Thursday, June 5, 2014

Content ownership - is Google using 3rd party site content for Ad revenue on their search results page?

Look at this:

Google shows content taken from another  website (mentioned in a miniature link below the content).

Would you click through or not?

These are the current results:

With this content taken from the 3rd party site shown on Google - is there still a need to go to the other site? How much is this going to affect the traffic on the other website? Is Google is monetizing other sites' content with their ads on the search results pages?

The site is tagged nicely, having the right descriptors in place.

I tested the site in Google's markup tester, and the markup for recipe and author works (Download).
The tool also shows a very different picture as a preview - misleading, in case an author tries to see what others are likely to see in Google.

Many sites rely on ad revenue to finance their operations and content - this will become impossible if above becomes more common. With this revenue taken off the other sites it seems as if Google is cutting off the branch on which they are sitting. And it very much seems like copyright infringement to me (but I am no lawyer and might be wrong).

the search - the result screen (top) is from June 1, 2014


  1. First, they tame you, then they train you, then they command you, then they use you (your content). Welcome to #TotalDomination #SideEffectsOfMonopoly

    1. Oh! Did you miss the events/hotels carousel? We are all serving one God (mark the G in CAPS)

  2. No, it is happening everywhere. Phone numbers, too, even when the business model relies on online support.

  3. To everyone that said "No" on the poll - how many almonds should you use? How much water should you put in the blender with it?
    The instructions give you an overall view, but you absolutely still need to click through in a case like that.

    There are certainly cases where you don't (asking when Albert Einstein was born, for instance) but in many of these cases they just share the basic info but not the whole picture. They aren't scraping the entire site.

  4. Also, if you're right in that by displaying this content they're discouraging users from clicking through - then they are stealing revenue from themselves to. Yes, they get to display an ad, but I only have to pay for an ad if someone clicks on it. If this content prevents people from clicking through to pages - organic or paid - then that's cutting into their business model as much as it is mine, right?

  5. I have no idea if I trust that recipe or not. I would want to explore around the page, and maybe the site, to establish that trust. But this is an entire recipe we're talking about. I doubt I'd ever be expecting glanceable information to meet that need. Additionally, I usually like to compare... I can't ever remember a time I only looked at one recipe and that was that.

    I wouldn't worry about Google stealing your content unless your content serves to directly and quickly answer simple questions. Even with weather queries, I find myself clicking through to the full website so I can see the radar and better customize/control my experience.

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  7. +Thomas Redmond and +Paul Nicolson - I used just the copy, and it was enough. I did not click through, first, only afterwards, to make this post.

    Two things though (after thinking about why it was enough for me):
    1. I was not looking for a recipe - but the overall way to make almond milk. And that's what is completely answered in the post - it does not require amounts, because I was only looking for the process. That said, for some searches I strongly believe this is decreasing the click through rate strongly - while I agree, that for other intents it might increase strongly.
    2. Reflecting further, I remembered that when looking at it a second time, I did not use the link from where the content was taken, but on positions further down on the page, because the link did not appear to have the same meaning as the other links. (perhaps more like wikipedia, where knowledge graph usually comes from.) That might be a separate item, but it could have impact on the overall click through behavior as well.


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