Print 30 comment(s) - last by omgwtf8888.. on Dec 4 at 2:43 PM

Google throws News Corp a bone

The ongoing battle by print publications to get readers to pay to read their online news is infamous. At the head of the pay to read brigade for online content is News Corp's Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch owns one of the few successful pay publications online -- the Wall Street Journal.

Murdoch and Google have been fighting over whether or not Google should be able to index and offer content from News Corp publications or any other publication that requires users to register online. The problem for Murdoch is that readers can access stories from the WSJ online without having to pay thanks to Google indexing the stories.

Murdoch has reportedly been in talks with Microsoft to have Microsoft pay to have News Corp block its content from Google indexing. This would effectively keep the content out of the Google search engine. Google CEO Eric Schmidt has previously stated that News Corp didn’t want to "piss off" readers by forcing them to pay for content or removing content from search indexes.

It appears that Schmidt and Google are having second thoughts on such a strong stand against News Corp and other publishers. The search giant has announced that it will modify its First Click Free program to prompt online readers to register or subscribe to a news providers site after reading five free stores from the publication in a single day.

As it is now readers can read as many stories as they want from a publication in a day without being prompted to register as long as they don’t click other links in the story body. Google is saying that the new system will allow publishers to keep their content in the Google index and still encourage readers to subscribe.

Google's Josh Cohen wrote, "As newspapers consider charging for access to their online content, some publishers have asked: should we put up pay walls or keep our articles in Google news and Google search? In fact they can do both -- the two aren't mutually exclusive."

Google maintains that it will not change the rankings of paid articles in its results, the stories will be ranked on relevance. However, the search engine states that paid content may not do as well as free content.

A statement by Google said, "Paid content may not do as well as free options, but that is not a decision we make based on whether or not it's free. It's simply based on the popularity of the content with users and other sites that link to it."

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By wookie1 on 12/2/2009 1:27:48 PM , Rating: 3
Is Google the only option for this? If it is, I'm sure others will arise.

By ClownPuncher on 12/2/2009 1:50:57 PM , Rating: 5
There is always a way around it, most people do not want to pay for the news.

By Lord 666 on 12/2/2009 1:56:58 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed, all it takes is a library card to get all of the paid subscriptions online anywhere.

Since WSJ has been charging for access and I refuse to pay for it, its worked out great.

By jwdR1 on 12/2/2009 2:17:52 PM , Rating: 1
Interesting take...

Nobody wants to pay for their games, music or movies either, yet we call that piracy.

But when it comes to news, that has to be free. I guess the news reporters can always ask for donations for their paycheck.

I'm not sure I understand why one group of 'artists' deserve to be paid and not the other.


By Oregonian2 on 12/2/2009 2:25:27 PM , Rating: 5
Of course everybody else should work for free, just like everybody else should be heavily taxed, so long as it isn't me .

:-) :-) :-)

By Etsp on 12/2/2009 5:51:41 PM , Rating: 2
What good is money if no one needs it for goods and services?(because everyone is working for free)

By bjacobson on 12/3/2009 10:30:04 PM , Rating: 2
Idk, maybe to motivate the people that are "working" for free to actually accomplish something?

By Motoman on 12/2/2009 2:31:43 PM , Rating: 3
IANAL but a couple things occur to me...

..."news" ostensibly is a factual recounting of something that actually occurred - i.e. it's not "art" but simply a report. No one owns a copyright to reality. Well, maybe the Vatican does, but that's beside the point... Music on the other hand is an original creation, an art form, that you get a copyright for.

Also, there are several other strikes against news...the first of which is that the internet has fully democratized news...any idiot in the world can put up a site/blog and report news. There's no barrier to entry to be a news provider. In addition, the precedent has been set that news online from major, traditional sources is free...which is to say, it's ad-supported. That's why essentially every newspaper/news TV station has it's new posted on an open, freely accessible website like The business model is to attract eyes with free news, and sell ads to make revenue. That cat is way long out of the bag...

...and in order to put the cat back in the bag, you'd have to get *every* news source on the planet to simultaneously switch to paid models to make any of them work effectively. Because as long as there's one reputable news source that's free, that's where everyone will go. If, say, stayed free while everyone else switched to a paid model, web surfers would quickly figure out they should be going to Reuters for their news.

...on top of that, you'd have to put up some barrier to entry to prevent new news sources popping up to provide free news in an ad-supported model.

I don't see any of that happening. What I do see happening is Google losing marketshare if it starts bugging it's users to pay for a subscription to some newspaper when you browse their articles. Yahoo, Bing, Webcrawler, whatever could make huge hay out of a numbskull move like that.

By ClownPuncher on 12/2/2009 2:53:31 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see how you jumped to that conclusion from what he said.

It is a case of "change your business model or be crushed".

The internet and free information really is not a new thing. You post the news, get paid for ads, everyone wins.

By Oregonian2 on 12/2/2009 11:37:25 PM , Rating: 2
When I read a WSJ article (via Google) I see no ads on the WSJ page at all (I've been checking).

Their money making scheme is the pay-wall that Google has been getting people around.

By Motoman on 12/3/2009 10:57:04 AM , Rating: 2 would seem to me that if there's a way to get to secured data without being authenticated, then the problem is something the WSJ should be fixing already...

Google can't get to stuff that has to be authenticated for. Unless you honestly think they're hacking into secured systems...which apparently no one, the WSJ included, thinks they're doing.

Seems to me that the WSJ just needs to ensure that you can't get to their content without authenticating, if that's what they want to have happen.

By Motoman on 12/2/2009 3:07:35 PM , Rating: 3
I gather then that news organizations like UPI, AP, Reuters, etc are all scumbags and shouldn't be paid for anything they do. exactly do you "gather" that from my post? As noted, they generate revenue, and thereby paychecks, from advertising.

I guess on the same line of thought, "reality TV" should be free as well (nobody should be paid for anything) seeing as how it's only reality which is "free".

First of all, "reality" TV shows have no relationship to actual reality, as far as I can tell. Secondly...they are free. To viewers. Which is to say, they are ad-supported...just like current news websites.

CNN, MSNBC, FoxNews channels should also be free too, now that I think of it seeing as how all of their material is free reality. Are they 100% volunteer organizations seeing as how they shouldn't be able to charge money for anything?

You seem to be missing the point of "ad-supported." How do you think they've been surviving to this point? Do you honestly think that CNN reporters have been working for free for the past 20 years because you don't have to pay to access Get a grip.

By tedrodai on 12/3/2009 7:55:35 AM , Rating: 2
The art is presenting news in a fashion that makes you buy things...or pay attention to advertisements, as they call it. Tell me you haven't seen the 24/7 coverage of Tiger's car accident while leaving his driveway, and how it was caused by martial problems and at least one affair (proved by text messages!)...

A little blurb on the facts of the accident is news...fine, now we know. The 24/7 coverage of his personal life is art, designed to reel in the least among gossips.

By Motoman on 12/4/2009 11:17:26 AM , Rating: 2
No, the 24/7 coverage is proof that the consumer base of news services is vastly more interested in gossip and poking their noses into people's personal lives than any issues that actually are of importance. The media serves up the "news" that people want to hear and capture more put more eyes on their ads. Any news service that mentioned Tiger's transgression in passing and resumed talking about issues of actual importance would, sadly, not last long.

By ClownPuncher on 12/2/2009 2:46:58 PM , Rating: 2
I guess that is why they have advertisements? I have never "stolen" the news, yet I have never paid for it. I don't plan on changing that. IF all of the news was paid for directly by the consumers, rather that advertisers, MAYBE we could get some non-biased news? I really don't want to pay to hear someones opinion.

By Motoman on 12/2/2009 3:12:11 PM , Rating: 2
No, I think that if all news outlets were supported directly by subscriptions, you'd get nothing but biased news...skewed to the opinions of their subscriber base. You'd get FarLeft news with all the Micheal Moore whackos, and then FarRight news with all the Rush Limbaugh whackos, and I suppose some kind of ExtremeMiddle news to attract all the radical moderates out there.

By ClownPuncher on 12/2/2009 3:30:54 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly my sentiment, I suppose some /rhetorical tags would have been appropriate. People are willing to pay for what they want to hear, which has been clear in the Fox vs. MSNBC polarizing "news" we see today. The point is, most of us are tired of the bias we see in news, we don't want to pay for it until these partisan networks clean up their acts.

a paid for site being indexed?
By kattanna on 12/2/2009 2:14:17 PM , Rating: 2
how is it a site that requires people to pay for it and log in, can be indexed and linked via google?

sounds like some crappy coding work on the publishers side.

RE: a paid for site being indexed?
By Oregonian2 on 12/2/2009 2:31:38 PM , Rating: 2
It would have been done on purpose if you think about the pay wall, what it is, and what it's for.

If the WSJ wanted to have people see five and only five specific articles, then your comment is a good one. However I think the idea is that folk can see five among all the articles for free (per day -- which is fine for me, btw). So access is needed to all of the articles, just that not more than five are to be read in a single day by a single person (for free).

RE: a paid for site being indexed?
By MadMan007 on 12/2/2009 10:21:02 PM , Rating: 2
No, he's asking how can Google index the full article if the full artcile is supposed to be hidden behind a pay access login. The simple answer (guessing here) is that Google buys a subscription for whatever piddling amount it costs then indexes away. However if Google is able to index full articles without subscribing then there is something wrong on the news sites' side.

RE: a paid for site being indexed?
By Danish1 on 12/3/2009 1:46:17 AM , Rating: 2
The simple answer (guessing here) is that Google buys a subscription for whatever piddling amount it costs then indexes away.

No, that would be illegal.

By MadMan007 on 12/3/2009 8:31:18 AM , Rating: 2
Illegal how? I'd like to see you explain that regardless of what I write here...

Now that you mention it I suppose there are some TOS or what have you for not redistributing the content. I don't know if that makes it truly illegal (criminal) or just a violation of the TOS (civil.) But either way yeah they probably wouldn't do that, at least not to *take* the content and redistribute it as their own. If they don't though then how do they get the full content of the article without the WSJ subscritption checking system just being piss poor?

By MozeeToby on 12/2/2009 2:00:25 PM , Rating: 2
There's an easy way to opt out of any crawler service that google offers; modify your robots.txt to say keep out. Of course, what the newspapers really want is to keep the readers they have now and get paid for them, preferably by Google so that they don't even have to bill their readers.

What they don't realize is that I want a pony, and I'm not going to read their newspapers until I get one (an argument about as logical as they ones they use).

RE: Robots.txt
By walk2k on 12/2/2009 2:01:30 PM , Rating: 2
Damn you Google, always driving traffic to my site!

RE: Robots.txt
By MadMan007 on 12/2/2009 10:18:34 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. They want the benefits of traffic from Google but don't want to pay for it (sponsored ads.)

What advertising?
By Zebo on 12/3/2009 3:56:19 AM , Rating: 2
It's funny many of you claim they just get money by advertising when most of us use adblock and for the real clever advertising flashblock. I don't see any web ads - so how are they soliciting a sale?

RE: What advertising?
By MadMan007 on 12/3/2009 8:33:14 AM , Rating: 2
Quite frankly I think sites should block users who use adblock. You do realize that by doing so you are only making the problem of websites which provide content just that much more likely to look for more agressive ways to do so such as subscriptions?

By omgwtf8888 on 12/4/2009 2:43:21 PM , Rating: 2
If "the news" reports a particular news item... I dunno say a bank robbery. Shouldn't that news outlet have to pay the bank and of course the bank robber? With out them there is no news... Maybe we should have a news licensing fee.. Kind of like a hunting license. We could have news bag and size limits. The size limit would get all those rediculous news stories out of the media (too small had to throw it back).

Five is perfect!
By R6Raven on 12/2/2009 3:35:54 PM , Rating: 1
I have no problem at all with being limited to five stories from WSJ, etc. It's rare I have a day when there are more than five important stories that I haven't seen already. Everything else is about the economy being in the crapper, what the new fad diet is, or celebrity gossip anyway.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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