Why are European publishers unhappy with Google?
The internet has given rise to a whole new set of marketing tools, including email, social media, content marketing and paid advertisements. These days, businesses have more ways than ever to communicate with their target audience online.
While this brings up all new opportunities for businesses, European publishers are unhappy with how powerful the internet has become.
No doubt the internet has had an influence on the decline in revenue for publishers, but some European media companies have been overtly critical of Google’s search power – blaming the search engine for their loss in influence.
In Europe Google is used for around 90 percent of all search, according to StatCounter, which explains why Google is being blamed.
Many European media companies are trying to pass a law that will force Google and other search engines to pay a percentage tax for referencing them.
Last year Germany passed a copyright law giving publishers the right to block search engines from displaying search snippets (the brief description of what the result entails) and images, while Spain recently passed a similar law.
Major German news corporation VG Media, which owns around 200 German publishers, made use of the law a few weeks ago, blocking Google from showing anything bar the headline.
But now Axel Springer, one of VG Media’s major publishers, reported that their website dipped 40 percent in search traffic, and traffic from Google News dropped 80 percent in the past two weeks, according to Reuters. They now wants their snippets back in search results.
Earlier this year VG Media made their annoyance at Google clear by trying to sue the search engine for “lost profits”, demanding Google pay 11 percent of their revenue received from displaying their publications content.
Although Google is not going to pay to provide their free service, last year Google did donate 60 million Euros to help French news sites increase their online presence.
According to Search Engine Land, Swedish member of parliament Niclas Malmberg is blaming Google for the declining newspaper industry, and wants to set up a similar deal to France.
Google is clearly not to blame for the declining news industry, and, if anything, gives publishers the opportunity to reinvent themselves in the digital age by providing online content.
Posted by Dylan Brown