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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 JasonMick (blog) on 4/8/2009 4:16:30 PM , Rating: 2
I absolutely disagree with your assessment of online journalism as "fake reporting".

For just a few examples -- look at DailyTech's Kris Kubicki's scoop on payola in hardware journalism, Anandtech's constant first hand testing and reviews, or MMA site Sherdog's recent investigative piece on the UFC trying to cut out managers (which prompted Dana White to make a raving blog post).

Online journalism unquestionably has the potential to be just as great as offline journalism.

Your analysis entirely takes for granted that for every Tribune, etc., there's countless local newspapers that print stories that are trash, or recycled from other papers/magazines.

And in my opinion online journalism has the potential to be even greater as more people can reach and find it -- for free -- than print journalism.


RE: Rupert has a point
By iFX on 4/8/09, Rating: -1
RE: Rupert has a point
By JasonMick (blog) on 4/8/2009 4:27:10 PM , Rating: 4
No, it is free.
You choose if you want to click on an ad. Or even if you want them in the first place (adblocker, noscript).

Obviously I'm not inferring that online news is nonprofit. But its free of charge to the reader. Its just a mutually beneficial arrangement when it comes to advertising.

True a lot of print publications, are available at your local Borders, or book shop, but typically you'll have to buy a coffee to loiter around.


RE: Rupert has a point
By Jimbo1234 on 4/8/2009 5:15:02 PM , Rating: 2
And you have to pay your ISP to loiter the net as well.


RE: Rupert has a point
By phxfreddy on 4/9/2009 6:23:29 AM , Rating: 2
Ironic point made well. News is best done in a distributed fashion. Currently we have people who are "too important" in the news industry. They use this to lever excessive influence and thereby profits.

Fact is the whole system of democracy works better if we all do our part. Sounds like web 2.o to me!


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