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Open letter to Google from one of the biggest German Publishers
Martin Ice Web




msg:4663402
 7:33 am on Apr 16, 2014 (gmt 0)


System: The following 2 messages were cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4659095.htm [webmasterworld.com] by aakk9999 - 1:32 pm on Apr 16, 2014 (gmt 0)


Even the biggest german Publisher now warns for the power of Google in an article in the newspaper and an oopen ltter to Eric Schmidt.
Main message is that Google uses it monopole to push it´s own services and does not have any faire or transparent criteria for the competitors.


[faz.net ]


Mods note:
Axel Springer SE is one of the largest multimedia companies in Europe, and the third-largest media company in Germany [en.wikipedia.org...]
The letter is published in full in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

[edited by: aakk9999 at 1:31 pm (utc) on Apr 16, 2014]

 

turbocharged




msg:4663458
 11:25 am on Apr 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

Thanks for posting the link to that Martin Ice Web. What stood out to me, in addition to the monopoly reference, was this brief statement (translated):

"We are afraid of Google. I must say that once so clearly and honestly, because it dares hardly any of my colleagues to do so publicly."

I think it's good to see people of influence/with an audience coming out about their view of Google, how businesses are dependent on Google, the damage algorithm changes can inflict on the unsuspecting and the general fear many have in publicly stating their opinions. The author went so far as to say Google's power is no conspiracy theory of diehards and that Google impacts social order throughout the world. Some quite profound statements and an opinion I share in as well.

What I am seeing in the SERPS today is not much different than what I have seen for a long time. Minor fluctuations between big brands and a lack of small business visibility. Manufacturers that retail products they produce are still buried in Google's search results, with Amazon ranking at the top with cut and paste descriptions (when our clients have chosen to sell on Amazon) and even eBay when items hit the resale market. In other words, Google's search results are severely biased to specific companies over quality/relevancy.

EditorialGuy




msg:4663529
 2:29 pm on Apr 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

Herr Döpfner might want to ask himself why his readers are coming to his company's Web sites through Google and not directly. For a major media company like Axel Springer, search traffic should be the icing on the cake, not the flour, sugar, butter, and eggs that go into the cake.

Isn't something wrong when Die Welt or even Bild (Germany's version of The Sun) have to rely on drive-by traffic?

Martin Ice Web




msg:4663591
 5:40 pm on Apr 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

@tc, without doubt g is a business engine. This is what the author of the letter is saying. If google today decides to bann all serps with the word news in it, it would make a whole industrie go down. In my eyes g has more power on the economy as the government itself. Unfortunatelly g is aware of this.


@EG, bild online has pagerank 9! It is one of the most visited onoine newspapers in germany.
In fact what the author is about, is that poeple tend to search for news! Lets say football news, politic news a.s.o. google scraps their news and put them of the top of the search without routing the user to the main site. This online magazine are expensive to run and have to relay on ads. No users no ads no online magazine.

lucy24




msg:4663595
 5:56 pm on Apr 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

Auch beunruhige ihn, dass Google ... seit einiger Zeit als Unterstützer geplanter riesiger Schiffe und schwimmender Arbeitswelten gilt, die auf offenem Meer, also in staatenlosem Gewässer, kreuzen und operieren können

(emphasis mine)

Put it that way, and I'm beunruhigt too :( Wasn't there a fairly recent thread touching on the same issue from a slightly different angle?

engine




msg:4663596
 5:58 pm on Apr 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

There's a really important point that all publishers are facing, and it's not new.

Some are thankful for Google traffic, and others dislike the use of the content.

Where it goes wrong is when there is no longer a level playing field. In other words, all the cards are in Google's hands.

In most sectors, such monopoly would be restricted. As I see it, I don't think anyone's worked out how to make the usual regulations apply to search.

turbocharged




msg:4663693
 10:21 pm on Apr 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

Financial Times picked up on the story too.

The head of Europe’s biggest newspaper publisher by circulation has accused Google of seeking to establish a digital “superstate” free from the constraints of antitrust regulators and privacy concerns.

In a passage speculating that Google may be planning to build offshore working environments to escape democratic accountability, Mr Döpfner writes: “Is Google planning to operate in a legal vacuum without the hassle of anti-trust regulators and data protection… does Google plan in all seriousness a digital superstate in which its citizens will naturally only do good and “won’t be evil”.”

See [ft.com...]

Hopefully more people of influence will speak up to support what the lil guys have been saying for a long time.

EditorialGuy




msg:4663705
 3:35 am on Apr 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

This is really more about Old Media vs. New Media and the declining power of traditional publishers than it is about Google. Back in the '90s, while Larry Page and Sergey Brin were still in grad schools, big media companies were trying to figure out how to control and profit from the Internet. (Remember "portals" like Disney's Go.com?)

In fact what the author is about, is that poeple tend to search for news! Lets say football news, politic news a.s.o. google scraps their news and put them of the top of the search without routing the user to the main site.


I think you meant "scrape," not "scrap," but in any case, Google doesn't scrap or scrape the news. It indexes the content and sends traffic to the publishers' sites. If Google "scraped the news" and served up stories instead of headlines and snippets, the publishers would have nothing to lose by excluding Google's crawlers with robots.txt.

When publishers like Springer complain that they depend too much on Google for traffic, they're admitting failure. Why do readers of Bild or Die Welt prefer to browse Google News (or The Huffington Post, for that matter) than to visit Springer's Web sites directly? The commercial Web has been around for nearly 20 years. Shouldn't the publishers have figured out how to attract Web audiences by now, so that search traffic would be a nice bonus on top of their existing Web traffic?

Martin Ice Web




msg:4663746
 10:01 am on Apr 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

There's a really important point that all publishers are facing, and it's not new


I think it is not pushlishers alone. All Internet business facing this problem. All niches that Google puts ist eyes on, are very thin Business stuffed now. Google on top with only one or two competitors ( mostly brands ).

But if even big companies suffer from Googles way to regulate the traffic, there must be something very wrong. time for governments to do their work.

With penguin Google made ist ultimative way to regulate all traffic through their System. I would like to know how many millions of links have been deleted since peguin has been released. Links that are legit and gave sites extra traffic aside from Google are now gone.

@tc, i think that is very important. It Shows that this is no any hot air in the letter but founded information.

IMO Google has to cut into two pieces search and Advertising.

turbocharged




msg:4663753
 11:30 am on Apr 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

You are oversimplifying things a bit when you state its old media -vs- new media. Many print media companies have closed or otherwise restructured to adapt to new technologies. However, what they publish is either licensed or self-reported by a member of their staff. Google does not have these same financial/legal restrictions, and the direct costs associated with them, as they are able to aggregate data from thousands of sources and present it to their users. For topical searches, there is no way for small media companies to compete unless they work together to aggregate data and present it to users on their terms. Such collaboration would likely raise eyebrows and face some legal hurdles.

Just like the cannibalization of small businesses has taken place, a company as large as Google will digest many more companies that stand in its way to gain greater profits. The threat that this poses to society is that unbiased reporting will be reduced, allowing corruption to fester into larger problems.

Who knows, maybe one day Google will buy some media organizations just as Amazon's Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post. That would give them greater control over the people and compliment their data tracking activities.

EditorialGuy




msg:4663881
 4:45 pm on Apr 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

Turbocharged, Google isn't an aggregator, it's a search engine. If you want to worry about aggregators, you should be worrying about sites like Huffington Post, which publish far more than headlines and snippets.

I know this is a Google-oriented forum, but sometimes people need to put their obsessions with Google into hibernation and look at the bigger picture. Publishers like Axel Springer AG aren't under threat from Google; they're under threat from aggregators and--to a much larger degree--from their own inability to build loyal audiences.

engine




msg:4663891
 5:27 pm on Apr 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

I think it is not publishers alone. All Internet business facing this problem. All niches that Google puts its eyes on, are very thin Business stuffed now. Google on top with only one or two competitors ( mostly brands ).


I agree. However, everything has changed, not just because of Google. But it's true he should be wary of Google's ambitions. At one time it was a search engine, but now it's becoming a media and services company. It has to grow and change, of course, just as any business.

This is disruptive technology.

I wrote about disruptive technology a while back.
The 21st Century Revolution Affecting Everyone and Every Business [webmasterworld.com]

News gathering has changed, news reporting has changed, news consumption has changed, etc.
Print media has changed, or has to change if it's to survive.

Although the open letter is to Google, it's not the only company chipping away at the traditional media's way of doing things. It's just that Google is a bigger target, and that's why people are fearful of it.

This year's business way is different from the last ten years, and the ten year's before that, etc.

EditorialGuy




msg:4663902
 6:11 pm on Apr 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

The real problem for traditional media companies like Springer is that people have so many other choices nowadays--and their news-consumption habits are changing. The German who wants to read about the Kim Kardashian's bottom, the Teutonic version of Justin Bieber, or Russian's actions inthe Ukraine may go to a search engine or Huffingtonpost.de instead to a Springer news Web site.

For companies like Springer, the situation wouldn't be any better if Google disappeared and search engines like Hotbot, Infoseek, Altavista, and Webcrawler rose from the dead. What Springer really wants, IMHO, is for 1990s-style "portals" to have a renaissance, with Springer being the dominant portal in Germany.

turbocharged




msg:4663956
 10:59 pm on Apr 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

Turbocharged, Google isn't an aggregator, it's a search engine.

You must be misinformed. Google's search engine is one product/service they own. Google is an artificial intelligence company, a maker of drones, owner of the leading mobile operating system, a web browser producer, an E-mail provider, a video host, a maker of gadgets, a broadband provider, a venture capitalist and many other things. Many people share such narrow-minded views as you do and that leaves most of them incapable of viewing how Google collectively can influence and impact entire industries.

Turbocharged, Google isn't an aggregator, it's a search engine. If you want to worry about aggregators, you should be worrying about sites like Huffington Post, which publish far more than headlines and snippets.

Although you have tendency to twist and distort facts, Google is indeed an aggregator. Visit Wikipedia to learn more about what an aggregator is at [en.wikipedia.org...] Regardless, the topic of this thread is not about me - it's about Mathias Doepfner's fear of Google. I suspect that Mathias Doepfner has access to his company's traffic logs, as the CEO, and is quite capable of determining who the threat is to their company.

It's good to see more mainstream media sites publishing Mathias Doepfner's opinion.

[nytimes.com...]

[abcnews.go.com...]

EditorialGuy




msg:4663979
 1:12 am on Apr 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

Turbocharged, we're talking about Google in the context of search. (Or did you think Herr Doepfner is worried about Google's self-driving cars?)

I suspect that Mathias Doepfner has access to his company's traffic logs, as the CEO, and is quite capable of determining who the threat is to their company.


How would traffic logs identify the threat to Herr Doepfner's company? Let's say, just for the sake of discussion, that the traffic logs showed 50 percent of Springer's traffic was coming from Google. That wouldn't mean Google was the threat; it would mean user behavior was the threat. Herr Doepfner is playing the same game that Rupert Murdoch plays: He's shifting the blame for his company's troubles or potential troubles to a third party. (If Herr Doepfner were in Russia, he'd be be complaining about Yandex. In China, he'd be bitching about the power of Baidu.)

The problem for Springer is that, when it comes to media consumption, people have a lot more choices than they did 15 or 20 years ago. Mobile is only going to make things worse: Instead of typing in Bild.de to find stories about Justin Bieber, young Germans will simply say "Yoostin Bieba" into their phones and pick from the results (which may or may not include stories from Springer's properties). That isn't a threat from Google, it's a threat from Engine called "disruptive technology."

Martin Ice Web




msg:4664042
 7:37 am on Apr 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

@tc, thanx for sharing the links.
You know what strikes my mind? All the newspapers haven´t any negative comments on it. On the contrary it is written in a supporting style.
I guess that all the publishers have the same opinion but in fear of google they just hold on their breath.

turbocharged




msg:4664090
 9:44 am on Apr 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

EditorialGuy, you are incorrect again. YOU are talking about Google's search product whereas the subject here is Mathias Doepfner's open letter criticizing Google as a whole. If you had actually read the letter he wrote, you would understand that Mathias Doepfner referenced Google promoting their own products/services, accused Google of building a superstate with their drone company purchase, etc. I would recommend that you read Mathias Doepfner's comments to gain a better understanding of the material the rest of us are commenting on.

@Martin Ice Web

I would agree that most in the publishing industry are just as dependent on Google as Mathias Doepfner eluded to. Fear of retaliatory actions are likely the reason why other media outlets have not offered up their own personal opinions. This is the chilling effect Google has over digital media, and something all citizens of the free world should find disconcerting.

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