Danny Sullivan vs. Newspapers

Danny Sullivan has a delightful rant on Daggle, his personal blog, entitled “Google’s Love For Newspapers & How Little They Appreciate It“.  It’s a fun read–though like all rants it could use an editor–and there’s even a fair amount I agree with.

Still, as I noted in a comment, he does steal a few bases. Specifically, he seems to see Google’s engagement with the newspapers as a big favor Google is bestowing on them, when it’s quite clear that Google benefits financially from aggregating brand-name content.

My take: Google and the newspaper industry are in a dysfunctional, co-dependent relationship. The newspaper industry is crying out that the relationship is abusive, but is afraid of breaking up because it no longer knows if it can survive on its own without Google bringing home the traffic.

I agree with Sullivan is that the newspapers need to quit whining and take responsbility for their fate. But it would be nice if the blogosphere didn’t mock them en masse when they’re finally showing signs of trying to do so.

By Daniel Tunkelang

High-Class Consultant.

One reply on “Danny Sullivan vs. Newspapers”

Danny Sullivan responded to my comment. I recommend reading his entire post, as well as the full comment stream, but I think it’s only right to include his direct response to me here:

Daniel, thanks for your comment. Until literally a few weeks ago, Google made no money directly off Google News. But yet, it does and did help drive traffic to

I’m not suggesting that Google’s somehow altruistically offering Google News for the betterment of the world. Google’s a business. It launched Google News following the success of other preexisting news aggregators like Yahoo News.

I just don’t see how Google suddenly gets to be the brunt of all these publishers with complaints. And in terms of “love,” the point I’m making is that for all the complaints newspapers have about their supposed mistreatment by Google, they’ve had a lovefest compared to those who run ordinary web sites.

Want to cover news as an independent journalist? Good luck getting included into Google News — but the Wall Street Journal waltzes right in. Want to put up a paywall around your content but still get Google traffic. As I said, newspapers got the ability to do this years before ordinary web sites did. That’s the love I’m talking about.


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