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Google CEO Eric Schmidt to newspaper moguls: don't "piss off" readers by charging for content
Google CEO Eric Schmidt has a harsh warning for newspapers wanting to remove content from Google

Fox News mogul Rupert Murdoch recently called for news websites to start charging readers.  He blasted Google, stating, "The question is, should we be allowing Google to steal all our copyright... not steal, but take. Not just them but Yahoo."

Google News has long been one of the most popular news aggregators, gathering news from the likes of the Associated Press, The New York Times, and Reuters.  All of this content is offered to readers for free, though readers provide a steady source of advertising revenue that frequently surpasses that of print news.  But that just isn't enough, according to Mr. Murdoch.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt has offered up a fiery rebuke to Rupert Murdoch's comments.  He states, "
I would encourage everybody to think in terms of what your reader wants.  These are ultimately consumer businesses and if you piss off enough of them, you will not have any more."

Mr. Schmidt says that Google's content is "fair use", stating, "
From our perspective there is always a tension around fair use and fair use is a balance of interest in favor of the consumer."

He thinks that newspapers and magazines initially pushed for open web access, but are now turning their backs on this pro-customer mentality.  He states, "
You guys did a superb job, and the act after that is a harder question."

Alexander Macgillivray, Google's intellectual property counsel also admonished Mr. Murdoch's accusations of theft, writing, "Users like me are sent from different Google sites to newspaper websites at a rate of more than a billion clicks per month.  These clicks go to news publishers large and small, domestic and international - day and night.  And once a reader is on the newspaper's site, we work hard to help them earn revenue. Our AdSense program pays out millions of dollars to newspapers that place ads on their sites, and our goal is that our interest-based advertising technology will help newspapers make more from each click we send them by serving better, more relevant ads to their readers to generate higher returns."

As to accusations that readers only peruse Google News and don't travel to the source sites, he adds, "In all cases, for news articles we've crawled and indexed but do not host, we show users just enough to make them want to read more - the headline, a "snippet" of a line or two of text and a link back to to the news publisher's website."

Ultimately the battle between Google and news moguls may heat up as the economy continues to struggle.  After years of glutting themselves on a steady diet of subscriptions and advertising, the print news business is seeing advertising move online and subscriptions disappearing.  Afraid of this change, many of the news industry's biggest offline players may lash out at the likes of Google, but ultimately they may just be biting the hand that feeds and worsening their plight.

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RE: Rupert has a point
By nafhan on 4/8/2009 4:15:49 PM , Rating: 5
An alternative point of view is that many people would not go to those news sites at all if they were not linked from Google news. Thus they are receiving more page views than they would otherwise.

If the news "moguls" want people to stay and browse their sites instead of using news aggregators, they need to create compelling, exclusive content.

In other words, people want compelling content, not lawsuits and legislation to prop up a failing business model.

RE: Rupert has a point
By segerstein on 4/8/09, Rating: -1
RE: Rupert has a point
By Spuke on 4/8/2009 5:12:50 PM , Rating: 4
This "intellectual piracy" will ultimately cause a loss of relevant news production.
It's only "intellectual piracy" when you're not making any money, if you're making money hand over fist then it's "all white". I say stop the posturing and take action. If you really think that Google is taking your property, ask them to remove your content. I'm sure they would do so either of their own free will or with a court order.

RE: Rupert has a point
By GaryJohnson on 4/8/2009 5:26:39 PM , Rating: 4
or just use robots.txt

RE: Rupert has a point
By bhieb on 4/8/2009 5:29:06 PM , Rating: 5
So opt-out of google crawling your site. It is quite simple to do I don't see why a court should be involved. It is not like google will crawl your site anyway, just plop the code in and be happy all those clicks will never get to you.

(by you I mean the print moguls of course)

RE: Rupert has a point
By Spuke on 4/8/2009 6:10:08 PM , Rating: 3
So opt-out of google crawling your site. It is quite simple to do I don't see why a court should be involved.
This is even easier. I'm sure he knows this can be done which makes his posturing all the more ridiculous.

RE: Rupert has a point
By nafhan on 4/8/2009 6:16:48 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, local newspapers are an excellent example of "compelling, exclusive content". For the most part, they write their own stories (exclusive), and it's compelling to the target audience, because it involves their community.

Also, what's the point of a news aggregator if the news is only coming from one place?

When I'm trying to find out info about a local event, the local newspaper's website is usually the first place I check.

RE: Rupert has a point
By phxfreddy on 4/9/2009 6:20:31 AM , Rating: 2
Oh yeah bow compelling! Aunt Francies cat had kittens!

Journalists = People good with words....terrible with ideas.

They are some of the biggest adherents in the cult of global warming. We'll be better off without this lame brained crowd.

RE: Rupert has a point
By borowki2 on 4/8/2009 7:15:37 PM , Rating: 2
People who wouldn't go to news sites unless they're directed there by someone else probably aren't particularly demanding. That's a major problem, I think. We end up with the lowest-denominator news. What get reported is sensational stuff or feel-good fluff that draws the attention of the ignorant and ill-informed majority of our population.

RE: Rupert has a point
By murphyslabrat on 4/8/2009 11:07:00 PM , Rating: 2
I don't go to most websites unless directed by Google, but I am extremely demanding. As opposed to a "lowest-denominator" effect, I get multiple coverages of everything, including the best coverage indexed by Google.

"It seems as though my state-funded math degree has failed me. Let the lashings commence." -- DailyTech Editor-in-Chief Kristopher Kubicki

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