It amazes me how many people still don't get it. I mean, I know technology makes change happen at an ever increasing pace, yet it still amazes me how many people refuse to accept change.
In early November, after much lobbying from the media, the Spanish government passed a law.
This new legislation requires every Spanish publication to charge services like Google News for showing even the smallest snippet from their publications - Google
"... for showing even the smallest snippet" is the part that really strikes me. I believe that every modern country allows to at least quote or mention a piece of "intellectual property" without having to pay for doing so. This is also the case in Spanish legislation, however, as it seems, this no longer applies to news publishers.
For those that may now know, I live in Spain. It's a country I profoundly like and enjoy living in, so naturally my first reaction to this news was pure inner anger as yet again, Spain demonstrates it does not realize (or doesn't want to realize) the changes in economic models and paradigms the advancement of technology brings.
Online publishing created a new, more scalable model of generating revenue from content (i.e. articles) you write, and here's why I believe it's much more scalable:
- No printing logistics or infrastructure required drastically reduces costs of operating your publishing business.
- Publishing online also removes physical distribution and sales costs.
- Everything is real-time. Probably one of the biggest disadvantages of traditional publishing was that by the time you received the paper, you already knew everything from Twitter. This was actually one of the main reasons Google created Google News. To help publishers get messages out as fast as possible, as they happen.
- Easier to identify topics of mass interest. Everything online is measurable. On paper, it isn't. Why not experiment writing posts, measure your traffic, and stick to those that prove to generate most traffic.
- Much easier to monetize. Placing AdSense on your site probably requires 0 people managing it. Selling advertising space on your press requires an army of salespeople.
So in general, it's easier to run an online business once you understand that creating quality content brings traffic, which in turns brings in revenues. Pretty simple, right? Well, I can't seem to reach a conclusion as to why Spanish publishers would want to flip the model and make Google pay them for posting fragments of their contents in search results, all with the aim to bring them traffic. It's in Google's interest to drive traffic to other websites. If Google's lucky enough, that site will have some AdSense on it and generate revenues for the search giant.
After a while I thought that maybe this is for the better. All of those publishers that lobbied the government have long ago lost their winning and competitive spirit. They have been overwhelmed by change and have been left behind. Maybe the Spanish "Google Tax" legislation will help "clear out the old, and make way for the new" as Steve Jobs once said.
As per the quote above, as Google can't even put "the smallest snippet", I believe they will also have to remove them from search results all together (please correct me if I'm wrong). This creates a tremendous opportunity for all the independent, small publishers and bloggers. Potentially millions of pages will be removed from Search Engine Indexes and surely many smaller sites will denote a considerable increase in traffic and revenues, while publishers' traffic drops and hopefully, one day, they will disappear.
Our industry does not respect tradition — it only respects innovation - Satya Nadella