France and Google at Odds Over Paid Media Links

The logo for Google.

When most people need to do research or look up an interesting subject that they don’t know about, their first stop would probably be Google. I believe everyone in this class uses the search engine as well to find ideas for their next posts. However, the site might not be able to show every resource, specifically French news sites due to the ongoing conflict between the French government and the popular search engine.

According to France24, Google threatened to remove French media sites from its search results following the proposal of a law that would make search engines pay for content from the country’s news sites. In addition, the site said in a letter that the proposal would “threaten (Google’s) very existence.”

The origin of the issue lies in the recent decline of newspaper publications and subscriptons. With many groups launching online versions of their newspaper, readers have been canceling their hard-copy editions because of the vast amount of free news content online. The new French government, according to the same article, is open to aiding struggling media companies, and this proposal would seem like the government’s first step towards helping publications.

It would seem logical that their first area to seek revenue from would be search engines. MSNNews reported that Google’s earned profits of $2.18 billion during its third quarter, according to the site’s earning statement. Additionally it earned $11.53 bilion from ad revenues, which is a 19 percent increase from last year.

With that kind of money even I would want to get a slice of the action, but I think that the methods of the French government are off-target and I’m not alone. Twitter users Lawrence McDonald and Derek Russell are only two of the many people who disagree with the government’s actions. Fortunately, there is a better way to get online sites to gain revenue and for search engines to not pay to provide links to publications.

Digital subscriptions are beginning to merge and it seems that people are willing to pay for them, according to Phys.orgThe New York Times began their online subscriptions last year, and even those who don’t pay for subscription fees can still view about 20 pages a month. For publications who need to find a better way to gain more revenue, this method is definitely better than charging search engines that always provide users with free links to resources from around the world. In a time where we rely so much on the Internet for free news, the idea of taxing search engines to help publications is absurd. Instead, leave the revenue issues with the newspaper groups.