Traffic This

Very interesting piece on the current mudsling fest between the old guard and the new whippersnappers over on Ars (“Tech tapeworms”: Bloggers denounce “parasite” label at FTC). Worth the read I think.

One comment in particular caught my eye:

Much of the bellyaching by content producers is directed at Google, most notably at Google News. Senior Business Product Manager for News, Josh Cohen, noted that News now comes in 30 different language editions and sends “a billion clicks a month to publishers worldwide.”

The Wall Street Journal’s managing editor, Robert Thomson, sees this traffic a different way: as something that mainly benefits Google. Sure, Google may send search traffic to his sites, but the company gets far more value from the practice than the WSJ does; many readers don’t need to click through to find out more about articles, but are instead satisfied with headlines, a brief excerpt, and perhaps a picture.

The question that content producers should be asking (which is not asked in the piece) is what their traffic would be like if Google was not sending them traffic. I would bet that they would not make up the “billion clicks a month” if Google were to drop them. It would be an interesting experiment to for them to conduct though.

Updated later that same day – turns out that according to Hitwise the Wall Street Journal gets 25% of its traffic from Google and Google News (obtained via


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