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Google The Almighty Buck The Courts Your Rights Online

Publisher Whining Prompts Italian Investigation of Google 91

Complaints about "lack of transparency" from publishers have prompted Italian competition authorities to begin an investigation of Google's search and news services. I'm sure their motives are completely altruistic. "Because Google does not disclose the criteria for ranking news articles or search results, he said, newspapers are unable to hone their content to try to earn more revenue from online advertising. Ad revenue on the Web is directly proportional to the size of the audience, which is heavily influenced by search or Google News rankings."
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Publisher Whining Prompts Italian Investigation of Google

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  • by BigGar' ( 411008 ) on Friday August 28, 2009 @03:37PM (#29235049) Homepage
    I recommend they start here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PageRank [wikipedia.org]
  • What a coincidence (Score:5, Informative)

    by mrtommyb ( 1534795 ) on Friday August 28, 2009 @03:37PM (#29235055)
    The Prime Minister of Italy owns the largest Italian publishing house
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 28, 2009 @04:15PM (#29235551)

    Not sure why I still bother reading Slashdot (less and less often), with such biased summaries. If you actually take the time to read the original article (and maybe read the story from other sources as well), you'll find out that the main complaint of the italian publishers is NOT that the PageRank algorhitm is secret.

    They accuse Google of dropping them out of their search results (or at least lowering their pagerank) if they ask Google to remove their articles from Google News. So the accusation is abuse of a dominant position.

    Basically they find Google News to compete with them, because it takes the news from them (for free), readers don't bother clicking the link to read the full original article, so when a reader clicks on an ad, the revenue stays with Google and not the original publisher. So far, fair enough (?). The problem (and the core of the accusation) is that the publishers suspect that when they ask Google to not include their articles in Google News, Google also removes them from their normal search results (or lowers them in PageRank). Google denies this.

    The core of the problem is that Google, starting from a role of search engine, is now starting to compete with its own customers, by entering their market. And it is using its dominant position in the search market to get an advantage.

    Another example is in Australia, where the two main real estate listing web sites (Domain and RealEstate) have threatened to cancel all their advertising on Google, when they heard that Google was planning to launch its own real estate listing aggregation service. The story is here: http://www.businessday.com.au/small-business/smallbiz-marketing/google-faces-property-ads-war-20090727-dy0j.html

    Other countries (quoted in the same article on the NY Times) are seeing their publishers up in arms against Google.

    Slashdot, get some decent editors.

  • Re:Epic Fail (Score:3, Informative)

    by Philip K Dickhead ( 906971 ) <folderol@fancypants.org> on Friday August 28, 2009 @04:17PM (#29235583) Journal

    Just one word:


  • Re:Give me a break. (Score:3, Informative)

    by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Friday August 28, 2009 @05:29PM (#29236403)

    This isn't about Italians using or not using Google. This is the Italians wondering why their news sources aren't ranked higher on Google News.

    The newspapers don't opt-in to Google News, they aren't "users" of Google News, the public are the users. The newspapers want to know, considering the fact that a lot of people use Google News, how do they get their content listed higher, and are they being unfairly discriminated against?

    But regardless of the details, this isn't a "if you don't like it use something else" scenario, the newspapers aren't "using" Google News. The public is.

    Because Google does not disclose the criteria for ranking news articles or search results, he said, newspapers are unable to hone their content to try to earn more revenue from online advertising.

  • by MRe_nl ( 306212 ) on Friday August 28, 2009 @06:11PM (#29236963)

    Newspapers have suffered badly since the collapse of their previous business model of selling readers to advertisers on a local monopoly basis. The replacement models appear to involve phlogiston, caloric and luminiferous aether.

    "We have to educate people that free doesn't work, particularly for us," said Vanessa Thorpe of the Guardian Media Group. "I tried an advertorial repeating several times that nothing will be free any more, to magic it into happening. I also subtly implied the Pirate Bay were Nazis -- HITLER! HITLER! HITLER! -- so we'll see if we can make that one fly too."

    Publishers have also explored the notion of getting Google to pay its "fair share" for so parasitically leading people to newspapers' websites. The Wikimedia Foundation promptly started billing journalists for their reprints from Wikipedia. "We feel this is completely unfair," said Tom Curley of the Associated Press, "as real news stories spring forth from the heads of accredited reporters in an immaculate creation from nothingness."

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!