Associated Press Declares War on the Internet

Media • Views: 1,819

Here’s one of the most short-sighted and self-destructive things I’ve ever seen the Associated Press do — they’re going to try to prevent search engines and blogs from even linking to their articles, unless they pay for the privilege.

Unbelievable. Rather than embrace the openness of the web and the vastly increased reach it gives them, the AP is going to pull its head back into its shell and build walls, in an ultimately futile attempt to control access to their stories. The goal seems to be nothing less than to destroy the concept of “fair use.” It’s the garrison mentality, writ large.

And not only that — they’re apparently planning to embed spyware in their articles that will phone home to AP: A.P. Cracks Down on Unpaid Use of Articles on Web.

Each article — and, in the future, each picture and video — would go out with what The A.P. called a digital “wrapper,” data invisible to the ordinary consumer that is intended, among other things, to maximize its ranking in Internet searches. The software would also send signals back to The A.P., letting it track use of the article across the Web.

How do you like the idea that the Associated Press will be spying on your Internet usage?

And their entire premise for this misguided move is wrong. Having links to their articles on search engines and blogs helps their revenue situation — enormously. A lot of people are clicking those links who wouldn’t have found them otherwise, and when they click through, the sites that host the AP articles increase their advertising impressions and click-throughs as well.

For this reason, I believe that if the AP is successful at shutting down the linking of their articles, it’s actually going to end up hurting their bottom line very substantially, not just from the loss of traffic but from the horrible publicity they’ll get when they try to enforce these draconian restrictions, in a medium that inherently resists restrictions.

They think it’s bad now — just wait.

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