't see that working though. The absence of Murdoch material would hardly be noticeable on Google, and suddenly his competitors would be getting all the Google clicks while Murdoch gets none. That's not just less revenue. That's a real downgrade in relevance of his media empire as an opinion setter. Google is here to stay.

One thing I expect them to try: The linked articles will only be article-teasers, which all end with "to continue reading this article, please log in and make [some micropayment]." At that point, people like me would just use the mouse gesture for "back" and learn to not click on links to that source, scouring the other related links to get the same information without a paywall. But in the short term, that kind of move might generate a bit of revenue.

So like others have said, the present arrangement is as good as it's going to get for the article-producing media online.

You mean just like paper copies? (2, Insightful)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840488)

People skim magazine covers at a newsstand or the grocery store checkout, and the publishers must know this or they wouldn't put enticing headlines on the cover.

People look at the headlines in newspaper racks, that's why the newspaper put those headlines there.

And guess what? There's even a newspaper-specific piece of jargon for this: Above The Fold [wikipedia.org] .

Do these modern day publishers have any institutional knowledge? It looks like NOT.

News Worth Reading? (2, Interesting)

peterofoz (1038508) | more than 4 years ago | (#30840552)

Yup, i too am a frequent scanner of news article teasers and headlines and don't click through because, frankly, they don't interest me or I've already read them. I also drive down the street past 1000's of store fronts, advertising banners and billboards and don't often stop to buy stuff. I see 1000's of web adverts every day and don't click on those either (or very rarely). I would tell you what I'd like to read, exactly, except I don't often know myself until the fancy strikes me. And it changes from day to day. So keep spamming the news headlines out there and hope to catch a few readers with what they need when they need it.
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