Google Nexus One – AP Case Study

January 25th, 2010

By: Stephen Lawrence*

Internet_NewsAs readers of the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog are already well aware, search engine giant Google is no longer making the Associated Press’ content available through its search results.  And while there are a multitude of other news aggregators and distributors available on the Internet, no others can match the reach that the AP has in the traditional media.

Those in the PR industry who are relying simply on Google Alerts to track theirs and their client’s influence are at a distinct disadvantage, as access to hundreds of daily and weekly newspapers has effectively disappeared.  Some AP content is still appearing in fresh searches, but it seems to be limited to a couple of newspapers. And those may soon disappear if an updated licensing agreement is not reached between the two by month’s end.

Which returns us to the thesis of my previous postings “Can relying on other internet search engines, paid or unpaid, fulfill your monitoring needs?”  Just how much distributed content is even available on newspaper’s websites, much less through Google Alerts?

To address that question, I examined the availability of a recent AP article spotlighting (ironically) the introduction of Google’s Nexus One phone.  The article, authored by AP business writer Michael Liedtke, ran on January 6th and was published in dozens of daily newspapers throughout the U.S.  This information came from our own available archives of scanned hard copy publications.

Twenty-five publications, with an average circulation of 50,000, were sampled.  A simple string of “Google Phone” was used to mirror any likely Boolean spidering phrases and the websites searched.

  • Fifteen of the 25 newspaper websites did not return a result for the article.
  • Thus, 60 percent of the print coverage was lost for this small exercise

Separate queries were entered on the major search sites that constituted more involved filtering and human interaction.

  • Google Search: “Google Phone Liedtke” did result in a number of legitimate newspaper website articles, but none from the original sampling.
  • Bing Search: “Google Phone Liedtke” in the News tab resulted in two incorrect articles, while a general web search returned mostly local TV sites which contain AP material.  Very few newspapers were offered and those that were, duplicated the Google results.
  • Yahoo! News Search:  “Google Phone Liedtke” yielded more website coverage, but nothing mirroring the hard copy coverage.  None of the 15 sites which I located were represented in the search results.

This is only one example of how Google’s non-coverage of AP content could potentially affect public relations and marketing professionals who rely solely on “free” content. Expand that to other industry interests or areas relevant to you and your client – and how much are you willing to pay for free? How are you making adjustments given Google’s change in practice?

*Bio: A native of Mesa, Arizona, I graduated from the University of Arizona with a major in Near Eastern Studies. I began my career with BurrellesLuce in 1997 as a reader. As with most readers, I developed a special relationship with my assigned papers – those small town dailies and weeklies of the same flavor that my family had been employed in for two generations. Currently, I hold the position of quality assurance specialist, troubleshooting daily production issues. Outside interests include woodworking, and keeping my wife and dog happy. Twitter: BurrellesLuce; Facebook: BurrellesLuce

5 Responses to “Google Nexus One – AP Case Study”

  1. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by gail_nelson: RT @dfriez: RT @steplaw: Relying on Google Alerts for your coverage? A case study to consider on BurrellesLuce blog

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ValerieSimon, Tressa Robbins, gail_nelson, CMM_PR, Gee Ekachai and others. Gee Ekachai said: RT @paigemichele: Google Alerts may not be best to track media coverage from @BurrellesLuce […]

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