Google threatens to shut Australian search instead of paying news sites for links

Joe White

Posts: 62   +0
Staff
In context: Australia could pass a law requiring search engine giant Google—and others—to pay news sites to link to their articles. If that happens, Google has told the Australian Senate in no uncertain terms that they’ll be closing down search in Australia.

The problem is that news sites—which have been struggling to adapt their business model in an increasingly digital, online age—haven’t fared well in recent years, and blame the likes of Google and Facebook for lost advertising revenue.

Because of that, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) have proposed a new framework where tech platforms—beginning with Google and Facebook—pay news sites for linking to their stories. Google and Facebook are expected to negotiate “in good faith” towards an agreed fee.

Ars Technica explains, “You might think that Google would simply stop linking to Australian news sites. But that won't be allowed under the ACCC proposal. New non-discrimination rules require Google to treat sites the same whether or not it has to pay to link to them.”

Google responded on Friday with an ultimatum. Speaking in the Australian Senate, Google’s Mel Silva said that the company would have “no real choice” but to shut search in Australia if the framework is imposed, adding that the move would “set an untenable precedent for our business and the digital economy.”

The situation has even drawn criticism from Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web. He agreed that Australia’s framework would set a harmful precedent, adding: “The ability to link freely—meaning without limitations regarding the content of the linked site and without monetary fees—is fundamental to how the Web operates.”

It’s not the first time Google has found itself in a situation like this. The company was recently embroiled in a similar controversy with French news sites—one which ended with Google eventually agreeing to pay, although details, at the time, were sketchy.

For now, it looks like Australian officials may be willing to see how serious Google is about pulling search from Australia. “We don’t respond to threats,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday. “Australia makes our rules for things you can do in Australia.”

Your move, Google.

Permalink to story.

 

m4a4

Posts: 2,365   +2,651
TechSpot Elite
Hmmm... I remember seeing a comment recently on another site/article from a supposed Australian that said that they were 100% supportive of Google here. The main reason being that it was a giant Australian news corporation lobbying for it (where they control more than 2/3rds of the media).

If there were any Australians in the forum to confirm/correct what I'm remembering, that would help. But if it's true, it would help make sense as to why it sounds like such a dumb move lol
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,452   +3,610
Google has more power over Australia's economy then Australia does. The fact a single corporation can threaten a modern economy this way is very disturbing, in a shadowrun sort of way.

Then again, the media doesnt need MORE money for their hap hazard reporting and lazy click bait.

Maybe they'll both destroy each other.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,014   +6,783
Google continues to drive those nails in their own coffin and is just adding fuel to the fire of so many being anti-google. They have enjoyed a pretty good run up to now but it appears they gotten way too big for their own pants and better be prepared for a hard fall ......
 

ypsylon

Posts: 353   +273
Google can do that with respect to Australia. One country only. However... when they start this ball rolling its slippery slope.

Google already agreed to pay "ransom" to France, and rightly so, because US corporation has no right to exploit people in France for its own gains. When EU request bloc-wide concessions, which is very much underway, Google will have again same two options. Pay "ransom" or leave. They cannot leave EU, it's 2nd biggest market for them. Australia is nothing (no offense to fine folks living there) in population terms and revenue.
 

franticfrosty

Posts: 102   +117
So basically, Australia wants to kill search engines in hopes people find sites by trying random cráp with .com or .aus? Damn, Here I was thinking Australia was actually somewhat mildly intelligent, my bad.

ALSO, I kinda hope this goes through so I can make 1 QuinTrillion links of my site on google so I can make BILLIONS! FINALLY I HAVE A GET RICH QUICK SCHEME! Thanks australia!
 

dihartnell

Posts: 28   +20
There's a difference between google showing you a link, you clicking on it and then google opens it within the google ecosystem and pops adverts in and collects all the revenue and the alternative which is Google showing you a link to a source (and a snippet of text) and then when you click it it opens the sources webpage and they collect the revenue.


If it's the former (I think the France example may be this) then google should probably pay up, but if its the latter example (I think this what Australia are trying charge for) then that does not seem to be in the media companies best interests as if google stop linking to them then a significant amount of traffic to their sites will cease (along with revenue from Adverts)
 
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Jpe1701

Posts: 60   +62
While I do agree that the power some of these big tech companies have to censor and control the internet is scary, I also don't understand why these news sites aren't using ads and sponsored links for revenue like the all online news sites. I mean I have no idea how that stuff works really but doesn't more clicks from Google search mean more money and more chance at selling subscriptions? What am I missing?
 

Austinturner

Posts: 159   +165
Hmmm... I remember seeing a comment recently on another site/article from a supposed Australian that said that they were 100% supportive of Google here. The main reason being that it was a giant Australian news corporation lobbying for it (where they control more than 2/3rds of the media).

If there were any Australians in the forum to confirm/correct what I'm remembering, that would help. But if it's true, it would help make sense as to why it sounds like such a dumb move lol
I’m Australian, this is just a government shakedown of google for the benefit of their entrenched media mogul mates (Murdoch and friends). It is also designed to disadvantage the government broadcaster ABC (which won’t get these benefits like access to search algorithm data and who coincidentally the conservative government doesn’t like). Its also designed to benefit only big media companies, making it even harder for blogs or small competitors in the news business to grow and challenge the murdochs of this world.

I’m 100% supportive of Google in this fight (that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t take them to task for monopoly practices in advertising etc, but if they can be right in one regard and wrong in another).
 

s3thra

Posts: 30   +38
TechSpot Elite
I’m Australian, this is just a government shakedown of google for the benefit of their entrenched media mogul mates (Murdoch and friends). It is also designed to disadvantage the government broadcaster ABC (which won’t get these benefits like access to search algorithm data and who coincidentally the conservative government doesn’t like). Its also designed to benefit only big media companies, making it even harder for blogs or small competitors in the news business to grow and challenge the murdochs of this world.

I’m 100% supportive of Google in this fight (that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t take them to task for monopoly practices in advertising etc, but if they can be right in one regard and wrong in another).
Another Australian here. @Austinturner has summed it all up perfectly.
 

brucek

Posts: 805   +1,106
TechSpot Elite
Telling Google they have to license other people's content they use, or respect instructions not to use it, is fine. Telling them they have to both use it and pay for it is complete BS.
 

Karlos95

Posts: 172   +98
Another Australian here. @Austinturner has summed it all up perfectly.

Another here! I am hoping google bring down the liberals to be honest. Worst party by far in the last 10 years. So much corruption it actually hurts and they get away with it because of Murdoch!!!

Google should take them both down and teach them all a lesson.

This will only hurt small business, something liberals are supposed to be helping yet they only help donors, and because of Murdoch, everyone still votes for them.

Yes, it is scary that 1 business can do this to a gov, but 1 media empire can decide who is running a country, that is more scary. Where you at democracy.
 

candle_86

Posts: 729   +730
Google continues to drive those nails in their own coffin and is just adding fuel to the fire of so many being anti-google. They have enjoyed a pretty good run up to now but it appears they gotten way too big for their own pants and better be prepared for a hard fall ......

You way off on this, I'm anti google because of their strong anti conservative bias but on this I'd agree with, shutdown the australia search and when they go to Google now it's the us site where they have no say
 

DonquixoteIII

Posts: 88   +51
Let see... Google wants free access to a country's copyrighted news. Dunno. Maybe they should start by asking Rupert Murdoch for his opinion. (I'd like to be the proverbial fly at that discussion....)
 

p51d007

Posts: 2,734   +2,061
If google would just LINK to the article, it would be one thing (even if they get ad revenue). But, if they are mining the story, to put it on their own site, that is another thing.
 

psycros

Posts: 3,460   +4,037
What is not being mentioned here, rather conspicuously is, that almost every country Google demands the right to show the ENTIRETY of any content they mine from a non-gated sight. In other words, if they can scrape it they want the right to treat it as their own content where you only see THEIR ads. They did this for years in the US until a consortium of media companies forced them to either pay up or stop showing articles. They did the latter in almost every case - Google just provides links to news sites now. Google gives almost nothing back to actual content creators. But hey, you know what's nice? Duckduckgo exists, so Google can eat it. Besides, who wants to use a search engine that censors anything it doesn't agree with AND forwards your personal into to the government so you can be put on a watch list??
 

Homerlovesbeer

Posts: 143   +147
I’m Australian, this is just a government shakedown of google for the benefit of their entrenched media mogul mates (Murdoch and friends). It is also designed to disadvantage the government broadcaster ABC (which won’t get these benefits like access to search algorithm data and who coincidentally the conservative government doesn’t like). Its also designed to benefit only big media companies, making it even harder for blogs or small competitors in the news business to grow and challenge the murdochs of this world.

I’m 100% supportive of Google in this fight (that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t take them to task for monopoly practices in advertising etc, but if they can be right in one regard and wrong in another).
 

Homerlovesbeer

Posts: 143   +147
Another Aussie here and I'm also happy for Google to flip the bird to the news agencies here that have no idea how to publish an unbiased and balanced article.

Also most news stories are so poor you can know the whole picture within 3 lines which is about how much of an article Google shows during a search.

Bullying by Murdock's puppets will hopefully create a huge backlash.

 

Ludak021

Posts: 448   +307
It is utterly stupid to ask a company that charges for web site's "ranking and visibility" in search results to pay websites for being shown in search results. I wont get into details, but what about other search engines that you can use and that won't be influenced by google ad sense?