Pay To List French News Sites? “Non,” Writes Back Google To France — It’ll Just Drop Them

Google has sent a letter to the French policy makers about a proposal to charge Google for linking to their content.

France 24 reports Google threatened French publishers by telling them they will not pay to link to their content and if they are forced to, Google will simply stop linking to them.

The official letter, written in French, doesn’t appear to be written in such a direct tone. The letter describes how this proposal can hurt the internet as a whole, can hurt French readers and most importantly – hurt French publishers. Google says they send four billion clicks per month to publishers and 1 billion of those clicks comes from Google News. Google News is free, there are no ads on Google News, but yet Google has an AdSense program that paid out over $6.5 billion to U.S. publishers from in 2011. So Google believes they are doing their part in helping news publishers remain financially fit.

French news publishers obviously feel otherwise. Google does make it sound that if the law is passed, Google will not participate and remove all French publishers from their index.

Meanwhile, Brazilian publishers may boycott Google News.

Google and France have not always seen eye to eye, here are some headlines on Google and France:

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Google: Business Issues | Google: News | Google: Outside US | Top News


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • Andy Nicol

    If you want promoting through Google, don’t make a fuss.
    If you don’t, then tag your pages.

  • Nick Stamoulis

    I feel like forcing Google (or anyone) to pay for the links they post to someone’s content kinda of defeats the purpose of the web. I can appreciate that French media outlets want to keep their business alive and make a profit, but I feel like this isn’t the way to go about it.

  • Kevin Gerding

    The best thing for French media outlets to do is work with Bing to display their content exclusively through Bing for a reasonable payment and block Google from indexing it. Problem solved.

  • Andi the Minion

    Surely the web brings companies more people than they had before, I wouldn’t have an issue with Google linking to us. That is what the web is all about isn’t it?

  • jnffarrell1

    Bite the hand that feeds you table scraps. What cur would do that? Probably the same dog that dropped the bone for a bigger one reflected from the water in Aesop’s Fable. Jealousy or greed, the result is the same, no nutrition.

  • Durant Imboden

    I think “threatened” suggests that Google is somehow playing the heavy. As Nick Stamoulis points out, the Web is what it is. If the French publishers want to change one of the Web’s most fundamental principles, there’s no reason why Google should feel obligated to help them do so.

  • Pat Grady

    Headline: Invisible Hand Slaps Disappearing Media’s Last Gasp.

  • Jon

    The French publishers aren’t really upset that Google is linking to their content. As Andy Nicol pointed out, if that was the case, they’d simply block Googlebot-News from their sites. What this is really about is these French publishers are trying to extort money from Google.

  • cryptblade

    I say pull out of France. Cut losses. France sucks anyway. No one likes France or the French. The French are dead.

  • Clayburn Griffin

    Oh, France.

  • Johan

    That’s true and i’m french.

  • kiran bhanushali

    Murdoch’s strategy. Monkey see monkey do

  • Durant Imboden

    To be fair, the French aren’t being any whinier than Rupert Murdoch has been.

  • Alan Charnock

    1 billion clicks from Google news, I wonder how many of these are “not provided” ?

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