January 31, 2006 5:14 PM PST

Newspapers want search engines to pay

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The Internet has undercut the businesses of newspapers, book publishers and magazines for years and now these media are looking for ways to fight back.

Web search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, collect headlines and photos for their users without compensating the publishers a cent, according to the World Association of Newspapers (WAN), which announced Tuesday that it intends to "challenge the exploitation of content" by the Googles and MSNs of the Web.

The Paris-based group, which represents 18,000 newspapers, isn't discussing what action it may take. WAN executives said in a statement that they want to explore their options and added that they understand search engines help them in one way: aggregating content and packaging it for consumers. But WAN noted that Web companies also "built their business models in large part on taking content for free."

Agence France Presse has already filed suit against Google, alleging that Google News offers its photos and stories without permission.

The move by WAN comes against a backdrop of layoffs, falling profits and shrinking readership at the world's newspapers. Huge numbers of companies have shifted their advertising dollars over to the Net and polls show a growing number of consumers obtain their news from the Web.

On Tuesday, Knight Ridder reported a 22 percent drop in fourth-quarter profit from the same period a year ago. Deep-pocketed newspapers, such as The New York Times and Los Angeles Times have reduced staffing.

At the same time, the search engines have flourished.

"The irony is that these search engines exist, largely, because of the traditional news and content aggregators and profit at their expense," WAN President Gavin O'Reilly said in a statement.

36 comments

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I don't know about you, but...
I pay for internet access. I don't want to have to pay to access each site to obtain the information I am looking for. Go ahead... Start charging for the latest news... Soon the internet will be totally commercial and I will no longer need it! Hopefully I am not the only one. How about you?
Posted by chhooks (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I'm not sure you are on the right track...
See, you say you want to pay for your internet access and
nothing else. You want all content to be free. You want no part
of paying for any kind of service/publication/etc on the internet.
I think this thinking is flawed, actually.

The problem is that, in general, you NEED some fee-based
services. This is the basis of competition. Yes, I know there are
some sites out there that are successful AND free (Wikipedia
comes to mind). However, these types of sites do not make up
the bulk of the internet. I think you are fooling yourself if you
think that everything on the internet can be totally free and that
everyone will live happily ever after.

Like it or not, people like to get paid. This goes for people
providing a service (garbagemen, store checkers, etc, etc) AND
people providing their opinion (newspapers, magazines, books,
etc). You see, when you pay for a magazine in a bookstore, you
are not just paying for the physical material that goes into
producing that work (paper, ink, delivery); you are paying for the
intellectual material in that publication, as well.

That's just my two cents, anyway. So to answer your question --
I have no problem paying for access to news sites (IBD, WSJ
come to mind here).
Posted by astro13rm (6 comments )
Link Flag
Turn About?
MTV has always paid for music videos - why can't google pay for newspaper content? Let them trade advertising dollars aroound - google pays them per click with add space?

Sounds fair to me...
Posted by sydkahn (2 comments )
Link Flag
Exist because profit made from google news?
PLEASE tell me how google news is the reason that google exists? There are no, thats right zero ads on google news, and get this google was making millions before they even came up with google news.

This "WAN" sounds a like the RIAA, to afraid, slow, or ignorant to change their existing buisness model with the times. Than they complain when they stop making money.

Just look at NY Times online demanding a fee to view their articles when 1000's of other website offer the same information for free. If when the internet boom began NYT's offered all their content online, and free they could have established themselves as the online place to go. Than they could ohh.. I dont know... SELL ADS! but instead we will see the fall of the NYT's of the 20th century and the rise of the google's and yahoo's of the 21st...

RIP stuburn, old buisness model's...
RIP buisness that refuse to adapt...

We dont need you anymore
Posted by (27 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Exist because profit made from google news? Oh yes!
Isn't ignmorance Blissful! Get a hold of the financial disclosures of Google and similar companies, their 10k's, published books and and texts on how to interpretet this information and learn how to read them (the best information is at your public library, not online .... except for a substantial fee or license {ask any professional about these cost >>> clue: they are huge, which helps drive up the cost of the professions - you know law, medicine, CPA's etc.<<< )... they are free TO USE at your public library. You'd be shurprised at the shock about how wrong you are.
Posted by jesdog (66 comments )
Link Flag
Add ROBOTS.TXT, and presto...
...no web crawlers.

There, was that so hard?
Posted by 203129769353146603573853850462 (97 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Good point...
People use this method all the time for their personal sites -- I
think these companies can possibly do the same.

The problem is they WANT the exposure. It's like they want it both
ways -- exposure and money.
Posted by astro13rm (6 comments )
Link Flag
Absolutely
If you don't want to drive customers to your site by having a brief story on news.google or news.yahoo.com or search.msn.com/news similar sites then robot.txt your site and we will see you later...or not.

Stop trying to suck the teat of search engines when you see your model of doing business going under.
Posted by KsprayDad (375 comments )
Link Flag
Stop bitching!
I cannot believe these idiots that go around screaming "PAY ME!" SBC/AT&T is thinking about something similar. They want Google and MSN to PAY THEM to use "their" pipes. I'm sorry, we already pay you blood-sucking pimps a monthly fee for access. A monthly fee, by the way, that is up to 10 times as much as other telcos in other countries charge for far faster connections.
This all stems from the idiots at the top. The CEOs, the CIOs, the CFOs, and the army of useless VPs. They are far too out of touch with reality and do not understand technology. They are too old to do so. Even though these people at the top "say" that they are all about the Internet and support it, they are so quick to revert back to their antiquated past.
We, the Internet generation, will just have to ride this kind of lame BS out until we put these relics in rest homes. Only then, will the full potential of the Internet be realized.
Take heed you old farts, your day is fast coming to an end.
Posted by thenet411 (415 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Telco fees
This is off topic, but keep in mind that US internet access fees are not the highest, not even close, and they are actually below average. In most countries in the world we envy US ISP fees. For instance, I'm paying about $200 for 512Kbps that's effectively slightly less than 128Kbps.
Americans are always complaining about ISP fees, but it's just a handful of countries that have better rates than the US has. Most of the world has much worse rates. And some have rates that would make you want to sell your computer and go live in a farm.
Posted by Hernys (744 comments )
Link Flag
Stop insulting elderly
and ******** about the US internet access prices. Kindly tell us where on earth can you get internet access (unless gov't / city / school - sponsored) for 10 times less money than the US! It's dirt cheap, mobile access in particular, compared to Western Europe - my God, I pay 40 euros a month for 500 MB over HDSPA, check Verizon EV-DO (ok, a bit slower technology, but still good) pricing for all you can eat. At home, cable (ok, fast cable at 16384d/1024u theoretically) another 60 euros for just 30 GB/month. And I am about 50 yrs old, and do understand the 'technology', although I have a degree in the most antique field, namely philosophy. I know this is off topic, but couldn't resist.
Posted by googey10 (27 comments )
Link Flag
Lame internet generation
did you say? Could be right. Take heed, your day is coming too you young fart ... you just aren't bright enough to see it coming. LOL!
Posted by jesdog (66 comments )
Link Flag
Biting the Hand That Feeds Them
In my opinion, Google News is performing a great service to many of these newspapers. By providing them with exposure, Google News is improving their readership---especially when it comes to the smaller and more obscure(local) newspapers.

How many people could recite the names of the 18,000 or so newspapers that are resisting this? This is where Google News is necessary---to bring them general exposure.

I use Google news on a daily basis, but I wouldn't be willing to pay for any of the content. If a newspaper wants to charge money to view their article online, I'll just go somewhere else and obtain the same information.

Just as there are certain newspapers on Google News that require registration in order to view their content, newspapers that desire having their content paid for will not be successful online---people will avoid them, and go elsewhere for their content.
Posted by Michael G. (185 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What Planet are you on?
Google doesn't pay ... they appropriate other people's work. And they do not increase circulation for any newspaper. Newspaper (and printed material in general) is declining in readership. Several conclusions could be drawn from this: People are getting blips of information in far less accurate form from the internet (because the bottom line, and not the details are important to them) and much of it is garbage (in >>>out); or, they are becoming more illiterate, or both. It remains to be seen, probably very soon, whether or which conclusion is true; or, alternatively, why this is so. But ... what if they are true?
Posted by jesdog (66 comments )
Link Flag
Say bye bye to viewers
Unfortunetly for these newspaper sites, there is nothing legally for them to do. Most information is not legally copyrighted in the first place, and secondly they are be cited as the source. Besides this has been tried before. People tried to sue google, for displaying their text on their site. (after they search.)
Posted by ryanmickyv (13 comments )
Reply Link Flag
We haven't yet, so that's a good sign
This reminds me how the post office wanted people to pay for email because the office was losing money over it.
Posted by casper2004 (267 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Exactly...
..when you click on a story on Google News, you are taken to the website where the story is posted. These people are making it sound like Google is harvesting all the news off their sites and re-publishing it on Google News. Google is DIRECTING TRAFFIC TO THE NEWSPAPERS' SITES! And they're doing it FOR FREE! How DARE Google attepmt to help sites by giving them more traffic.

Maybe the problem is that in the Google News results, you have 1,500 newspaper sites duplicating the exact same AP and Reuters stories instead of doing any real journalism, so people aren't picky about where they get that story.
Posted by DaClyde (96 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Protecting Outdated Models
Exactly!

To me, this is not all that different from stupid WRAL wanting to prevent people in its media footprint from being able to purchase an episode of CSI from Google or iTunes or whatever. Or Home Depot trying to demand that Ryobi not sell its products on its website because they wanted to sell them on the HD website and couldn't sell them as inexpensively as Ryobi could.

This is a bunch of scared chickens with their heads cut off trying to protect outdated models.

Maybe the opt-in process should be more manual. There are plenty of sites that would get more coverage than they do now -- and maybe even pay Google for the honor of carrying them.

Or, Google's system can each week randomly select 20% of its sources and omit them from the aggregation. In no time at all people will be returning, hat in hand begging to be reinstated.

This is no different than my next door neighbor looking in my window, seeing my big screen TV and then conspiring to steal it.
Posted by TV James (680 comments )
Link Flag
Newspapers are in trouble if they don't change their thinking
Newspapers are not getting it. A whole new generation is growing up using the web for news and information and the old guard newspapers are wasting time trying to figure out how to keep that market away from their content????

They are spending a lot of time trying to push a big snowball uphill. Let them keep wasting their time so we can take advantage of their stupidity.

Sorry guys, I still like to read the newspaper but I'm turning 50 soon and I don't see the next generation cozying up to the newspaper at all.
Posted by joezeppy (33 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Newspapers are in trouble ...
You could be right. We may all have to get use to not having any to read pretty soon, or the price becomes to restritive for it to be available as a mass media, and thus it becomes a specialty. As a source, the downside of single source information (e.g. the internet) is the concentration resulting from the single source which actually translates into concentration of power, less competition and less innovation, at least until something else comes along, if at all. In the meantime the "competition" on the single source becomes more and more illusory, like the emperor's new clothes. We are stuck with Windows superimposed over as the OS, with some Unix competition; but, the source remains licensed, .... and patented. Newspapers are getting it.... it's just that we are more vilneranle to the loss in the US because competition has, historically, made the mass media cost effective by competition. The competition was not licensed, i.e. unique multiple sources. On the internet that is no longer true and it is evolving inevitably into centralized control. Mas media will be eventually destroyed by the masses, and mass mentality. Could prove to be a tragedy.
Posted by jesdog (66 comments )
Link Flag
Aggregators are good for newspaper revenue, not bad!!!
I don't think newspapers are really getting it. Search engines/aggregators don't "steal" content or revenue from the newspapers. In fact, it's the opposite. They simply display the headlines AND LINK TO THE NEWSPAPERS' WEBSITES for visitors to read the stories. This is key. Visitors who want to read the stories are driven to the newspapers' websites, thereby increasing traffic and advertising revenues on the newspapers' websites.

Instead of discouraging this, newspapers should be providing RSS feeds etc. and using this as a selling point to their advertisers.

This reminds me of the inability of the record companies to embrace downloadable tunes back in the mid 90s. They spent so much time fighting the future that they missed the boat; if they had simply spend their time and money creating an iTunes model they'd be making billions by now online.

Bruce
Posted by bahead (27 comments )
Reply Link Flag
iTunes comparison doesn't work...
...because record companies get paid for songs.

Part of the problem is that news gathering is an expensive
proposition. Media companies spend large sums of money (a
basic investigative piece cost tens of thousands of dollars). That
was OK for a long time because media outlets controlled the
delivery vehicle and could make money.

Another part that releying on the advertising model to underwite
news didn't instill value in readers/viewers.

So now they have lost controll of the distribution and the general
public doesn't want to pay for site subscriptions beacuse they
can get a newspaper for 25 cents.

One of two things have to happen for newspapers to survive on
the internet. 1) The advertisning model has to catch up the
internet as a medium and prove itself successful (most Web
advertising currently follows old models applied to the Web) or
2) A distributor has to pay (like iTunes)
Posted by lenspeak (1 comment )
Link Flag
Aggregators are good for news
The only place that is really true is the BBC (or, to some extent NPR). But they are supported by government funding and oversight, and not the market place. You couldn't be more WRONG about the circulation and profitability of newsmedia. Your statement is not only absent of fact it is contrary to the facts. If you were correct, it would be logical that the newspaper publishers would be big supporters, and financial contributors. They are neither.
Posted by jesdog (66 comments )
Link Flag
And if google &c. DIDN'T index them?
Dear god, what a loss for the newspapers! I mean, they can easily make their sites invisible to search engines. But of course, that would be stupid of them. How do they have any basis for a suit?
Posted by JackFlibb (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
And if google &c. DIDN'T index them?
News stories are also subject to copywrite protections (under the First Amen.). Google et al. doesn't provide any news ... they essentially appropriate it. They have no investment or employees in the field gathering information. They have half-wits who sit in the silcon valleys of the US primarily figuring out how to get other people's efforts. And they don't just index. However if the printed media is gathering it for free for Google et al., then what the hell are you going to know about current events when the printed media has to fold up shop and doesn't exist anymore? Worse, who will have a monopoly on information (and the internet creates more garbage than fact)? Open Source exists, for example, to break a monopoly on who controls and licenses information (you think YOU OWN the document YOU created in Microsoft Word or Office? Ehh...wrong. Read your LICENSE agreement!) generated in Windows and on the web. It is difficult enough to research the truth with differeing sources of information, and countless agendas, and conflicting frames of reference. Internet information is rarely profound and typically superficial and visceral. If used as a TOOL for information access, such as to hard copy and printed media, conferences etc., it can be valuable; but as a primary source without a base providing the information, and the intellectual effort and hard work of individual behind it, it can just be another vapid television set supplying another flavor of "bubble gum for the mind".
Posted by jesdog (66 comments )
Link Flag
Cue Mr. Neilsen
Oddly in theme with &lt;<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.useit.com/alertbox/" target="_newWindow">http://www.useit.com/alertbox/</a>
search_engines.html&gt;...

Yes, search engines are in the same business as newspapers in
many ways these days, and they are being designed more and
more around being the hub of the browsing instead of passing
them off to the newspaper and letting them be the focus. Think
how Google handles a search for Madonna when you're looking
for music, you get a huge tout for Google Music, you're offered
album info and prominent links for purchases, and Google
makes a good share in partnerships for those promoted links.
Which online stores did you not browse? Did you ever make it to
the artist's site? Search engines are no longer in the business of
pushing you to the most accurate match as quickly as possible,
they want a share of your interest in the subject.

Looking at this hypothetically...

People who want a New York Times article will always know to
go to NY Times to search for it. For people *like* the NY Times,
they have the rep and the desire to make the Times a news
*destination* as much as Google News might be.

So the truth is if all 18,000 papers pulled out of Google, they'd
lose traffic, but they may just get more revenue per user
because users would commit to the site more PLUS the
newspapers would also get to screw with Google News'
relevance on news stories by pulling most of the "quality"
articles out of the system.

Of course, that means that Google would be left with only small
and medium-market papers and citizen media to pull from --
people who need the attention and don't mind the search
engines taking some of the share.

Which is why (and here's the prediction part):
* All search engines will ultimately create original content
* Big, well known media entities will wall themselves off
- Google :: L.A. Times :: AOL
* Syndication will devolve into promotion-only content for
commercial entities.
* RSS and feeds will be left only fully embraced by free media.
* Technorati's got a better shot at being the next Yahoo/Google
than we thought :)

Nothing like big money to make people throw up borders on
previously open spaces!
Posted by namtastic (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hah.
Umm, the assumption that age is what makes people unable to "understand the Internet" is rather ridiculous.

It has nothing to do with age and everything to do with mental flexibility and ability to adapt.

I know some 50-something techs who could run circles around any average 20-something you'd care to name. As a 35 year-old software developer, I know that some of my coworkers consider me too old (I even heard one "joke" that anyone over 30 should be "put out to pasture"), and yet I find myself -- with alarming regularity -- having to slow down and explain to them in small, careful words, why my software "just works" and works *RIGHT* the *FIRST TIME*, unlike theirs (which may incorporate many exciting "edgy" new techs, and yet still be a bloated, bug-ridden piece of doots).

Just because you spend most of your monthly income to support your "texting" habit doesn't mean you actually know jack about technology. Using it and creating/supporting it are two completely separate things. Those of us over 30 who are still doing tech are usually too busy actually doing the work that keeps the rest of you functioning to spend as much time bragging about our prowess as you young'ns do. We're usually too busy fixing your bugs.

Rather ironically, most of the heads the conceived of most of the Internet had quite a bit of gray on them.

On your other parts, about how most of this being about bloated, overpaid execs looking for an excuse for their salaries, I wholly concur.
Posted by prothe113 (32 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Amen
Funny, ain't it, how the young assume they'll never grow old? And how it seems like the younger you are, the more you (think you) know?

Heh. You're right -- to quote Stewie... when they least expect it, their uppance will come.
Posted by prothe113 (32 comments )
Reply Link Flag
They just want money
It's that simple. With the dawning of the blog era, mainstream news is finding it much harder to compete. I suspect that if they learned to move with the technology instead of fighting it, they could really capitalize on the phenomenon since they're the only ones with any real access to some news sources, but that doesn't seem to be the way big business... er, does business.

It seems that today the motto is "sue first, adapt later."
Posted by prothe113 (32 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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