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E.U. Considering a Tax on Google Showing Snippets

     
1:04 pm on Mar 28, 2016 (gmt 0)

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In a consultation, the E.U. is considering a snippets tax on Google for what is described as "neighbouring rights" to publishers.

How would this even work? In addition, this could affect many, many other businesses. It comes across as desperation by the E.U. looking to find ways to make Google and others pay for the use of snippets.

This is EU-speak for a Google tax on snippets, which would require search engines and possibly others to pay for using short extracts to link to articles on other sites. The consultation also seeks views on whether there should be a "panorama" exception to copyright allowing people to take pictures of public buildings and distribute them without permission of the architect. E.U. Considering a Tax on Google Showing Snippets [arstechnica.co.uk]
1:25 pm on Mar 28, 2016 (gmt 0)

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... desperation by the E.U. looking to find ways to make Google and others pay for the use of snippets.


sort of agree, although really i should think it nothing to do with snippets but more working out a way to try and tax google and other big players.

of course they are going about it the wrong way - i think the best solution would be to nationalise all the cable across the EU (that which isn't nationally owned already)
then they can do a double wammy - track and record all internet traffic and tax the use of it (either consumers - unlikely, or companies/servers - much more politically acceptable)
[there are alternatives, such as taking ownership of all the intersections that connect to other countries and tax all traffic that passes through - somewhat like the airport tax or visa fees that people have to pay while travelling]

... obviously if you can't tell, i'm being somewhat tongue in cheek, however i do think it is the kind of scheme they would find attractive and i wouldn't be at all surprised if it is proposed in the future.
2:13 pm on Mar 28, 2016 (gmt 0)

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which would require search engines and possibly others to pay for using short extracts to link to articles on other sites.

[OR] it would make search engines rewrite / paraphrase the extracts..
7:22 pm on Mar 28, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I can't see how this would be implemented and managed. It's easier to make a stupic law, but much tougher to implement: Such as the cookie law. That cookie law is one of the most annoying and irritating things when you're arriving at sites.
How on earth they would get google, or anyone else, for that matter, to pay a tax on the snippet displayed. Just imagine the recording and reporting required! topr8 has it right. lol
1:49 pm on Mar 29, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I'm happy enough with search engines showing my site in their results. If nobody else is interested in that sort of thing I don't mind having the number 1 spot. If I wasn't happy I could use robots.txt.

If I were a search engine and had to pay to list sites from a particular region I would most likely not show results from that region until the nonsense was sorted out. How could there be any other outcome?
1:54 pm on Mar 29, 2016 (gmt 0)

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This is primarily targeting Google News. Spain already introduced a law which is why Google closed Google News in Spain [support.google.com]. From most reports this significantly lowered traffic to Spanish publishers. VG Media in Germany also tried it on (again for Google News).

Clearly, if it's introduced EU-wide Google will just stop showing snippets. No-one's going to get paid.

The champion of this idea is EU Digital Commissioner Günther Oettinger who, on other matters compared Net Neutrality with the Taliban [theregister.co.uk].
2:18 pm on Mar 29, 2016 (gmt 0)

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The turnip squeeze is on. Always has been. When the larger aspects failed the granularity worked down to this attempt. Even if it fails, there will be another along in a few (days, weeks, months).

Government is not users. Never has been. Any way they can tax the pie (ostensibly to level the field and share the wealth) they will do so because (wait for it) in the process the government gets their slice OFF THE TOP.

In this attempt it might bring back the austere serps offered by HotBox (remember them?) Like Joe Friday: "Just the links, ma'am. Just the links."
2:54 pm on Mar 29, 2016 (gmt 0)

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If it is just targeting news I hope they get the wording of their law right. I don't care much if Google News has to close, but normally the wording of this sort of thing is such that it misses the intended target and hits me. Digital Media springs to mind.
2:55 pm on Mar 29, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Here's the opposing view of Google removing the snippets: People in the E.U. would stop using Google for those particular searches. Where would they go? There are plenty of other ways to get the same information, and it wouldn't just hit Google. Bing, and any other search service offering snippets could be hit.

It's very draconian, imho.

The Internet and web has reached the stage of a young teen and the parents are still trying to control the youngster!
5:52 pm on Mar 29, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Here's the opposing view of Google removing the snippets: People in the E.U. would stop using Google for those particular searches.


In Germany, Google just removed the publishers in question. After traffic loss they "reached an agreement" to let Google display snippets again.

I'd certainly agree it's draconian - but it's also pretty foolhardy. News publishers are losing revenue and some seem to believe that financially-favourable legislation is the answer. IMO, the only question is whether they realise this is a bad idea before or after legislation is passed.
6:56 pm on Mar 29, 2016 (gmt 0)

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presumably google would still have all the snippets showing on Adwords though.
so we'd have the ads with snippets, and the SERPs without -- making it even more likely that people would click on the ads
9:25 pm on Mar 29, 2016 (gmt 0)

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News publishers are losing revenue and some seem to believe that financially-favourable legislation is the answer.


It might not be driven by news publishers. The thought might once have been, but similar laws have been tested in Spain, Germany and Belgium and didn't work out well for news publishers.

Reading through the various articles and following some links it seems the guy pushing this has confirmed he won't be taxing hyperlinks. Gives me a happy feeling they have a good grasp of the internet and won't be charging me to allow visitors to navigate from page to page on my website.

We should be aware that we are not allowed to see anywhere near the information we need to make a sensible judgement on this sort of thing from their point of view. All we get to see is stuff posted on the internet.
9:55 pm on Mar 29, 2016 (gmt 0)

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The thought might once have been, but similar laws have been tested in Spain, Germany and Belgium and didn't work out well for news publishers...We should be aware that we are not allowed to see anywhere near the information we need to make a sensible judgement on this sort of thing from their point of view. All we get to see is stuff posted on the internet.


I think this just obfuscates the issue. In Spain, it was the Spanish Newspaper Publishers’ Association (AEDE) and in Germany Axel Springer AG, representing actual news publishers. And "stuff posted on the internet" ignores the fact that large news publishers are, presumably, in a favourable position to get their point of view heard.
4:11 pm on Mar 30, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Two words: "Trade war."
5:49 pm on Mar 30, 2016 (gmt 0)

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If fairly compensating news publishers was part of the equation, they would ban all ad blocking software and call it a day.
6:38 pm on Mar 30, 2016 (gmt 0)

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If fairly compensating news publishers was part of the equation, they would ban all ad blocking software and call it a day.

NOT the same as:
This is EU-speak for a Google tax on snippets, which would require search engines and possibly others to pay for using short extracts to link to articles on other sites.

Has nothing to do with ad blockers, but as everything to do with g showing snippets at will without compensating the creator/owner. Which is bogus if you think about it (and few politicians ever do that ... think, that is!).

Of course the media/news sites can bear the burden of advertising their urls to the public via a different SE, or one of their own creation, but why do that when moneygooglebags can be "taxed"? (Corrected a typo ... that last word came out tazed, and that also fits!)
7:30 pm on Mar 30, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Has nothing to do with ad blockers, but as everything to do with g showing snippets at will without compensating the creator/owner. Which is bogus if you think about it (and few politicians ever do that ... think, that is!).

Snippets are teasers, not abstracts. Their purpose is to encourage clickthrough.

Publishers can easily block their pages from search engines if they don't want search traffic, but let's face it: This proposal isn't about protecting publishers, it's about raising tax revenues in the most painless way possible: by taxing foreigners instead of the local yokels. If the local oligarchies are pleased, that's a bonus win.
7:51 pm on Mar 30, 2016 (gmt 0)

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google doesn't use them as teasers, though.
for a lot of info searches they supply them as the actual answer... knowing that it will discourage clickthroughs
5:58 am on Mar 31, 2016 (gmt 0)

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From the article:

In the absence of links from Google, smaller companies lacking the resources available to big publishing houses will be unable to reach new readers by spending more money on marketing, and may fail as a result. This may even be one reason why Europe's publishing giants are so keen on introducing neighbouring rights that are likely to reduce their own profits.
9:03 am on Mar 31, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Perhaps if Europe had an enterprise-friendly environment and an entrepreneurial culture like the US, it might be possible to build a company capable of competing with the Googles of this world, rather than depending on unelected officials to come up with dumba55 proposals like this.
9:57 am on Mar 31, 2016 (gmt 0)

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google doesn't use them as teasers, though.
for a lot of info searches they supply them as the actual answer... knowing that it will discourage clickthroughs


Which segues into the Knowledge Graph which actually does take publisher content and eliminate any clickthrough. If the EU was concerned about fairness (which of course it isn't since this is obviously a tax-the-foreign-behemoth scheme) they'd go after Google on this mighty rip-off. One wonders if the EU commissioners that come up with this stuff even use a search engine.
9:58 am on Mar 31, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Thoughts to ponder:
Will taxes or revenue ever find it's way back to the owner of the content?

As for the situation of Adblocker: Isn't it time for an Anti-Adblocker organization?
They can compile all the mac address or IPs of all of the devices using Adblocker. Publishers could subscribe to the service and filter their traffic through them and request white listing or disabling Adblocker before viewing content.

As for Ads and Ad Revenue:
It seems to me that many of the Ad providers are getting a free ride when someone else provides a link to a site other that the Ad provider r through a search index. Wouldn't it be great it there was a central advertising hub that anyone could register with and get a portion of the ad revenue if they provided the traffic to any website displaying their ads? Just think, anyone could become a search engine. Maybe that would make these ad blocking people think a little differently about ad revenue and a possible side income.

While mowing all of this stuff over in my head, I think it's time to flip many of these situations around, and put the shoe on the other foot (sort of speak) or , look at these situations from totally different angle. Remember when people were sick of ads on commercial TV (here in the USA) and they Paid for a connection to Cable TV? Isn't this the same thing that is happening with adblocker? OK, you don't want ads, well then pay a fee to access the sites without getting ads. Any TV recording device, like a VCR was never available with a way to block ads. Well, isn't this the adblocker issue same thing?

As for Big Search:
If the next quarterly stock market report shows a continual profit, wouldn't this strongly suggest that they are monopolizing search, the good traffic and good ads for themselves, especially while many of us long time web owners have seen our revenue dry up next to nothing? I would think that any bright legal firm would be licking their chops to represent the thousands of folks who have been deeply affected. I see the Alexa numbers for this website, so I know there are a ton of folks trying to work through these tough issues. What a great opportunity for the owners of a site such as this to represent website owners more directly. How many more of us need to hit bottom and pull down our websites until an authority finally realizes there is much more to these problems.

Representation for The People is all that is needed.
A simple questionnaire conducted by the right firm where facts could be compiled would definitely be enough to start the process.

Just a brain dump -
10:06 am on Mar 31, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Yet another attempt at lawmakers to understand how the digital space works. I would laugh if it wasn't so tragic.
12:52 am on Apr 1, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I have two thoughts about this.

#1 - I'm not sure this is the right way to go but I do agree that Google has profited to an extreme degree from websites, considering it puts out zero content of its own. It pays that debt by sending visitors but as of late Google sends fewer and fewer actual visitors, especially via image search, than ever before(as a % of total searchers, fewer reach your page).

#2 - Google will have had this move on their radar for some time and are likely already moving to make websites and website content obsolete(voice search, info already in results etc). This move by the EU may be the start of a permanent fracture between the goodwill of webmasters towards Google, and vice versa. The end of an era.

I forsee a day in the not too distant future in which people perform a voice search on their mobile device and no results are returned in ranked format, instead the data will be displayed by a bot or the visitor will simply be shown a site without seeing serps first.
3:26 pm on Apr 1, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I'm reminded of an e-mail that I got a number of years ago from a government-sponsored Web site in Britain that wanted to know why we weren't linking to it. I pointed to a statement on the site that said "You may not link to our site without permission" or words to that effect. Apparently Shoot-Yourself-in-the-Foot Syndrome isn't limited to the UK.
12:48 am on Apr 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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be the start of a permanent fracture between the goodwill of webmasters towards Google,
I think that started quite a few years ago.
10:49 am on Apr 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I hope they do get an enormous fine for something. I haven't had a SINGLE conversion since Good Friday when the website was converting fantastically well for the previous 2 months before it. A bunch of penny pinchers. And Im sick of people claiming that they "don't owe webmasters anything". Yeah, because webmasters only contribute to creating all the incredible information on the internet.
5:07 pm on Apr 4, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I hope Google don't get an enormous fine for no especially good reason. I fear any costs might be covered by further reductions in the Adsense publisher budget.

I have a fantastic idea. They should tax cookies! People are just clicking to accept the cookie message because it is annoying. I'm not sure it has changed the use of cookies. A tax on them must be the answer.
1:23 pm on Apr 12, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I think this rule is pretty stupid. But that said I always hear people say with google "its google rules if you don't like them tough. Then don't deal with google". The same can be said here "If google doesn't like the rules of the EU then tough. They don't have to play in EU"

While this is not a perfect analogy. But in both cases a powerful entity is making whatever rules it sees fit and imposing them on a less powerful entity. And the less powerful entity has little input on the rules it will now follow.

Again that is not saying I agree with the rule. Its dumb. And at the least it should have targetted pictures instead of snippets. But I think Google's increasing poor relationship with webmasters has not done them any favors and I would expect to see more of this kind of thing in the future.
 

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