Posted December 2, 2009 10:08 am by with 7 comments

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For this post, I need two volunteers!

Let’s take this announcement from Google:

…we’ve decided to allow publishers to limit the number of accesses under the First Click Free policy to five free accesses per user each day. This change applies to both Google News publishers as well as websites indexed in Google’s Web Search. We hope that this encourages even more publishers to open up more content to users around the world!

And yes, you sir. The Financial Times report on how much news scraping exists on the web:

The study of 101,000 articles published by 157 newspapers found that more than 75,000 sites reused 112,000 almost exact copies without authorisation, and a further 520,000 articles in part…The study found Google accounted for 53 per cent of the advertising being run alongside unlicensed stories

I will now combine these two articles into an incredible–or incredulous–observation. 🙂

Is it pure coincidence that on the day News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch was in Washington telling the FTC about the need to reform "fair use" laws to prevent the "theft" of its content, Attributor pulls out some heavy numbers in support and Google decides to bend a little?

I think not!

Forget the fact that Bing is rumored to be courting the newspaper industry to dump Google, the search engine plans to lose a significant slice of revenue, if the publishing industry faces any kind of mass reform. Think about it, Google offers to change the "First Click Free" terms in order to save the AdSense revenue it makes from bloggers, and the more nefarious scrapers.

It’s a small sacrifice, right?

You’ve heard of the expression "an irresistible force meets an immovable object," right? News Corp. is about to meet Google head-on!