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Monday, July 20, 2009

Google Gets the Upper Hand in Battle with Newspapers!

Posted by @ 5:21 pm

googlenewspaper1Google has been locked in battle recently with some of the world’s biggest newspapers, but has called their bluff by announcing a simple solution to their problem.

Recently, media owners and high ranking officials in Australia, the United States and Europe have been attacking Google by arguing that Google steals their work by aggregating links on services such as Google News. The media outlets want Google to pay for the right to link to their content

Google have come out with a simple solution however, telling the newspapers that they can simply add disallow lines to their Robot.txt file and the problem is solved. This would see links to their content removed from Google and all other major search engines that follow the Robots.txt protocol.

Here’s what Google’s Josh Cohen is saying about it all:

Like all other content owners, are in complete control when it comes not only to what content they make available on the web, but also who can access it and at what price.

For more than a decade, search engines have routinely checked for permissions before fetching pages from a web site.

Millions of webmasters around the world, including news publishers, use a technical standard known as the Robots Exclusion Protocol (REP) to tell search engines whether or not their sites, or even just a particular web page, can be crawled. Webmasters who do not wish their sites to be indexed can and do use these two lines to deny permission.

So is this just a case of sour grapes for the newspapers wanting to make more money online? I can see how it would appear that Google is “stealing” the content, but surely they should be happy for the extra company exposure without having to pay for it. What do you think? Feel free to share your thoughts below.

Courtney Mills Courtney is an online marketing and communications specialist at ineedhits - a leading search engine marketing firm with over 16 years experience. Courtney has been living and breathing online marketing for over 5 years. She specializes in web and communication marketing, while providing news and opinion to online marketing communities.

View Courtney Mills's profile

Discussion (4 - comments)

I think there’s a lot going on here. Papers have begun spewing such useless dribble over the last decade or so that, on top of the internet impact, their own readership has dwindled dramatically. The web has become their home as more and more of the presses are shut off in favor of electronic media. Obviously, for those reasons, and a bunch more one could site, revenues are down. So yes, I can understand their frustration with Google snagging some of their content.
Google’s solution for excluding content available to search engine robots will only be beneficial if newspapers don’t exclude entire articles but limit it to headlines and a few sentences of copy that cause readers to click a link to their site. The stuff still needs to get indexed by the robots to be useful to the newspapers. Of course for those short snippets of indexed content to be of value, a lot of columnists will need to revert back to the basic rules of good journalism where content follows the logical sequence of order where the most relevant content is in the first few sentences of an article.
Since ‘real’ content seems to have taken a back seat to ‘opinion’ in the last decade or so, this might be a real challenge for some journalists.
If Google’s web presence causes that to happen, we can all be thankful for the better journalism that will result.

By Scott Adie - July 21, 2009

Having spent 9 years in the newspaper business I continue to be baffled by their approach (until late last year – no, I wasn’t downsized, I downsized myself). Links to ones articles are good things – most people I would venture to say aren’t replacing their local online newspaper with Google News aggregation – they are simply finding additional interesting stories to read. Having failed to grasp the opportunity handed to them by the internet newspapers are flailing about attempting to find culprits for their demise. It’s sad to see.

By Mark - July 21, 2009

Newspapers should take advantage of bots; they could set up snippets of articles for search engines to find and link these to the full articles for visitors to read the entire piece (for a small fee of course). Newspapers should leverage their content not hide it.

By Rick Vidallon - July 21, 2009

Some publishers are getting around this issue by manually including advertising links in their RSS feeds.

By Demonz Web Design - July 21, 2009

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