Wake-up call for newspapers – Google to realise untapped value in right-to-reply content

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I almost spat out my Pret coffee this morning when I read that Google is launching a right-to-reply service on GoogleNews (Richard Wray, Media Guardian).
Google says it plans to let “those people or organizations who were actual participants in the story in question” comment on the story at GoogleNews. Unedited. Even more intriguing is that Google will solicit these responses itself, as well as inviting people to send them in.
Ignoring for a moment the many questions this raises about how Google will do it, existing news organisations should be aware that this equates to a dangerous shot across their bows.
Why? Because Google has realised there is untapped value in the additional content provided by the people involved in news stories and it’s making a bid to capture that value.
Existing news organisations still work on the premise that space is finite and people’s time is limited, so their role is to provide content summarised and edited.
When you remove the space constraints the need for this edited summary doesn’t disappear, but the rationale for not including more content does. Why not have further information from the sources? If a health expert is quoted, why not let the expert explain themselves at greater length? If government officials think they’ve been misrepresented, why not let them justify their position?
As long as you have the report as the basis, additional relevant content adds value and can increase people’s trust.
If news websites are smart they’ll see Google’s new service for what it is – a bid to take over a major new area of content. If the news sites are really smart, they’ll respond fast and do it themselves.

Written by Martin Moore

August 13th, 2007 at 12:18 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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One Response to 'Wake-up call for newspapers – Google to realise untapped value in right-to-reply content'

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  1. What is a pret coffee? Dave will want to know

    Pete

    16 Aug 07 at 10:54 pm

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