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Recently completed deals, which include arrangements in which media organizations such as the Associated Press will be compensated on a pay-per-click basis, could herald a major shift in the relationship between the old media and new Internet gatekeepers.
Source: Mercury News [mercurynews.com]
News archives has remained behind a wall from the early days of the web. One firm is managing many of the news archives right now, having gotten a start when server space was expensive and they offered to handle it all for free, plus pay a commission on articles sold.
Now that pageviews have value of some type with contextual ads, AP (and their member-newspapers) are looking at opening up the vaults. Subscription has been tried and it's not making any money. Great articles are not getting read.
Google has wisely offered to do that for them. Not only will Google host and index it, they'll pay for the info and put ads on it. It's a win-win-win as Google takes one more step to indexing all the information in the world.
G wants news to remain free and a deal with AP will be a mighty step in that direction. I hope AP got paid well, but I doubt it.
News organizations are eventually going to have to come around to realization that they are going to have use "The Wall Street Journal" model (or the NYT model) if they are going to stay in business. (Anyone besides me see that little noted report that Dow Jones is "just looking" at not printing the WSJ some day, going 100 percent online? Interesting.)
Making news pay on the web remains problematic.
AP failed to take a leadership role as the web was first evolving. One reason: The amount of greed and envy among the board members of AP would be difficult to underestimate. (Unlike everyone else during the dot-com boom who was reasonable and level-headed.)
Several attempts at creating web advertising networks of local news websites have been tried--RealCities being the most well-known non-starter.
This spring the National Newspaper Network aligned itself with an outfit called Centro. Also, Inform.com is attempting to get newspapers to link into the web more aggressively with their new suite of publisher services and also offer a Google News alternative. Others have tried before. No one has had the success like Google, however, in bringing publishers together as they did with AdSense.
Like a lot of people, I worry about G's growing influence. But, nothing else has worked, so I, for one, am urging AP to get aggressive. AP's CEO sees the writing on the wall. With a little cooperation from G and his board, he just might get journalists paid, thus saving democracy and enhancing the culture.
Or, we can just get all of our information via Wikipedia.