Google threatens to drop links to French media

Oct 18, 2012
Google has threatened to exclude French media sites from its search results if France implements a proposed law forcing search engines to pay for content, according to a letter obtained by AFP. The letter sent by Google to several ministerial offices this month said it "cannot accept" such a move and the company "as a consequence would be required to no longer reference French sites."

Google has threatened to exclude French media sites from its search results if France implements a proposed law forcing search engines to pay for content, according to a letter obtained by AFP.

The letter sent by to several ministerial offices this month said it "cannot accept" such a move and the company "as a consequence would be required to no longer reference French sites."

It said such a , which would require Google to make payments to media sites for displaying links to their content, would "threaten (Google's) very existence".

It also noted that Google "redirects four billion 'clicks' per month towards the Internet pages" of French media.

Leading French newspaper publishers last month called on the government to adopt a law to force such as Google to pay for content.

They said a law should impose a settlement in the long-running dispute with Google, which receives high volumes of from user searches for news contained on media websites.

Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti told a parliamentary commission this week that she was in favour of the idea, calling it "a tool that it seems important to me to develop".

Google France said earlier that it believed such a law "would be harmful to the Internet, Internet users and news websites that benefit from substantial traffic" sent to them by Google's search engine.

Newspapers around the world have seen their bottom lines come under pressure as their print advertising revenues slide and online readers resist paying for access when so much content is free on the Internet.

French lawmakers last year rejected plans for a tax on online advertising revenues, fearing the project would hurt small local companies more than global Internet giants like Google, or .

Google France representatives are to meet Friday with officials from the to discuss the project and this week's statement from European data protection agencies saying Google's new privacy policy does not comply with EU laws.

Google rolled out the new privacy policy in March, allowing it to track users across various services to develop targeted advertising, despite sharp criticism from US and European consumer advocacy groups.

The EU agencies told Google it had a few months to fix the policy or face legal action.

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User comments : 13

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gmurphy
5 / 5 (7) Oct 18, 2012
Let the French media sites stew in their own juices for a little while, I'm pretty sure they won't find the result to their liking.
Tangent2
4.1 / 5 (7) Oct 18, 2012
The French are isolationists.. so I say let them isolate themselves, they are only hurting themselves in the long run anyway. Even Quebec French people are trying to isolate themselves by trying to get a referendum going again. Sadly, that is the French way, complain and isolate.

I speak both English and French and am fluently bilingual, and this news has even disgusted me. Another reason why I will never call or consider myself French and put myself in the same class as them. I am English, period.
baudrunner
4.5 / 5 (8) Oct 18, 2012
It actually works the other way around - the French media sites should be paying Google to prioritize links to their sites over the competition's links. It's a system that works, and is called "pay per click". Additionally, once a user accesses the link to a web site, the web site benefits financially when ads placed on those sites are clicked by those same users through affiliate revenue sharing plans. It seems that French media just wants to dip their fingers into Google's huge revenue stream, which it earns legitimately in the same manner. It appears that the French want to eliminate the "everybody wins" scenario.

I don't think that the French principals in this case have the actual knowledge of how things work in this business.
ValeriaT
1 / 5 (1) Oct 18, 2012
It's a system that works, and is called "pay per click"
But it would harm the Internet users anyway. These users are expecting the search results sorted by their factual relevance, not by money of advertisers.. The French government simply decided to pump the money out the Internet and it will impact its users in this or another way.
Parsec
5 / 5 (4) Oct 18, 2012
When the French or anyone else threaten the revenue streams of any business, those businesses have not only the right, but the obligation to pursue whatever actions they can to protect themselves.

If Google doesn't want to pay companies to direct customers to them, it seems like the biggest losers would be those companies that are losing the business. But hey... I am not an expert on this. At any rate, Google always has the right to refuse to carry the links and avoid the fees.

If the states involved then wish to punish Google with spurious privacy complaints, Google would have much less of an incentive to provide its free service for the French people. I suspect this would be a HUGE competitive disadvantage to all sorts of French firms who need access to search engines to find technical, fashion, and other information from other countries. But again, it just seems that way to me.
Just_some_guy
2 / 5 (1) Oct 19, 2012
If the states involved then wish to punish Google with spurious privacy complaints, Google would have much less of an incentive to provide its free service for the French people.

So you think it's free do you? That's as far from the truth as you can get. Whenever you purchase something, you also pay for all the advertising that company has done. Money that goes strait into the pockets of Google and other similar companies.
On the internet, as well as all other media, the end user is overwhelmed with mostly unwanted advertising that in the end they are forced to pay for when buying various products. It's a downwards spiral. Today's media business model needs to change for the good of us all!
Do what I do, support organisations like the Wikimedia Foundation.
Meyer
4.5 / 5 (2) Oct 19, 2012
So you think it's free do you? That's as far from the truth as you can get. Whenever you purchase something, you also pay for all the advertising that company has done.

When you buy something, you're also paying for every employee's restroom break. Maybe they should make employees clock out for the restroom so you don't have to pay for it.

Marketing is just as essential to business as body functions are to the employees. You'll have a hard time buying from companies that never advertise because such companies tend not to stay in business long. Online advertising is very cheap compared to TV or print media.

Do what I do, support organisations like the Wikimedia Foundation.

Wikipedia's gigantic "appeal" banners are more intrusive than a Google ad block or if they were to put affiliate links in the references section to fund the project. Worse, AdBlock doesn't automatically block the Wikipedia banner ads.
thingumbobesquire
3 / 5 (2) Oct 19, 2012
Be very afraid France, be very afraid. What happens if you as a nation become virtually non-existent? What then? Mon dieu..
thingumbobesquire
3 / 5 (2) Oct 19, 2012
Google--"Apres nous le Deluge"
Trewoor
3.3 / 5 (4) Oct 19, 2012
Let's face the trough GOOGLE is making a lot of money. And some greed people in media decide to put the idea forward so they can take some of this money. The go with this to some absolutely not thinking politicians (as always)… and here we go...
Aloken
not rated yet Oct 19, 2012
Just drop the links to french news sites. It'll create the opportunity for new websites to take over french news coverage online.
Tangent2
1 / 5 (1) Oct 19, 2012
Just drop the links to french news sites. It'll create the opportunity for new websites to take over french news coverage online.


I don't see how that could work, seeing as how it is mostly French people that visit the French news sites in the first place for a reason, they are in French.
DaFranker
1 / 5 (1) Oct 19, 2012
I don't see how that could work, seeing as how it is mostly French people that visit the French news sites in the first place for a reason, they are in French.

Basically: Websites with French content, with news on France, but hosted elsewhere (like, say, the UK or Belgium or something), take over the large market for web news sites provided by the French as soon as Google removes those that are actually hosted in France.

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