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Old Media Still Doesn't Get New Media

Old media news publishers are trying to lock their information away from search engines and, in the process, shooting themselves in the foot.

Long story short, a bunch of newspaper and magazine types want to have more control over how search engines index their content. Basically, they want Google to stop promoting and linking to their content.

Why wouldn’t the AP want Google News to display their headlines and summaries with a link to the article?

It’s free traffic! These news sites are getting users pointed to them that they may have never seen before.


What are they expecting when they post a news story: that no one will see it? That only people who go to their homepage will be able to click to it?

These people are just like the kids who post pictures of themselves on MySpace and facebook and think that no one will see them.

Wake up: when you put something on the Internet, you can’t stop people from seeing it and using it.

Why would you even want to stop people from seeing your content? Unless you’re targeting a specific, qualified audience (which the AP isn’t), there’s no reason to block your content from the masses.

Tom Curley, the AP’s chief executive, said the news cooperative spends hundreds of millions of dollars annually covering the world, and that its employees risk often their lives doing so. Technologies such as ACAP, he said, are important to protect AP’s original news reports from sites that distribute them without permission.

If you don’t want your content freely available, then don’t make it freely available. Create a TimesSelect to limit distribution (and then watch your numbers soar when you get rid of it).

Maybe these old media folks are upset because their content can’t compete. Have you tried writing better Web headlines?

(As always, Techdirt breaks it down into nice, simple terms.)


  1. I don’t get what the big deal is either. At least 70% of my traffic comes directly from the search engines and the other 30% is usually from blogs who found my story in a search engine to begin with. Without Google, I’d probably get 10 hits a day. If someone was running a subscription service I could see them getting a little worked up by some of Google’s caching and what not, but it’s hard for me to believe that these sites end up losing money from people seeing summaries and then being tempted to pay money to see the whole thing. If I was Google, I’d play hardball. If the AP doesn’t want them to use their content, then I’d drop every single news site that uses AP from my engine. If they did that, AP’s customers would freak out on them and we’d see them shut up about this issue. Instead of trying to blame technology, they need to be addressing the real issues for why their businesses are failing.

  2. Well said. Lets face it, they don’t understand how to market their media on the Internet. They think that just putting some content online is all they need to do.

    The real irony is that most old media has always been funded with advertisements. You’d think that selling new ads for old content instead of throwing it away would be appealing to them.

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