Are anti-Google newspapers cutting off their nose to spite their face?

[Keyword: ]. So a Belgian court has ruled that Google must de-list news stories from French-language newspapers, the latest move in an increasing grumbling from newspaper executives who see the search engine company as profiting from their material. (Agence France-Press brought a similar case last year).

Margaret Boribon, general secretary of Copiepresse, the company who brought the complaint, (and responsible for the copyright interests of French and German-language newspapers in Belgium) is quoted as saying “Google sells advertising and makes money on our content,” although Journalism.co.uk helpfully corrects: “Google News sites do not carry any advertising, however Google search results, which can link to news stories, can carry paid for adverts.”

However, Jupiter Research analyst Benjamin Lehmann points out that by removing themselves from Google News, publishers may be cutting off their nose to spite their face:

“It is difficult to see what these organizations stand to gain in the long term from suing Google. By cutting themselves out of Google News, the Belgian press is only curtailing traffic to its online properties. Instead they should be competing to attract audience onto their sites via news feed aggregators, and adopting strategies to keep that audience onsite once they have arrived.

“Tactics for pursuing this strategy include:

a. Maintaining homepage-style navigation panels throughout site;
b. Embedding textual hyperlinks to related stories;
c. Selling banner and contextual advertising throughout the site;
d. Deploying audio and video to add value to stories.

In a nutshell, publishers should perhaps see the money that Google make off advertising as a fair ‘fee’ for the advertising and services that Google in turn provides for publishers’ content.

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