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Google Archiving News Items
Historic Article Search

 2:38 pm on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Today's news is wrapping tomorrows chips?

Not according to Google who have released a new archive system for older news articles.

News archive search provides an easy way to search and explore historical archives. In addition to helping you search, News archive search can automatically create timelines which show selected results from relevant time periods.




 2:53 pm on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

A lot of newspaper don't offer any archives on their own. That's just plain stupid, because they would really bump their search engine traffic, pageviews and income if they did.


 3:34 pm on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Looks like a lot of stuff that costs money to view... Surely a win-win if Google gets a piece of the action.


 4:19 pm on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't know. I see this as a stake in the heart of the charge-subscription-for-the-news-archives business model that many newspapers have adopted. If Google points you to a mix of free and paid results, anybody would stick with the free articles unless they have a very specialized need.


 5:31 pm on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Or, to slightly modify the jomaxx point, this will accelerate the application of the power law to the subscription-based newspaper archive business. Of all the people who will have enough need to do serious research, how many will pay to see the archives of the Podunk Ill Post? Nope, all the money will flow to a few newspapers, such as the NY Times.

Of course, the example of a few papers like the Times making money from archives will cause the less intelligent smaller papers to think they can too. They'll charge for archive access, further driving customers to the few papers on the fat end of the Zipf curve, and keep wondering why it isn't working.


 5:57 pm on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Well, jomaxx, the pay for archives never really worked very well. Even the NYT opened their archives to their travel section for the pageviews.

The news biz has had a very hard time weaning itself from selling its product, as well they might. In my opinion, they would have been wise to stick to the WSJ model and give very little away for free.

If you're interested in an informed but somewhat odd take on the news biz on the web, I posted this in Foo a few days ago about what a former newspaper executive proposed:


 6:09 pm on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't think the WSJ model would work for most publications. They have a lot of unique content that isn't duplicated elsewhere, and they are dealing with a client base that doesn't mind paying the modest annual fee for access.

If the NYTimes put their content behind a paid login, I'm sure they'd get some subscribers but would lose most of their ad revenue.

My local small-city paper adopted the "charge for archives" approach a long time ago. I imagine that the only thing people would pay for would be unique local content. Nobody is going to pay for their coverage of a national story from a few years ago, and I don't thing Google's new venture will affect that one way or the other. People might pay for NYTimes coverage of a national event because they assume it will be thorough and authoritative. OTOH, if the archives of other respected sources are free, archive revenue would definitely go down.


 6:36 pm on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

the only way this works if google does a lexis nexis of sorts, by monetizing the articles and sharing the revenue with the papers. The reason paid archives didn't work was because each newspaper had its own. If you have an "eat all you can" for $x a month or ad supported, I think things would be different, especially if Google offers snippets to entice people into joining.


 11:17 pm on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

I didn't mean to say that the existing model was working well, just that this would make it virtually irrelevant if it catches on.

The problem AP and the newspapers have to deal with is that if anyone, anywhere, puts articles online for free then there's no reason Google can't point people there. It's amazing how much local news I'm already reading at news outlets with names like Hong Kong Daily News or the Hindustan Times.


 3:13 am on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

The NYT has had success putting their columnists behind a paid wall, along with access to their archives. It is making them good money.

Ads on news websites are not as effective as marketing tools as most of vertical websites. There is not a lot to market that is in context with the news. And, when people are looking at the news online, they are seldom "buying."

The travel sections, the food sections, the health sections, the entertainment sections--that's different. But, that's not what we typically call news.

When you think about it, why were the women's underwear ads in the paper on Sunday next to the stories A 2 and A3 stories on Viet Nam and the EPA's problems with the new sewage plant? (Answer: Tradition--buyers knew to look there.)

Not all content can be ad supported effectively. In those cases where it cannot, such as news and music, it should not be given away at low or no cost. It was a mistake to try.

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