oddsod - 3:54 pm on Aug 23, 2012 (gmt 0)
A "pro Google article"? It could almost have been written by Google themselves! :)
The plaintive "but (Google) actually drives traffic to the publishers" is in italics. How dare Google be asked to pay when they are sending traffic?! :)
But what about the traffic that Google doesn't send? The visitors whom Google satisfies at their own properties? Google has no real incentive to send visitors to a third party site if they can answer the question themselves or satisfy the user's curiosity. We've seen them do it with definitions, jokes, weather, currency and other data!
Maybe an equitable solution would be for Google to pay for each visitor it doesn't send. So they show the news to 100 visitors of whom 80 follow the link to the newspaper. Google is then charged for the 20 visitors it got on the strength of someone else's content. Then there'd be less motivation for Google to hog traffic for itself and an incentive to actually send that traffic on. That Google sends some traffic is not good enough reason for them to have carte blanch on your content. What if they sent only 50%? Or 10%? Or 0.01%?
As Brett has said so many times in the past, it's not our responsibility to stop A, B and C via robots.txt. So you stop Google today. Pinterest tomorrow. Somebody else the day after. And webmasters have to take responsibility for keeping track of all these parasites and stopping them one by one? That's technically possible, and is the current state of affairs, but it's not a very elegant solution.