Jun 22, 2014

Is it a mistake by German publishers to force Google to pay them for being indexed by the search engine?

German magazine and newspaper publishers are suing Google for 11% of revenue made “directly or indirectly” from including their content in search results. I know that life can be hard for publishers these days, and any revenue is welcome, but this seems like it could be a case of the publishers making a strategic error. I suppose it depends on whether Google would pay the 11% or just stop indexing those publications. What do you think - a principled stand or a huge mistake by the publishers?

Probably a mistake in the short term, but I can't blame them as Google does seem to use a lot of images and other content in their results. While that drives traffic, it also makes Google a lot of money. Should they share it? I don't see how they could, but I can't blame publishers for being upset about it.

Mistake. Germany is particularly anti-Google it seems, even among EU countries, so I’m not really surprised. I suspect the amount of traffic that Google brings to the publishers’ website is very significant, and by taking the risk that Google will stop indexing their content, they are playing with fire. What’s going to drive traffic to their sites? Word of mouth? Bing? 


But don’t just take my word for it, look what happened when Belgian publishers did the same thing. When the Court order in the publishers favor was issued, Google delisted the publishers and removed all content from Google News. It wasn’t long before the publishers were crying about Google’s “brutal” actions and asking to be relisted. I suspect the Germans will have a similar experience unless they manage to get a court to order that they both be paid for having snippets of their content in searches and that Google continue to include that content in perpetuity.

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