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Pubs Could Sue For Google News Revenue

  • ClickZ, Friday, February 27, 2009 11:30 AM
When Google launched Google News in 2002, many in the media world said the search giant had created a product it didn't dare monetize, notes ClickZ's Zachary Rodgers. The thinking was that Google News relied entirely on major media companies for its content, and that these firms would instantly sue if Google tried to make money off their content.

Well, that was 2002, towards the beginning of the newspaper industry's death spiral. Now, with newspaper and other print companies reeling, Google has begun serving ads on Google News results in the U.S. In a blog post announcing the move, Google business product manager Josh Cohen said the new ads were part of a broader initiative to introduce paid listings in more places, like Google Finance, Google Image Search, and YouTube video search.

The move could have significant repercussions for Google, Rodgers says. For starters, traffic to Google News is estimated at 16.5 million per month, according to January data from comScore. That's a lot of new eyeballs, which could translate into a nice chunk of revenue for the search giant. But Rodgers notes that publishers could still sue. As Sandra Baron, executive director at the Media Law Resource Center, says, "A significant issue for content providers is whether or not what Google provides becomes a substitute for going to the actual content providers' site. When that tension becomes too great, people seek legal solutions to it." Rodgers also points out that this is a different proposition in the U.S. than it is in Europe.

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