Google News won’t index solo journalists

SplatF | GigaOM
Dan Frommer, who helped to launch Business Insider and now is covering technology on his own site, describes how Google News rejected his request to be indexed because he’s a one-man shop. He posts the email from Google News explaining the policy, which includes this passage:

“We don’t include sites that are written and maintained by one individual. We currently only include articles from sources that could be considered organizations, generally characterized by multiple writers and editors, availability of organizational information, and accessible contact information.”

Frommer writes, “Never mind solo shops practicing entrepreneurial journalism — Google wants news with overhead!” Frommer writes. He argues that the policy doesn’t make sense because he’s doing the same professional work he did when he worked at Forbes and Business Insider. “Google’s best future is one where legacy media is decentralized, and where an aggregator like Google News helps people make sense of it all.” Mathew Ingram sizes up the situation and concludes, “This is just another example of how Google has failed to take advantage of Google News and its real disruptive potential.” (Poynter.org is indexed by Google News.)

We have made it easy to comment on posts, however we require civility and encourage full names to that end (first initial, last name is OK). Please read our guidelines here before commenting.

  • http://twitter.com/CecilTimes Cecil Times

    My news site recently had the same rejection for inclusion in Google News. No matter that The Cecil Times is produced by a 30-year veteran of several major mainstream media outlets, routinely beats the local print newspaper and only produces original content. By the way, the local print newspaper is hidden behind a paywall but Google News dutifully directs its users to content they cannot access.

    To add insult to injury, the Google search engine treats the dedicated website, http://www.ceciltimes.com , as a blog and search results only appear if a user clicks on the ‘more’ bar and then clicks on ‘blogs.’

    As a result, most of our site’s traffic comes from direct traffic and other search engines. One irony is that Google ‘news alerts’ emails also refuse to index our content directly but will include links to Topix, where the Topix “roboblogger” has posted links to our content.  Go Figure…

  • Anonymous

    Funny, I commented under a racist comment on another post – sending the racist to the Onion’s story about a decoy site for jerky commenters — and my comment was deleted, but not the racist’s comment. And yet, this spammer’s comment, like the racist’s comment, is allowed to stand. I wonder if this has to do with my calling out clueless posts written by Poynter’s staffers.

  • Anonymous

    Particularly ironic is when news sites with overhead (but not necessarily original content) pick up my solo reporting and analysis, and then that secondhand report does get indexed in Google News.

    Norman Oder
    Atlantic Yards Report
    AtlanticYardsReport.com

  • Tyler Olsen

    Actually they do. There are plenty of small, community newspapers (especially here in Canada) staffed by only a single reporter/editor that get noted on Google. So this policy seems even more arbitrary.

  • Anonymous

    Given that Google News has maintained this policy and been up-front about it since the site was created, I’m kind of baffled why Frommer would treat this as news, even if he somehow wasn’t aware of the policy.

    Nevertheless, its pretty clear that Google instituted this policy so that a billion individual bloggers wouldn’t bother Google to add their site to Google News.  At that time, the policy made sense; there were almost no one-man sites worth including, and a blanket prohibition was the easiest way to deal with the issue.  Nine years later, though, the state of journalism has obviously changed drastically, and in the future there are going to be more and more individuals providing news on their own sites that you can’t find anywhere else on.  At some point, Google News is going to have to stop rejecting solo sites solely on the basis of the  number of people writing for the site.  But I don’t know how they are going to do so without running into the problems they avoided by shutting out one-man sites in the first place.  Frommer’s site is a perfect example – is it a news site or a site offering analysis of news posted elsewhere (though repeated there)? It’s very, very hard to draw that line, and yet that line does have to be drawn by Google News, or the site will be overwhelmed by too many of the latter.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FENYRFX3J26ZTAMZBKNSEDLHTA Rachel

     If you’re thinking about this as a career, I suggest you decide early
    what you really want to be. Do you want to be a journalist, or do you
    want to get paid for writing news stories?
    http://no3chromesite.com

  • Anonymous

    Good lord, this is even more hilarious than I thought. A guy who once worked for a fifth-rate business-commentary site founded by a disgraced stock analyst who brought his Wall Street ethics with him fully intact  to his new “journalism” venture — a site that is so puerile and reliably inaccurate that when it’s noticed at all, it’s usually as the object of widespread derision — founds his own business-commentary site and — oh my god — *gives it the name SplatF*, is actually complaining that “SplatF” is not being picked up by Google News. And in making the claim that he deserves such pickup, he actually cites that fact that he was a founder of the awful commentary site. 

    I think some of us really need to get over ourselves.

  • Anonymous

    In other news, me. Me. Me, me. Me me me. I am me. See? Me. Me. ME! 

    And furthermore, me. 

  • http://www.mrmedia.com Bob Andelman

    Unfortunately, this has been Google News’ policy for some time. I’ve been producing original entertainment news content for five years — roughly 900 unique audio, video and/or text interviews — and they still won’t touch MrMedia.com. This year I recruited other contributors in hopes of making the cut, but still no go. It’s frustrating that Google News will post the same wire service story as published by hundreds of newspapers but turns its back on one-man shops. And good luck pleading your case to a human being!