With the many algorithm changes that Google has made, many businesses both large and small are reevaluating their relationships with Google and the value of the traffic that the search giant brings their businesses. This self-assessment, which is needed particularly in a struggling economy, is not a task businesses should overlook. At least in the case of Brazilian newspapers, they found that allowing Google to display their news in the Google’s news results was actually harming their business.
Google acknowledged that they send a billion clicks to news websites around the world. While that may be true, some are calling into question how many clicks Google is sending elsewhere. The National Association of Newspapers, otherwise known as ANJ, performed a study and concluded that allowing Google to display headlines in 154 stories actually resulted in less traffic to their organization’s news websites.
Although the full story regarding Brazilian newspapers pulling out of Google news can be found here, the story does not stop there. The French are also considering the passage of a law that would require search engines to pay news websites for displaying their content. In response to a letter from the French, Google threatened to drop media websites in France that would be covered under such a law.
The problems that news websites in Brazil and France are experiencing are not extraordinary by any means. Especially with Google’s recent algorithm updates, which embedded even more Google advertisements in the SERPS, the traffic routing problem is being felt by those in many other industries as well. Google, with its declining CPC in Adwords, apparently has tried to adjust by displaying more advertisements to increase revenue. Google’s strategy, while smart on the surface, will likely result in even more search traffic being routed to monetized Google owned properties and services and away from the websites that content creators have worked hard to build.
Google’s evolving business model, which aims to monetize more of their own traffic, has raised concerns with the FTC and EU. Whether it be a preference to Google’s own properties in organic search or the portability of Adwords data, governments around the globe are taking notice of Google’s dominance and how they are able to route traffic away from those websites which actually created the content that Google is displaying when users perform search queries. What rights do the owners have in regards to the content they produce? Should Google be forced to pay a fee for displaying news results? If so, where do the fees end for a search engine that exists on solely organizing the work of others?