The tit-for-tat battle in Europe between Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) and various publishers just heated up.
Google manipulating European search results
On the heels of Google being accused of distorting news in European search results, the dominate search engine in Europe, with nearly 90 percent of all traffic in the region,has recently discontinued displaying search results of news stories published by German publishers who are suing the firm.
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According to a Financial Times article the latest punch thrown by Google follows a property rights dispute between California tech firm and German-based Axel Springer, Europe’s most widely read newspaper. Other media groups, including TV and radio stations and newspapers, are seeking compensation from Google for publication of brief news snippets in the firm’s search results.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) is essentially saying that if the news publications want compensation for appearing in search results, it’s time to ignore the companies. It will be interesting to see how lucrative the news publications digital business models are when search engine traffic from Google falls to a virtually non-existent level.
German publishers deciding to sue Google
“Some German publishers have decided to sue Google because we use snippets and thumbnails to direct readers to the relevant publishers’ sites,” Google’s Managing Director in Germany, Phillip Justus, was quoted as saying from a blogpost. “We regret this legal approach very much because every publisher could always decide for themselves whether and how their contents are displayed in our services.”
Before the shunning of the publishers in Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s search results, the German publishers had displayed a high degree of defiance. “We are afraid of Google,” Mathias Döpfner, chief executive of Axel Springer, was quoted as saying in April. “I have to say so clearly and honestly because hardly any of my colleagues dares to do so publicly.”
The basis of the publisher’s legal case is a German “ancillary copyright” law that granted publishers the right to license web content for use by others, but this didn’t hold. After Google engaged in lobbying, the law was watered down with the new provision that news aggregators be allowed to show excerpts without having to pay, the report said.
As previously reported in ValueWalk on several occasions, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) is under intense pressure in Europe and in some cases the attacks between publishers and the search giant have taken a personal tone.