|Murdoch: I will block Google|
And challenge 'Fair Use' principles, thinks headline/snippet use is illegal
| 8:01 pm on Nov 9, 2009 (gmt 0)|
From the BBC [news.bbc.co.uk]
|The billionaire told Sky News Australia he will explore ways to remove stories from Google's search indexes, including Google News. |
Mr Murdoch's News Corp had previously said it would start charging online customers across all its websites.
He believes that search engines cannot legally use headlines and paragraphs of news stories as search results.
"There's a doctrine called 'fair use', which we believe to be challenged in the courts and would bar it altogether," Mr Murdoch told the TV channel. "But we'll take that slowly."
Ok, so we all know that he could simply prevent indexing, but I'm sure he's aware of that too. Seems the wily old fox wants to go much further than just that and seeks change the entire landscape of the web by making it illegal for anyone and anything to use text from copyrighted stories as search result snippets.
The ramifications are huge. How very, very interesting...
| 2:11 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)|
I agree the news industry is changing, but should Google be allowed to dictate the evolution of any industry, let alone one that is not its core.
There are a lot of things I don't like about Murdoch, but he calls a spade a spade, and that should be respected. He knows the industry needs to change, and to him online paid editions are the way to go. Who are Google to say otherwise.
Let's say I bring out a print paper, but don't hire any journalists. I simple print the top stories as a title and first paragraph would that be ok? Also I be selling ads in my paper, it must be ok, Google do the same thing with their news homepage.
Something has to give.
| 2:14 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|The problem with his content is that you can get it for free elsewhere |
Hardly. You just think it is free.
And when it is gone?
| 2:44 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)|
Google's made a killing off of other's content. After what, 10 years or so? we're not starting to see the beginning of some objections to one company generating ad revenue from another company's content and at the expense of the other company's revenue. Right or wrong, there's going to be some kicking back over this.
But traditional media's hardly clean either. They'll do whatever they have to to make a nickel as well. Our country's largest traditional media firm competes directly against me for clients (they generate and sell eads) and advertise heavily for their web properties in all their traditional papers...without any type of disclosure that it's a newspaper that owns the online property (online property BTW that has nothing to do with news. It's akin to Google's getting into mortgage lead generation).
| 3:02 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)|
I have never used Google News but being prompted to have a look by this thread I would say that the amount of content used with the links on the home page take "fair use" to the limits if not beyond. Actual searches look fine.
| 3:09 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)|
Several months ago when this story first appeared, the Robots.txt file for wsj.com and others specifically WELCOMED the Googlebot. At the same time, Murdoch was railing against Google. Now the files have finally been changed.
If they were serious about blocking Google, they would have started by having a little meeting with the web dev team and then using Robots.txt to start with. But they did not do that. Murdoch just started crowing about how Google was stealing their content.
I don't think the issue here is about not allowing Google to index content. It is about trying a new method of generating REVENUE.
I seriously think they are simply trying to get Google to PAY to index their sites.
And that is all.
Murdoch thinks that by threatening to take them to court they will cave in and agree to a settlement offer under the table where they PAY Murdoch for the "privilege" of indexing their sites.
That is all I see.
Business Formula: Google has money. How do we get some of it?
| 3:26 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|As a wild thought, if the news sector controlled how its content were indexed then it may prove very profitable, not to mention strategically sound, to invest in their own news-specific search engines and/or delivery platforms. |
I think developing a search engine for all of Newscorps' properties is a logical next step for Murdoch. After all, if he banishes Google, where else will people go to find his content?
|since no one is going to pay for news they can get from 10 other legitimate sources... |
|he has nothing other than the Wall Street Journal that is actually worth paying for. |
Having looked at the extent of Murdoch's holdings, I tend to disagree with Maximillianos and Graeme. It's way more than Fox News and the WSJ, that's for sure. And I suspect that at least some of those other legitimate sources are either part of a handful of other global media networks, or they took inspiration for their reports from a source that's part of a large network.
I'm no fan of Fox News, but not everything at Newscorp is of the same quality.
| 3:30 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|Murdoch thinks that by threatening to take them to court they will cave in and agree to a settlement offer under the table where they PAY Murdoch for the "privilege" of indexing their sites. |
Interestingly enough, if Bing were to pay to index the content, would Bing appear to be a better search engine for having Murdoch's content?
| 3:35 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)|
Most of what the Murdoch press puts out is comment and 'churnalism'.
Comment can be fun to read if you like the columnist. The rest of the time, it's just annoying spam.
But on the whole, the churnalism is just a waste of everyone's time and certainly nothing that anyone should waste their pennies on: it's just rehashed and padded press releases which you can get from source and newswire reports which you can get without the padding from the newswire agencies (Reuters, Associated Press, Deutsche Presse, Agence France Presse etc.)
I think this is a desperate measure, but I would like to see Murdoch go for it - society will be improved no end when politicians can turn around to the Murdoch press for the first time in a generation and say: "Actually, we don't care what you write. Haven't you noticed? You're not on the general public's radar anymore."
| 3:59 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)|
google are in a bit of a bind. because they can't start paying for content. if they had to do that then their entire business model would go down the tubes.
the vast majority of their money making content relies on rehashing other people's content for free. their only real expense is collecting it and storing it.
if that content suddenly becomes harder to get, then what are they going to do? they won't want to start creating their own content because that costs stacks of money -- as murdoch is trying to point out.
| 3:59 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)|
The business concept of the newspapers in the past was built on the fact that a newspaper could not be unbundled and the fact that a normal household usually only could afford to subscribe to one.
You could not buy only the sports parts of the New York Times and the politics part of the Washington Post.
And you usually were not able to compare several newspapers since most households only subscribed to one newspaper.
This is what has changed through the internet.
Publishers think, when they ban aggregators like google news, people will go to their website and read their newspaper from the first to the last page, like they did in the old times.
Fact is: This is not going to happen. This is not like people behave on websites - be it a newspaper or any other website.
If they want to go back they have to leave the internet altogether.
| 4:17 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)|
I think the real issue is that there is a battle going on for advertising money and Google is winning. You and I are creating content, tools and other media where Google is positioning themselves in the middle with automated technology and not paying for use of your media. Google and other SE's are profiting from everybody whom publishes a website..
Competition is huge in the trenches, however less at SE's.
In the long run, breaking our dependence on SE's is a good idea. Murdock see's the big picture, however I don't know that he has a better plan then the rest of us.
| 5:29 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)|
How many people actually listened to his interview before lashing out? I don't hold Mr Murdoch's newspapers (with the possible exception of the recently acquired WSJ) in very high regard, but the guy is definitely *not* an idiot. Sure, he may at times seem confused with various web terms. But he knows his market and he knows his advertisers.
His main point is that "sending visitors" is a false favor. In reality, even though it may seem like everyone is winning (newspapers gain traffic, Google... gains traffic), advertisements are a finite commodity and pretty much a zero-sum game. Since Google is pulling more and more for itself, there's less and less left for newspapers.
The second argument he uses is that people who came from Google's news aggregator are not very valuable to advertisers. This may sound strange to webmasters who think a page view is a page view, but I can see how that can be the case in the real world. In the real world, each newspaper sells NOT its page views but its reader profile. Quite possibly, injecting thousands of visitors from Google News dilutes that profile and not only doesn't increase revenue, it decreases it.
So, you have a double-whammy here: more ad dollars going to Google (less left to begin with) and an increasingly hard sell to advertisers.
Now, his logic with closing newspapers to Google *once* they launch a paywall seems backwards. If one believes what he's saying, newspapers *without* a paywall should exclude themselves from Google, and those *with* a paywall should promote their first paragraph teasers. After all, unlike a pageview, a dollar is a dollar.
| 5:44 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)|
loudspeaker, that is all very insightful, but I feel like if that was his position that he would have already removed his sites from Google.
The fact is he continues to stamp his feet and cry foul, but still has not taken the required steps to remove his sites from Google's index.
You have to ask yourself why? If his main point is that receiving visitors is a false favor then why continue to accept this "favor" from Google?
There are literally a dozen or so methods he could implement that would remove his content from Google and he uses none of them. Why? He knows what would happen if he did. His product is a dime a dozen, there are 1000s of free-lance bloggers/reporters that have the same info as his publications. He also knows the traffic sent from Google would all go elsewhere the very minute his site is de-listed..... he doesn't have anything special and he knows it. He would be replaced as quickly as a drug dealer on a high traffic corner after getting arrested.
My thought is that he can't let go of his dated business model and he seems more willing to take on the way people use the Internet and to change that rather than his business model. It is ridiculous.
| 5:51 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|There are literally a dozen or so methods he could implement that would remove his content from Google and he uses none of them. Why? |
for the same reason that we lowly webmasters cant. it would be business suicide because your traffic would plummit.
everyone who says "if you don't like google then block it" knows full well why that is not a serious business option.
we can either continue to give google our stuff for free or get punished with a lack of traffic. google has got us by the nuts.
| 5:58 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)|
I think he is perhaps making a stance on this from a technical point of view. Why should he change anything on his sites to opt out, when copyright law was never intended to be opt out. Google don't make the laws, any why do different laws apply online?
Murdoch is a lot of things, but he's no fool. He has a vision for the future of news, and it just doesn't include Google.
| 5:59 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)|
>In the real world, each newspaper sells NOT its page views but its reader profile.
This is a three-player game, and therefore inherently unstable. Two players can always gang up on the third, and one of those two always has a motive to betray the other and ally with the erstwhile-victim.
You're just looking at the content creation/distribution side, and that's not at all the whole story. Consumers have full rights in the game: in fact, if they leave, it's over and the other two lose immediately.
Google is doing two things, because it can. It's pressuring other DISTRIBUTORS (like Murdoch) by being so much more efficient at distributing: the WSJ spends more just to deliver a daily paper than it costs to buy a year's high-speed internet service: they could GIVE AWAY internet access to their customers, offer the paper online, and come out ahead!
The other thing Google is doing is joining with consumers to gang up on content creators. But they're giving consumers such a good deal, that consumers would be crazy to consider swapping sides in the three-way game.
Both of these gambits are made possible because Google is so efficient.
And it's so efficient because it focuses on content selection: nobody does it better. Now, I could buy a newspaper, but the sports page would be a total waste of perfectly good wood pulp. And so would 99.99999% of the classified ads, stock prices, unclassified ads, 90% of the political opinions, and so on. Google helps me backstab the content creators (who aren't doing what I want), whereas the newspaper was conspiring with those sportscasters, wrongheaded pundits, etc., to backstab me--to make me pay for what I really hate, despis, or simply don't want.
But because Google is so efficient (and can be so inexpensive), even when the forced-aggregators go under, both consumers and content creators will no longer see distributors as the great enemy: they'll both be wanting to ally with the efficient distributor. (In a three-way game, only the third-place player really has a choice about what to do. And, economically, Google can always be the third-place player, even while earning large profits, because of efficiency.)
| 6:07 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)|
I'm no fan of Murdoch, or his properties style of reporting.
But after reading this thread again this morning I flipped over to G News and took a look at the front page stories.
There was one from a Murdoch property that caught my eye.
EVERYTHING I wanted to know about the story was right there. No need to click through to the originating site.
I suspect that's the kind of thing he's really upset about. When a snippet (someone define snippet) conveys the bulk of the story is it still fair use? Especially when it tells enough of the story to make clicking through unlikely because the main info has been presented in the snippet?
The guy might have a legitimate argument.
| 6:42 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)|
"Why should he change anything on his sites to opt out, when copyright law was never intended to be opt out."
Would you not consider that specifically allowing Google access and including Google Sitemaps in your robots.txt is the closest you may get to "opt in". While it can be argued (and has been many times on this site) about opt in / opt out, the fact his sites have robots.txt that specifically refer to and hence welcome Google to index the content are in my opinion as good as "opt in" gets within the current technology. Once his webmasters take the approach to specifically "invite" Google within the robots.txt then the "not opting out isn't the same as opting in" argument is soon lost. Just my 2p.
| 6:47 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)|
>we can either continue to give google our stuff for free or get punished with a lack of traffic.
You've got a really bizarre attitude there. The same facts could be stated "we can either get google traffic for free, or we can be punished by having to give our stuff away".
But the real relationship is: "You let Google index your content, and Google gives you traffic. Or not. Your choice." If you tell Google to go away, it goes away: not with punishment, not with reward, NO DEAL. Or you let Google promote your content, and Google may reward you with readers.
Once you start thinking of yourself as entitled, and "failure to provide your entitlements as expected" as a punishment," then all is injustice (and, most people will probably think, richly deserved at that!)
| 7:19 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)|
@ hutcheson, londrum
I think an important point which is central to understanding the complex give-take, love-hate relationship both Murdoch and us mere mortals have with Google is the unfortunate fact of a hard limit to the amount of advertising available. It's finite. It's limited. Google is drinking from the same bottle. We all need to share, period. How?
We can have it all for ourselves by (simultaneously) turning off Google from our content - then nobody will be able to claim Google is stealing something if *all* the money goes to content creators. But that's not realistic because anybody who doesn't do it will benefit and everyone who does it will suffer. It's cold comfort knowing the market is healthier as a whole if you can't pay your writers or your web hosting fees.
Therefore, something needs to be worked out where Google is included - albeit perhaps in a more limited form than right now - in the equation. The important thing is to get the discussion going without allowing jerk-reactions of the type "don't like it? add google to robots.txt" to take over the conversation.
| 7:24 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)|
Forgetting everything else, there are very few of us here who would scrape news stories to the extent that Google does and hope to get away with it.
There are very few of us who would scrape content to the extent that Google does and hope to get away with it.
Am I right or am I wrong?
| 7:39 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)|
Did anyone made numbers with traffic and income?
How many does a news site for every free-reader-downloader?
Are you sure 1.000.000 subscribers at 25$/year won't make more than 200.000.000 uniques from Google or other search engines?
I did mine and my ratio is 11666: I could make the same amount of money if one of every 11666 readers of my site would pay 25$/year.
By the way I know perfectly that news are not free; I must pay to agencies and spend a lot of time writing myself. It's not cheap at all.
| 7:56 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)|
Google.com search results for 'sex' = 593,000,000
Google search results for 'news' = 2,500,000,000
Who would have thought just a few years ago that online there would be over four times as many results for news than s*x? That just gives you an indication (albeit simplistically) as to how big the stakes are!
| 8:10 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|But the real relationship is: "You let Google index your content, and Google gives you traffic. |
if that was how it actually worked, then i reckon even rupert murdoch would be happy. but google doesn't just index your content and stop there... they actually USE your content and make money off it.
google doesn't want their news page to act as a signpost to other sites, they want it to become the place where everybody goes to read their news. they want to make it like 'The Times' frontpage, filled with headlines and pictures -- which is what it practically is now. people don't have to go anywhere else to find out what's happening in the world.
Take the sports section. People might go there to find out who won the game last night. As soon as google has scrapped the scoreline and snippet containing the goalscorers and controversial events, then what is left? People have got all they need to know -- at no cost to google. we found out all the details, sent the reporters to the ground, paid someone to write the report, and google has just come along and nicked it.
That is not an index, like google claims it to be. That is the front page of a paper.
--- and the "google sends you traffic" argument only holds up for the first four or five papers that get a link underneath the story. the other 2,000-or-so papers who give away their content get absolutely nothing -- because they all get hidden behind an unappetising link which reads "all 2,000 news articles".
what has google given them in return for scrapping their content every day of the week?
| 8:43 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)|
>I think an important point which is central to understanding the complex give-take, love-hate relationship both Murdoch and us mere mortals have with Google is the unfortunate fact of a hard limit to the amount of advertising available. It's finite. It's limited. Google is drinking from the same bottle. We all need to share, period. How?
As a consumer, it's MY bottle you're drinking from (my eyes you're trying to obtrude yourself upon). Nobody has a right, or an obligation, to share with you. You have to bring something to the table--something good enough that someone will WANT to deal with you.
I don't claim it will be easy. If it were easy, nine million Nigerians in internet cafes (or 100 million moderately-well-educated people in poverty in any of another 100 third-world countries) would be doing it for pennies a day, and you'd be priced out of the business.
In the global economy, you have to do something WELL, and EFFICIENTLY. Or you don't get to share the bottle. (And NOBODY else will care!)
| 8:52 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|everyone who says "if you don't like google then block it" knows full well why that is not a serious business option. |
I don't know that. MSN doesn't know that. Yahoo doesn't know that.
It has been said in another thread that if losing Google kills your business then it isn't Google that killed your business it was you that killed it.
Are you suggesting that if Google went offline tomorrow that all our businesses would fail? That is scary to think that dependence on one company can be so great.
I am sick of Murdoch's posturing and his cries about abuse all while he continues to do NOTHING about it but whine and moan. His sites are no more special than mine.
|Why should he change anything on his sites to opt out, when copyright law was never intended to be opt out. Google don't make the laws, any why do different laws apply online |
Come on Mack, you know better. This issue has been decided in court more than once. Google didn't make the law, the courts did.
| 9:00 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)|
we are bringing something to the table. content.
what content does google bring? nothing. they collect up other people's content and repackage it in a different format.
maybe their format is better. but it's still our stuff that they are using. in any other walk of life we would get paid for it. but google has somehow managed to fob us off with the promise of "traffic" instead. but what's that? it's as if traffic has become the new currency of the web. google can settle all their bills with a few links.
 actually -- that is exactly right. google are arguing that they can use traffic as payment for the paper's content.
next time it goes to court the papers should argue that the payment isn't always forthcoming. google can't guarantee that we'll see any traffic at all. they are paying us in IOUs.
| 9:08 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)|
Here's a rather abstract look at the situation, for poops and giggles:
When the market's good, middlemen get created. When the market's bad, middlemen get axed. Rupert is in a bad market, and is concerned about being axed. But as far as "news" is concerned:
- You are Party #1.
- What happens in our universe (information) is Party #2.
- All others are middlemen.
Rupert's empire (and all news entities for that matter) brings you information that would often be difficult for you, as an individual, to acquire. Murdoch ensures staff, resources, and distribution for the purpose of providing you that information, and he expects you to pay for it. That's the transaction (whether or not it's honest or useful information is a different argument... and remember we're talking about ALL news providers here really.)
Google aggregates data from news sources AND individuals, and presents it to you using arguably the greatest algorithm ever conceived for locating data via keyword... in this sense, G is also a news provider - just that it's not its own news. But it does expect to make money in the same way as other new providers: by delivering to you information that you would have a hard time getting on your own.
Rupert is trying to save his market by axing the other middleman in the equation. This matter isn't legal or economical; it's philosophical. Would the public rather:
a) have no middlemen and no service expense, and be forced to take a personal visit to, say, Afghanistan, to find out what's happening there
b) have news providers like Rupert as the middlemen, knowing that the expense of the service goes (hypothetically) back into funding staff, resources, and distribution to continue making the service useful... and acknowledging the risk of having their news filtered and altered by a private entity
c) have news aggregators like Google as the middlemen, knowing that the expense of the service goes back to Google so that it can continue to provide quality aggregation... and acknowledging the risk of having their news come from a wide variety of individuals and small operations that may not be reputable, may not have done proper research, and may not be above making up stories for the hell of it
In short, it's an argument about controlled knowledge delivered from a private source vs. chaotic knowledge delivered from the public. Funny thing is, in theory, I'd actually take Rupert's side... but in practice, he and other news providers have taken such huge strides to be sensationalized tabloids that in many ways, they now carry the risks of both B and C.
Of course, that begets the next argument... does the public really want information from their news sources, or do they just want to be entertained?
[edited by: Don_Hoagie at 9:21 pm (utc) on Nov. 10, 2009]
| 9:18 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|and be forced to go by word-of-mouth or a personal visit to, say, Afghanistan, to find out what's happening there |
The press and the media (not Google) tells us what is happening in Afghanistan. How many journalists are employed by Google?
When the press report it Google scrapes it. No press - no story.
| 9:20 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)|
I disagree Londrum, Murdoch would be more worried about not making enough money off his web properties. In a sense that what it comes down to. I dont find any issue with Google doing that, if there web properties were so great they would go there without going to google. Also this is not 50 years ago, reporting is something that didnt have real competition but thanks to technology there is actual real competition to papers online but i reinterate online but NOT offline. Is it Googles fault that people no longer buy newspapers?
The problem is that google gives a level playing field to small publishers out there, they hate the fact that billion dollar companies have to compete with small publishers. Now what would horrify WSJ? Imagine if google just for fun(which they certainly could) paid a few hundred reporters around the world to write news and stories for them, i think all the newspapers around the world would have a triple bypass.
Look i think consumers and advertisers know what wsj is and where its located and that is not the problem, its more than people are no longer limited to just 1 paper anymore. The loss of control of a monopoly must be frustrating and thats the real issue.
If Murdoch wants more people to visit his site, the answer is simple why not PAY for more advertising on tv, internet and billboards, is it only good enough for companies to pay them.
| 9:22 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|How many people actually listened to his interview before lashing out? |
I did and, when I wasn't fidgeting and my wife wasn't hurling abuse at the screen. Murdoch was being typical Murdoch from way back from when I can remember him. His interviewer had to handle him with kid gloves because you don't make the "big cheese boss" look bad. ABC's Kerry O'brien from the "7:30 Report" would have been a far more informative interview.
Murdoch was his typical arrogant "born to rule" self, the "king maker" of governments because he owns about 70% of Australian print media and has great influence elsewhere as well.
The topic under discussion here was in fact only a small portion of the interview. He complains about Google among others on the internet. He equally complains about the Australian ABC-TV network as well as the UK BBC network. Both effectively government funded and he believes have an unfair competitive advantage over his own networks Sky News and Faux News.
The real situation is that these government networks seek to inform rather than influence their audience - thus undermining his own political agenda and, indeed he has one. Speak privately to journalists in his employ as I have.
As for Google's usage of content, he is in a no different position to myself. Would I ban Google? Not likely and if he did he would be cutting off his nose to spite his face.
A suicidal decision. Already put on the back burner.
Apart from WSJ the only online news outlet I know of moving to a subscription model is Asia Times Online. A prestigious, accurate and informative news outlet which is simply offering further in depth information ad-free to subscribers.
Most subscribers do so simply to ensure it keeps afloat.