Google: Newspapers can't blame us for falling revenue

Google - putting its side across
Google - putting its side across

Google has given a major insight into what it thinks about quality content, news and paywalls after submitting its comments to the FTC in response to the Staff Discussion Draft.

Google has defended its policy of propagating news articles through Google News, despite high profile criticism from media moguls like Rupert Murdoch.

And Google's latest comments insist that the old media world cannot blame it for the problems with revenue, suggesting that it is in its best interests to help good quality journalism to survive.

In our interests...

"Google believes that by helping users more efficiently find different points of view they can better inform themselves as citizens, said Google's report.

"Quality content is complementary to Google's search services – if there is better content on the web, people are likely to do more searches, which will be good for Google's business and for users.

"Users' willingness to continue using Google to conduct Web searches is entirely dependent on Google's ability to help users identify relevant, useful search results.

"It is, therefore, in Google's interest to help content owners create and find better ways to monetize content."

Maximizing engagement

Google further suggests that publishers have "yet to come close to maximizing their ability to attract and keep users engaged with their online offerings."

" Some news organizations are heavily focusing on taking advantage of this opportunity by improving the user experience on their sites, and Google is committed to working with them on technology and design solutions," it adds.

However, it is the declining revenues that is looked at in some detail by Google, and the internet giant suggests that the FTC should not be investigating the decline in things like print classified ads – an area which has been decimated by online options.

Changing business environment

"The Discussion Draft laments that newspapers' classified advertising revenue has fallen from $19.6 billion in 2000 to $6 billion in 2009," states Google.

"However, the loss of this revenue is the result of a changing business environment: Many businesses do not place classified ads with newspapers because the people they want to reach no longer look for advertisements in print newspapers.

"As with the issues relating to subscription revenues, the issues that newspapers face with diminished classified advertising revenue are not an appropriate candidate for regulatory intervention.

"This is revenue that has been lost due to a change in the classified advertising business, a change that reflects, moreover, more and more vigorous competition.

"The FTC would ordinarily regard such a situation as a cause for celebration – consumers are getting a better product at a lower price – not an opportunity to slow down that innovation through regulation."

So, it's a case of 'look at yourselves before you blame us', from Google.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.