Search Engines Not Stealing Readers From Newspapers

By: E&P Staff

The assumption that search engines like Google and Yahoo have been stealing readers and revenue from newspaper companies is false, according to a July 30 article in the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News.

The report said that recent deals with the two search engines, along with other Internet companies, have resulted in monetary gains and increased online traffic for news organizations across the country. The deals are also reportedly changing the way that news organizations and major search engines approach business collaborations.

The Mercury News cited Google’s deal with the Associated Press earlier this year as a key example of this phenomenon. AP will be compensated for its content being spread across the Internet on a pay-per-click basis, and, though many other aspects of the deal have not been released, the newspaper reported that they included such issues as access fees and shared revenues from advertising.

The Google deal with AP represented a policy change for the Internet search giant, the Mercury News noted. Google is currently in the midst of a federal lawsuit filed by Agence France-Presse, which alleges copyright violations. AFP is paid by Yahoo, AOL, Microsoft?s MSN segment, and other such companies, but does not have a license with Google, which has denied any wrongdoing.

Yahoo?s general manager of Yahoo News, Neil Budde, told the Mercury News that most of its deals do not involve direct profit-sharing, but rather returning Internet traffic back to its partner Web sites. When asked about rumors that Yahoo was trying to partner with Hearst and MediaNews–both of which were involved in the McClatchy-Knight Ridder deal that involved the Mercury News — Budde declined to answer.

CNN is one of Yahoo?s partners; the latter sells advertising that is then displayed on CNN?s Web site. The senior vice president and general manager of CNN.com, David Payne, told the News that compensation from search engines such as Yahoo did not interest him as much as pursuing higher placement in search results.

Yahoo is also focusing on a plan involving larger news organizations, the News reported. The plan will involve direct payment, revenue sharing, and Web site traffic exchanges.

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