John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Ads in Google News? Cue Newspaper Industry Outcry in 3… 2… 1

When [Google CEO] Eric Schmidt says he worries about the newspaper industry, it’s crocodile tears.

Brian Tierney, chief executive of Philadelphia Media Holdings, which own The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Philadelphia Daily News

Leave it to Google to find a bit of meat on the revenue-starved bones of the newspaper industry. On Wednesday, the company extended its AdWords program to Google News, serving up text ads alongside news searches in much the same way it does regular Google searches. Search for news about, say, mesothelioma, and you’ll be shown the broad spectrum of ads touting mesothelioma legal services (click on image below).


Google (GOOG) announced the move in a post to its official blog:

In recent months we’ve been experimenting with a variety of different formats, like overlay ads on embedded videos from partners like the AP. We’ve always said that we’d unveil these changes when we could offer a good experience for our users, publishers and advertisers alike, and we’ll continue to look at ways to deliver ads that are relevant for users and good for publishers, too.”

The addition of AdWords to Google News was inevitable as the economy continues to weaken and Google looks to expand its revenue streams. But so too may be the outcry over the move. In 2006, the World Association of Newspapers demanded that Google News stop indexing its member sites on the grounds that Google was profiting from the use of their copyright material. Agence France-Presse sued Google for the same thing in 2005. At the time, Google News carried no advertisements and hence, no obvious revenue stream. What will they, and other members of the fast-deteriorating newspaper industry say now that it does? As Searchblog’s John Battelle quips, “This one will kick up some dust.”

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work