AP vs. Google

AP to Google: Ill murderlize every last one of ya!

AP to Google: "I'll murderlize every last one of ya!"

Old media vs. New media.

Ink-stained wretches vs. Internet hipsters.

This is an ugly showdown that has been brewing for years.  The Associated Press and other content creators (mostly newspapers) are angry about aggregation engines like Google and Yahoo cashing in on content they haven’t created (basically selling ads to other people’s content).  They are also upset that Google’s complex search algorithms do not favor brand name content creators – like, we assume, the AP.

AP has a point, but I’m not sure this strategy is the way to take on Google.

Here is BusinessWeek’s take on the mounting battling:

“The Associated Press is hopping mad over what it calls “misappropriation” of its content online. But the news service isn’t just complaining about it or threatening legal action against Web sites that it says unlawfully reproduce its news stories.

In a largely overlooked aspect of its battle with Google (GOOG) and other aggregators of news content, the AP plans to build an online destination where it hopes Web users can easily find and read its news stories and those of other content creators.”

This is a dangerous, risky move by AP.  Google owns search and delivers about 19 percent of all web traffic to newspaper and media sites, according to BusinessWeek.  But never mind that.  Does the AP really want to compete against – well – the internet?  Do they really think they have the technology and web know-how to even consider building a search engine / news portal that could rival Google?  Google has become almost synonymous with web search – and displacing them at this point seems very unlikely.  And trying seems rather foolhardy.

Jeff Jarvis, the author of “What Would Google Do” and the BuzzMachine blog, thinks that AP and other content creators would be better off working with Google.  He offers some compelling ideas for how that relationship could work.  My favorite idea is inserting metadata into news articles that would identify original reporting to set it apart from rewrites and summaries.  It’s certainly an idea worth exploring.

And as Jarvis writes in disbelief: “AP is, incredibly, looking to start a news portal. A damned portal. Sherman, who set the Wayback Machine to 1998? Fix it, willya? Are they kidding?”

Apparently not

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