El Mundo says that the worldwide head of Google News was in Madrid recently and told senior politicians that if they went ahead with the proposed “Google Tax” he’d close the popular news service in Spain.
Ironically enough, El Mundo is one of the big backers of the Google Tax….
Anyway, Congress went ahead and passed the first draft of the law today, meaning it now goes for a second vote before being enshrined in law. If it is passed as is, news aggregators such as Google News will have to pay online news sites everytime they link to their content. This moronic law ignores the fact that Google is simply passing users along to the news sites (who then click on ads, they hope) and isn’t directly making any money off them.
Google told Spain that the law as it is left them no wriggle room, and they’d prefer to leave the market altogether. It’s not as if anyone else will take over – the law effectively stops anyone from developing any sort of news aggregator, even those little apps on your phone that tell you the breaking headlines.
It’s almost as if the politicians want an uninformed populace……
Anyway, Google reckons that this means online traffic to the major news sites will drop by about 10%, and up to 30% to the smaller sites. In short, it will drop online revenue to the smaller news sites, probably driving them out of business.