As Predicted, Smaller Media Outlets Are Getting Screwed By Australia's Link Tax

from the exactly-as-we-warned dept

Ever since the giant news organizations, led by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., began pushing the ridiculous idea of forcing Google and Facebook (and often just Google and Facebook) to pay a "link tax," we've been pointing out that while this might be a windfall of free money for the news giants, small news organizations (like, um, us) would likely get totally screwed over. With Australia leading the charge of silliness and passing its link tax, we're discovering that our predictions were exactly correct.

The big Australian publishers, News Corp. and NINE, are making out like bandits, while the smaller publications? Not so much.

A long-term commercial deal between Facebook and Google and Guardian Australia is expected to be completed in a matter of days, adding to a raft of agreements struck between large tech companies and major media outlets since February. While companies like Nine Entertainment Co, News Corp Australia and Seven West Media are already implementing plans off the back of the deals, there is increasing concern among smaller companies that they still have not been remunerated fairly.

Of course, this isn't really surprising. In fact, the real worry should be that the administrative costs for the internet companies to have to figure out how to compensate smaller publishers is so unworthy of the hassle, that those smaller publications will just start to be excluded en masse from Google and Facebook, once again serving the interests of the largest publishers, and not actually helping the cause of journalism at all.

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Filed Under: australia, link tax, rupert murdoch, wealth transfer
Companies: facebook, google, news corp.


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  1. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 22 Jun 2021 @ 9:19am

    Re:

    I'm not sure whether it's correct to call this a 'link tax'

    They're being charged for links, that's a link tax, though if you want I suppose 'link extortion' would also be appropriate since they have no real way to refuse to use and therefore pay for links.

    The big platforms are so dominant publishers can't afford not to be on them.

    Tough. The local paper may be the place to host ads, does that mean I get to demand that they host ads to my store and pay me for the privilege?

    This isn't a matter of 'survival' so much as naked greed, where the papers saw other companies making a lot of money and decided that they wanted what they thought was 'their cut' despite the fact that their content benefits those other companies far less than it benefits them, something made clear in the past when Google was smart and just pulled the content only to have the news companies scream bloody murder.

    Short of breaking them up and potentially changing the internet as we know it, this might be a solution that levels the playing field a bit.

    It's not 'leveling the playing field', it's tilting it entirely in one side's favor by telling two companies that they will be subsidizing another set of major companies, paying them for the traffic and extra eyeballs that they'd been getting for free.


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