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Google (NSDQ: GOOG) News has defended its recent deal to host AP, AFP, PA and Canadian Press stories against charges it will hit publishers’ web traffic. At the Association of Online Publishers conference in London, Peter Bale, executive producer of rival MSN.co.uk, said the deal “is welcome news for the AP”: But I think publishers should be very, very, very aware of what that really means for them – I’d imagine that The Guardian, The Times and others will see quite a bump downwards in traffic from that.” MSN.co.uk has syndication agreements with 45 text publishers.
Google News business product manager Josh Cohen (pictured) told paidContent:UK: “Our belief is that it’s allowing more original content to surface. While there may be a drop for some of the agency content (on the sites of newspapers who syndicate agency stories), they’re going to see an increase in the traffic to their original content. When we crawl that content, it’s not automatically considered a duplicate. Whether or not there’s a drop, we’ll see, but I think, even if there is a drop from the agency content publishers used to get, we believe that there’ll be more traffic to distribute and monetise their content.”
Earlier, Cohen answered Bale’s doubts on a panel discussion: “The issue we had for our users, we often have 50 different stories, half of those could be the exact same article. We try to categorise those articles as the same content and reward it by sending users to the originator of that content. We’ll continue to send users directly to (original stories on other sites). For the news agencies, they have a different business model. We came at it fairly agnostically. We don’t want to own content – we want to help people find that content. There’s a tremendous opportunity for publishers – it’s not zero-sum game. We believe (Google News) is additive to the publishers.”