Sunday, March 7, 2010

Google News degrades newspaper brands

Could Google News be affecting the brand value of newspapers?

The aggregator effect on news sources

It's outright impossible for a newspaper to compete with a news aggregator.

First, the content they get is free. Then, they publish a selection of the best articles published from any news source. If they're missing a topic, they use AP paid articles to fill in the gap.

If one stops to think for a moment, AP's policies make no sense. First, they publish themselves their own  articles giving away their news online, then, they allow aggregators to use them too, and finally they syndicate their service to newspapers?

Doesn't publishing an article online "once" make it available to all readers worldwide due to the Internet's ubiquity? Or, doesn't that first free AP publication make the value of their content laughable from there on?

Shouldn't they limit their content usage to print publications only, to be in accordance with the geographical limitations of print publishing? Or at least, to online paid subscription sites?

It's not only a sure suicide for AP, but it's also helping to kill newspapers. In the long run, the only AP clients standing are going to be Google News and maybe a few other aggregators, which is not enough for AP's survival. Unless, of course, Google decides to buy AP and get into the news content provider business.

But, enough with AP. The intention of this post was to bring attention to another significant angle in which Google News is deteriorating newspapers.

As I've mentioned in a previous post, there's only two kinds of online destinations, search and bookmark. The former is laser focused on a specific subject matter, but the latter, takes us to a trusted place to see what else the author has to offer.

If newspapers allow their bookmarks to fade away with Google News, so will their brand value and... their existence.

One more reason to take aggregators to court —their practices are damaging to the copyright holders of news content.

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