October 23, 2014 Last Updated 7:24 am

German publishers ‘bow to pressure’, will allow Google to display search result snippets

Publisher’s group, VG Media, says it will continue the fight against Google, but concedes that lost web traffic is causing members economic pain

The German publishers represented by VG Media, over 200 in all, have given in to Google and will allow the search giant, for now, to display search result snippets without compensation. The trade group, which includes Axel Springer, had demanded that Google owned them money if their news snippets were displayed in full.

logo11wNo one, other than these publishers, expected Google to relent.

Google had pulled the search results from the publishers after the publishers sued the Mountain View company. Google’s response forced the publishers to face the fact that they were holding a gun to their own heads and either surrender to the reality of the situation, or else continue to duke it out in court, with no guarantee that even a win would result in a change in Google’s position.

VG Media’s last move was to ask Google for a “ceasefire” until the Federal Cartel Office made a final decision on the matter. But Google rejected the idea, forcing the German publishers to reconsider their position.

In a statement released by VG Media, the publishers admitted that Google’s actions to withhold their search results was putting “major economic pressure” on the publishers as they began to lose traffic. VG Media continues to maintain that they are in the right and will continue their fight. But even a “win” might not persuade Google to alter its position. If forced, this time by a court or regulatory agency, to pay for the right to display news snippets, Google is likely to again simply say that they will comply with the ruling by again withholding the snippets so that they do not have to pay. How the publishers win this battle is a mystery.

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