Google made the decision to close Google News in Spain as well as to remove all Spanish publishers from all other editions of Google News. Because of the Spanish government’s new law, which comes into effect in January, Google would have been required to pay all those publishers for merely linking to them from Google News.
The Spanish Newspaper Publishers’ Association, also known as AEDE, released a statement stating that the closure of Google News in Spain “will undoubtedly have a negative impact on citizens and Spanish businesses”.
While many people were watching to see what Spanish publishers would do in the face of the loss of all their Google News traffic, it wasn’t surprising to see that they want the decision to close Google News reversed. However they aren’t simply wanting it to be reversed so they can get traffic back, they are wanting it to be reversed so that the government forces Google to pay all the publishers for linking to their content.
“Given the dominant position of Google (which in Spain controls almost all of the searches in the market and is an authentic gateway to the Internet), AEDE requires the intervention of Spanish and community authorities, and competition authorities, to effectively protect the rights of citizens and companies”.
It is unlikely that Spanish government has any grounds to be able to force Google News to return to the country, despite the AEDE’s insistence that it is required to “protect the rights of citizens and companies”. But it is presumed that there are definitely some publishers upset about losing the traffic, although the AEDE refused to comment on the reactions from publishers. Free traffic is still free traffic and publishers still have the ability to monetize on the traffic the Google News sends to them, even if they are not getting paid for Google linking to them.
We do know that once a news site is removed from Google News, they can lose up to 80% of the traffic. This is what happened in Germany when Google was forced to remove thumbnails and snippets from a group of German publishers who were insisting that Google pay them for the use of both snippets and thumbnails. That group only lasted three weeks before they asked to be returned to Google News with snippets and thumbnails
What will the next news be? Many believe that Google will not relent on their position, as they do not make money specifically from Google News. But there could be unhappy publishers who decide to speak out about the change, although currently AEDE has been speaking for them and still insisting that Google pay them for linking.
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