Thursday, March 24, 2005

AFP Confused Over How Internet Actually Works

Mike at sums up AFP's lunatic moment very well:
"It is 2005, right? Sometimes you have to wonder when you read stories about a news agency like Agence France Presse (AFP) deciding that they should sue Google News over linking to their stories. Oh, the horror. How dare Google give them more traffic? Did someone in AFP's legal department sleep through the past ten years of the internet? AFP is complaining about the reuse of headlines, the reuse of the lead, and the reuse of images. All three of which are clear fair use instances. However, much more importantly, these all drive traffic to these AFP stories. It's hard to believe that there are still companies out there that don't get this simple fact. There are billions of dollars being spent by people trying to get better placement in Google, and here's one company suing Google for millions for daring to link to them."
Rather predictably, says 'internetherald' -Google responded thus:
'Okay, we do not need to go to court. We will simply delete all AFP links and info from our servers and blacklist any sites using AFP news.' So now over 600 small news websites are 'out o' luck' and no longer get syndicated by the number one search engine.

"Now we hear Reuters is cutting back its news services to bring people only to their website. Big users like CNN and MSNBC are getting diluted and cut back Reuters' feeds. So Reuters is turing into butthole # 2 this month."
Which leaves sites like -who use AFP Feeds- feeling like this:
"No matter how you look at it, AFP will lose this battle. It is inherently just an attempt to extort money out of Google. What AFP does not realize is how badly they have damaged their clients. Political Gateway is one of their clients and we have been devastated.

"Not only is our AFP news not syndicated [by Google], but our editorials and independent news feeds are also blacklisted... No news aggregation, no news syndication, no news on search engines, no readers can find us, no traffic...

"It is over, AFP killed us. We are no longer a viable news source. We feel sorry AFP employees may soon be laid off, but you cannot expect customers to stay with them for long while getting killed financially.
A Slashdot contributor has the last word:
Actually, it is more reminiscent of the scene in the old radio version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy where the philosophers confront Deep Thought:

Philosopher 1: We demand that that machine not be allowed to think about this problem.
Philosopher 1: We'll go on strike!
Philosopher 2: That's right, you'll have a national philosopher's strike on your hands!
Philosopher 2: Never you mind who it will inconvenience, you box of black legging binary bits, it'll hurt, buster, it'll hurt!


Blogger Johnathan said...

I completely agree! AFP doesn't get it.

I think, easily, 9 out of 10 websites would be extremely happy if Google would prominently feature both their text and images in top spots on a popular page. To me, knowing how much Google charges for advertising in some cases, I'd say the exposure AFP got was more than likely priceless.

8:47 am  

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