With their ad revenue in free fall, big media companies are clamoring for higher placement for their content in Google search results. According to AdAge, media companies think their articles should be ranked more prominently in Google searches when they are the “original” source for follow-on reports. “You should not have a system where those who are essentially parasites off the true producers of content benefit disproportionately,” one executive tells AdAge.
It’s a far cry from a year ago when newspaper companies were complaining — in the words of Tribune Company owner Sam Zell — that Google was “stealing” their content by linking to it in Google News. In November, the issue came up at a meeting of Google’s Publishers Advisory Council, which includes The New York Times (NYSE: NYT), The Wall Street Journal, ESPN (NYSE: DIS), and Hearst. It’s expected to come up again at the next meeting of the council, scheduled for April 30.
For its part, Google says it’s difficult to determine what “original” content actually means, particularly when follow-up reports can have “original” content of their own. Plus, the onus is not only on Google (NSDQ: GOOG). Media companies can, of course, optimize their content so it shows up higher in search results.