Wall Street Journal Supports Google’s Dominance of the Content Industry

Compare and contrast: a Wall Street Journal article linked directly, and one reached via Google (click the top link in the search results). The former leads to a preview and a paywall (or, at least, a signupwall), the latter does not.

The press are so concerned about the dominance of Google, at least in Europe, that they are making various (also foot-shooting) moves to try and bring in ancillary copyright. So why, I wonder, is the WSJ enhancing that dominance by privileging Google users over other users in terms of access to their content?

5 thoughts on “Wall Street Journal Supports Google’s Dominance of the Content Industry

  1. I suspect it’s a decision to get them traffic, get to the top of search results, and entice people, while direct links make it easier to bypass their paywall. (You can bypass in many cases by leveraging Google or rewriting direct links into pseudo-google links, but it’s more work than most people go to.)

    I also suspect this decision is far removed from any reporting/editorial discussion – made long ago, and likely mostly by the people responsible for website positioning

    • I agree completely with this comment.

      I would also add that there’s no intrinsic reason why revenue from a potential news-reader can’t implicitly be shared by WSJ with Google this way, as a matter of efficiency. The simple fact of the matter is that it takes money to get eyeballs. To the extent Google’s doing that, and it’s mutually beneficial, what’s unusual about that? Lots of products are offered at (effectively) reduced price via subsidies in this matter. Heck, newspapers themselves long have worked this way, with the cost of a copy greatly subsidized by the fees advertisers pay to be featured in those newspapers.

      Of course, whether WSJ or anyone is right to make that trade (eyeballs for foregone revenue) is a separate question, one I’m pretty sure neither of us has anywhere near the knowledge to reasonably evaluate.

  2. News websites with paywals aren’t real news sites. Just ignore them at let them wither away and die. I don’t see how anyone can trust information from an organization that does junk like that.