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AP going on offensive mode; for what?
AP threatening to sue aggregators
Hugene




msg:3887469
 8:35 pm on Apr 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

Wired just ran a story on AP, the news aggency, threatening to sue aggregators [blog.wired.com]:


As newspaper continue to founder and fail, the clear benefit of Google especially to direct hordes of traffic back to the original site is increasingly blurred by the anger and envy of newspaper executives over Google's ability to monetize aggregation at all while paying nothing towards content creation.

It has become virtually a populist notion among many in the industry that aggregators who scrape a headline and a paragraph are taking something of value, if not outright stealing, and not operating under a fair use exception even if they drive traffic to the source.

These two paragraphs sound quite misguided in my opinion.

First: "over Google's ability to monetize aggregation", I personally don't believe that Google News is a success at all, and even if it is popular (which I don't have the info to say), it is definitely not a commercial success. I don't think Google News is being monetized like AP thinks.

Second: "who scrape a headline and a paragraph are taking something of value, [...]even if they drive traffic to the source. ". This is wrong, a title and a paragraph can not be something of value, the whole story is the value. Unless the paragraph is long enough to tell the whole story, then this is just a quote, rightfully acknowledging it's truthful originator through a link.

I think AP are both over-estimating G and misunderstanding how the web works. They are just using scare techniques in order to get a hold of a part of Google's ad-generated treasury, even though it's not theirs.

What will happen if all their stories and all the newspapers are removed from the indexes? The fall will be instantaneous.

 

jdMorgan




msg:3887485
 8:49 pm on Apr 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

> What will happen if all their stories and all the newspapers are removed from the indexes? The fall will be instantaneous.

Which is likely why they don't simply use a robots.txt file to block Google's access to their content.

This seems to be the on-line/business equivalent of a suicide threat.

Jim

sgietz




msg:3887499
 9:17 pm on Apr 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

Let's milk the Google cow a little.

Marcia




msg:3887692
 5:26 am on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

Eric Schmidt had some advice for the newspaper industry on Tuesday:

Google CEO advises newspapers to innovate [latimes.com]

Google Inc. Chief Executive Eric Schmidt delivered Tuesday's closing keynote at the Newspaper Assn. of America annual conference in San Diego, conjuring up visions of an open, interactive future for the audience of newspeople.

The AP is confusing him:

On the recent fuss over Google's relationship with the AP, Schmidt invoked the multimillion-dollar deal through which his company pays the news association to host and distribute its content.

"I was a little confused," he said. "I'm not quite sure what they were referring to."

Here's the full audio of Schmidt's presentation [naa.org].

[edited by: Marcia at 5:48 am (utc) on April 8, 2009]

carguy84




msg:3888023
 2:27 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

What will happen if all their stories and all the newspapers are removed from the indexes? The fall will be instantaneous.

On the other hand, how many scraper sites would also fall instantaneously as well?

There's always a bright side :).

Hugene




msg:3888054
 2:51 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

AP also went after the Drudge Retort, and I think this is where the misunderstanding starts: not all news aggregators are like the Drudge. Actually, the Drudge is unique: low overhead (one employee) low infrastructure/tech costs (one single HTML page), but a very-high value added service (the manual selections of worthy news by a single human being) allow the Drudge to actually generate revenue. Other agregators do not come near the Drudge in terms of profitability. And, to repeat myself, the Drudge is not great because of the headline, but it is great because of which headlines it selects.

Also:
how many scraper sites would also fall instantaneously as well?

Scrapers don't really have to honor robots.txt so they can still scrape.

Hugene




msg:3888059
 2:55 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

Just to correct myself, I just went to the Drudge, its has evolved into a more complex web page, with a login and comments option. Still, at only 11898 members for a site with such traffic, I believe the comments are just added touch, the story selection is still king and the main driver of the Drudge's popularity.

incrediBILL




msg:3888219
 5:43 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

On the other hand, how many scraper sites would also fall instantaneously as well?

Most scrapers these days jumble content and mix it up with other similar pages so there wouldn't been enough coherent text from a single source to even call it copyright infringement.

All AP has to do is remove all their RSS feeds and install the following robots.txt
User-agent: *
Disallow: /

I seriously doubt that the AP would like the results.

FWIW, I've said forever that Google and the other SEs only have as much power as you give them and allowing them to be the portal to all information is a BAD idea, they should only index it, never be allowed to display full content.

[edited by: incrediBILL at 5:45 pm (utc) on April 8, 2009]

farmboy




msg:3888354
 7:47 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

I just went to the Drudge, its has evolved into a more complex web page, with a login and comments option. Still, at only 11898 members for a site with such traffic...

Where on the Drudge page do you see these things?

FarmBoy

signor_john




msg:3888468
 10:02 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

The New York Times has a "Bits" column on this by Saul Hansell under the title "The A.P.'s Real Enemies Are Its Customers [bits.blogs.nytimes.com]."

Marcia




msg:3888520
 11:20 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

Drudge has a sign up/sign in on the upper right of their homepage, and there's no charge. A number of publications have "join up" to view certain content, like the Washington Post & NY Times; with most all I've been to you have to sign up and get confirmed in order to comment.

One very popular political blog with many bloggers, including some "big names" is being called out by name today by a few other publications, for printing full articles from other sites without permission, and well beyond fair use. Actually, they do - and I expect the owner will be interviewed by at least one of the network news shows about it.

farmboy




msg:3888596
 1:17 am on Apr 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Drudge has a sign up/sign in on the upper right of their homepage,...

Not on Matt Drudge's site when I visit. I believe you might be visiting the Drudge SPAM/satire site. The domain of the real Drudge report site has both words in the URL, not just one.

FarmBoy

StoutFiles




msg:3888726
 5:13 am on Apr 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

The A.P. is just angry about being forced to gain a large profit from the internet, assuming printed news would always remain king. Now, it's forced to play by Google and Yahoo's rules, as search engines control the flow of information on the web.

weeks




msg:3888989
 2:09 pm on Apr 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

“If a newspaper runs a 26-paragraph investigation and a blogger publishes the entire story on his site, that is not fair use,” said one publisher who participated in the meeting. “Although Google will not argue that publishing all 26 paragraphs is fair use, Google and the other online ad services benefit by selling ads on that blog. The ad services are profiting from the improper use of our copyrighted material. We’ve got to put a stop to this.”
[newsosaur.blogspot.com...]

I agree.

StoutFiles




msg:3889040
 3:13 pm on Apr 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Instead, a number of them want to begin adding a bit of computer code to every copyrighted story and telling such online ad services as Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Value Click not to serve ads to any page containing a story carrying a copyright tag.

How would that stop someone from posting the plain text without the tags?

Although Google will not argue that publishing all 26 paragraphs is fair use, Google and the other online ad services benefit by selling ads on that blog.

Anyone who creates their own content would love to see this in action.

sgietz




msg:3889104
 5:01 pm on Apr 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

The hard news industry is a sinking ship, but there is a gigantic lifeboat called the Internet. Unfortunately too many people are too stubborn to jump on board. They keep hanging on, scooping water in a futile attempt to save the ship, postponing the inevitable.

I work at a newspaper, and I see it everyday. Trying to convince the old timers to embrace the Internet, is like running head first into a brickwall without a helmet.

AP wants to apply old business practices to a changing industry. It's simply not going to work!

I appreciate the observation by another poster that they could easily stop Google from scraping their site (or at least parts of it), but they choose not to.

weeks




msg:3889190
 6:31 pm on Apr 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

I appreciate the observation by another poster that they could easily stop Google from scraping their site (or at least parts of it), but they choose not to.

Yea. I work in the industry as well. I think newspapers should take a hard look at providing RSS feeds so freely. You want headlines? Let's talk about why and how, then you can get a feed. Maybe.

You treat your prime product with no respect, why should you expect others to respect it?

janharders




msg:3889300
 7:54 pm on Apr 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Instead, a number of them want to begin adding a bit of computer code to every copyrighted story and telling such online ad services as Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Value Click not to serve ads to any page containing a story carrying a copyright tag.

How would that stop someone from posting the plain text without the tags?

what'd that do to it? google can easily identify the match between both stories. they could easily say "wow, that story is also posted on big-news-site-xyz and they indicated to hold the copyright". I recently talked with a friend of mine who studies computer linguistics and he explained some of the techniques they're using to identify duplicate content etc. He's one guy who does that kind of thing on the side without getting paid. Google has hundreds of full-time-people working on that stuff. I believe, google could do that, and much more, easily. They probably tried it and found that they earn more if they a) support copyright infringement and b) keep alot of spam in their index.

I'm not judging, it's a wild world and you have to do what you have to do, but I'm pretty sure it's not a "oh lord, if only we could put and end to that plague" kind of thing

aleksl




msg:3889376
 9:24 pm on Apr 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Well, Rothschild and his information control in form of AP (also, Reuters, and many other news...read propaganda outfits)...right, they play by the rules themselves. Cry me a river.

The problem is not so much that Google is aggregating. The real problem is three-fold:
1) Newspapers loosing revenues and eye balls
2) Aggregators aggregate ... surprise here.. :) hence you can get a story from many different sources and GET AN INDEPENDENT OPINION...right that is dangerous.
3) these people (the super rich owners) are NOT USED TO not being dominant or in control

Well, AP, don't forget that internet is a dangerous place with lots of hackers who attack our national security....why don't your owner Sir Rothschild calls your buddy Rockefeller, and see if they can together come up with a bill to shut down internet...oh wait, you already did.

hutcheson




msg:3889451
 11:30 pm on Apr 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

>They probably tried it and found that they earn more if they a) support copyright infringement and b) keep alot of spam in their index.

>I'm not judging...

And a good thing, too. Otherwise a lot of good people wouldn't be walking around unhanged... ;)

kaled




msg:3889544
 2:33 am on Apr 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Google thinks they have the power here but they don't...

The news agencies (Reuters, AP, etc) should simply withdraw from the public internet altogether and operate a virtual private network to share data between themselves and paying customers.

Google looses, and the problem is solved. Maybe not so great for the rest of us that read news online, but so what, we are not their concern.

In reality, the internet does not offer a valid business model for news agencies or newspapers or, if it does, no one has figured out what that model is yet.

If Google want to employ reporters, etc and set up their own news service, they would, of course, be free to do so, but they won't make any serious bucks.

Kaled.

signor_john




msg:3889545
 2:50 am on Apr 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

In reality, the internet does not offer a valid business model for news agencies or newspapers or, if it does, no one has figured out what that model is yet.

The print no longer offers a valid business model for them, either. Advertising is moving elsewhere (think Craigslist and Monster.com vs. classifieds), and cash-strapped newspapers are forcing the AP to cut its rates.

Internet aggregators are the least of the AP's problems.

hutcheson




msg:3889580
 4:05 am on Apr 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

>The news agencies (Reuters, AP, etc) should simply withdraw from the public internet altogether and operate a virtual private network to share data between themselves and paying customers.

There's no need for such a drastic solution. Collecting money for content is trivial--a technical problem long-since solved by the prawn industry.

The simple-but-not-necessarily-easy solution? Shed the management drones that pull down mega-million-dollar salaries for generating nothing but rose fertilizer ... shed the ultra-expensive expensive equipment for large-scale conversion of dead tree pulp into material suitable for nothing but toilet paper ... reorganize the producers on the old cottage-industry model without all that dead weight ... and focus on generating content that is worth paying for.

The current "industry leaders" won't do any of that. That's OK, it's more opportunities for everyone else.

kaled




msg:3889798
 10:54 am on Apr 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

So far as I am aware, classified ads have never been a big money earner for newspapers so, whilst losing money in this area to online firms doesn't help, it's not of primary concern.

If you have a commodity that you can sell in the real world, giving it away online is rarely going to make sense. That is more or less the position that news companies are in right now.

When suitable readers become available, I agree that ditching paper will be sensible, but we are years away from that technology. (Something like a $20 light, thin, magazine-size device with electronic ink, even in black and white, is probably five years away, maybe more).

Kaled.

signor_john




msg:3890120
 7:08 pm on Apr 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

So far as I am aware, classified ads have never been a big money earner for newspapers so, whilst losing money in this area to online firms doesn't help, it's not of primary concern.

Classifieds are hugely important to newspapers, at least in the U.S., where--according to this article [inquisitr.com]--they represented 41.64% of newspaper revenue in 4Q 1997 compared to 28.84% in 4Q 2008. The same article speculates that "in dollar terms, the classified advertising market for U.S. newspapers may drop below $1 billion in Q4 2009 to only $904.35 million, down 82.75% from Q4 2005."

(The situation may be different in many countries outside the U.S., where Sunday newspapers tend not to look like wrappers for classified-ad sections the way they did until recently in the United States.)

weeks




msg:3890127
 7:16 pm on Apr 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

signor_john is right, classified ads were huge for newspapers.

But, I disagree with this statement of his:
The print no longer offers a valid business model for them, either. Advertising is moving elsewhere (think Craigslist and Monster.com vs. classifieds), and cash-strapped newspapers are forcing the AP to cut its rates.

There are papers makes good money and doing good journalism. Many of the major chains are stuck with a lot of debt from unwise moves. And, yeah, no one is making the money they were in publishing. But, money is being made and it's not bad.

Here's Associated Press' FAQ on this matter in Q&A format:
[ap.org...]

willybfriendly




msg:3890146
 8:05 pm on Apr 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Google's Alexander Macgillivray has solved the problem for AP et. al.:

Our AdSense program pays out millions of dollars to newspapers that place ads on their sites, and our goal is that our interest-based advertising technology will help newspapers make more from each click we send them by serving better, more relevant ads to their readers to generate higher returns.

Knowing how much Google (and other SE's) want to "help" the newspapers, perhaps it is easier to understand why AP is considering forming and operating their own aggregator system...

Unfortunately, as has been pointed out, the news, in and of itself, has not been a great source of revenue for newspapers. I suspect that Craig's List has done at least as much damage to their bottom line as has any combination of SE's.

londrum




msg:3890151
 8:22 pm on Apr 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

maybe online papers could concentrate on video stories for the major stuff, like BBC's iPlayer. then even if people aggregate them they'll still have their ads in place.

signor_john




msg:3890160
 8:35 pm on Apr 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Unfortunately, as has been pointed out, the news, in and of itself, has not been a great source of revenue for newspapers. I suspect that Craig's List has done at least as much damage to their bottom line as has any combination of SE's.

Yes, and the big problem for newspapers is that their business model is built around control of local advertising and readers--a strategy that simply won't work in the Internet era. If I live in Minneapolis, I might go to the Minneapolis daily newpaper's Web site for articles on the Minneapolis City Council or the University of Minnesota Gophers or the Twins baseball team, but I'll probably go elsewhere--to Google News, the NY Times, the Washington Post, or the Guardian--to find out what's happening nationally or in the world. (Why wait until tomorrow for a recycled NY Times article in my local paper when I can read it today at NYTimes.com?) As a result, the Minneapolis newspaper can no longer tell department stores, car dealers, etc. that everybody in Minneapolis who reads the news will be exposed to their ads.

To the metropolitan newspaper, having AP aggregate the news online is no better than having Google do that job. The only way to bring back yesterday's newspaper profits is to turn back the clock, so that advertisers in Minneapolis, Memphis, or Muncie who want to reach local readers will be forced to call up their newspaper reps and say "Sell me an ad."

willybfriendly




msg:3890170
 8:44 pm on Apr 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

To the metropolitan newspaper, having AP aggregate the news online is no better than having Google do that job.

I am not sure of AP's operations, but as a "cooperative" they really are a better option than Google - if they pull it off.

Generally, the way cooperatives work is to return profits in proportion to participation. If that is the case, then two things happen. 1. Profits are not being bled off by a third party, and 2. Newspapers are rewarded for greater contribution to the common good.

Still doesn't solve the problem of local adverts though.

This 40 message thread spans 2 pages: 40 ( [1] 2 > >
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