News Publishers benefit from Google News

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News Publishers benefit from Google News

Mon, 02/11/2019 - 17:33
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Interesting misfire of EU's Article 11 (according to Google). Article 11 is a proposed EU Copyright directive that would prevent quite a bit of the caching of content and inclusion of content Google does with its News pages.

According to Google:

Then there's Article 11. We reiterate our commitment to supporting high-quality journalism. However, the recent debate shows that there’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the value of headlines and snippets—very short previews of what someone will find when he or she clicks a link. Reducing the length of the snippets to just a few individual words or short extracts will make it harder for consumers to discover news content and reduce overall traffic to news publishers.

Let me illustrate this with an example. Every year, we run thousands of experiments in Search. We recently ran one in the EU to understand the impact of the proposed Article 11 if we could show only URLs, very short fragments of headlines, and no preview images. All versions of the experiment resulted in substantial traffic loss to news publishers.

Even a moderate version of the experiment (where we showed the publication title, URL, and video thumbnails) led to a 45 percent reduction in traffic to news publishers. Our experiment demonstrated that many users turned instead to non-news sites, social media platforms, and online video sites—another unintended consequence of legislation that aims to support high-quality journalism. Searches on Google even increased as users sought alternate ways to find information.

I don't know enough about EU law, but it seems to me the issue with online publishing isn't search. The problem with online publishing is that many of the business models being used by publishers aren't as profitable as they once were with print. In the long run, I think the only real solution for publishers is to be compensated by the reader (paywall) and not by the search engines that send the readers to them in the first place.

Comments, thoughts, ideas? Leave them below.