Google Removes News Snippets From Complaining Publications In Germany; Publications Claim It’s ‘Blackmail’
It’s not just Amazon under siege by the entitled old guard special snowflakes:
Earlier this year, we noted a somewhat ridiculous and cynical attempt by some German newspapers to demand payment from Google for sending them traffic via Google News — and not just a little bit, but 11% of gross worldwide revenue on any search that showed one of their snippets. There were a few issues that we noted here: first, anyone not wanting to appear in Google News can quite easily opt-out. Second, Google News in Germany doesn’t show any ads. Third, those very same newspapers were using Google’s own tools to appear higher in search, suggesting that they certainly believed they were getting value out of being in Google’s index.
While German regulators rejected this request from the news publication industry group VG Media, Google has now decided to remove all news snippets from VG Media publications. It will still display results from those publications, but only in pure link/title format. Google claims it’s doing this to “remove [the] legal risks” from ongoing legal action from VG Media, but it seems equally likely that this will also decrease the traffic to those publishers’ websites.
VG Media’s spokesperson seems to honestly think that there’s some sort of moral requirement for Google to both pay for and show snippets. Again from Meyer:
The spokesman said VG Media was still in talks with the regulator about the case, and would add a complaint about this latest move. But how does this move harm consumers? I asked him. “Because they won’t have quality content in the future” if Google doesn’t pay for the snippets it uses, he claimed.
But surely Google actually helps publishers by sending traffic their way — do the publishers really believe that anyone sees a sentence-or-two-long snippet in Google News and then goes “Eh, that’s enough, I don’t need to click through”?
It’s difficult to see how this is anything other than “We failed to develop our own business model, so the company that did ought to just give us money.”
The message here is the same as with the Amazon complaints: they can’t compete under the rules they themselves crafted so the goverment has to step in to help them.