August 14, 2009

Confidential AP Memo Surfaces: Google, Wikipedia, Twitter Targeted

Greetings. As I've noted in the past, I have a great deal of respect for the Associated Press. My interactions with their reporters over the years have always been top-notch. But you can add me to the column of observers who have viewed AP's new "protectionist" activities as beyond baffling, trending into the bizarre, and something of a declaration of war against Internet users globally.

Little by little though, the fog is beginning to clear regarding what AP has in mind. Their apparent goals? Bypass Google. Rival Wikipedia. Drive Web traffic directly to AP, even apparently at the expense of their newspaper and other media subscribers. Is AP concerned about protecting their members? Or is the ultimate goal to obtain an SEO-based "stranglehold" on a significant portion of Web news content?

Such a "go for the jugular" approach might not be surprising from, say, Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. But what many people may not realize is that the Associated Press is supposed to be something very different. In fact, AP is organized as a nonprofit cooperative!

AP recently clammed up and stopped releasing new details about their upcoming Web control initiatives. But thanks to the continuing efforts of the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard, many new details have now been revealed, including a confidential AP internal memo (reportedly from July) titled, "Protect, Point, Pay" -- that provides invaluable insight into AP's thinking.

I'll have more to say about all this, but for now, you might wish to take a few minutes to read over the memo, and think a bit about what the concepts therein might mean not only for the Web, but for the broader aspects of news and other information dissemination as well.


Posted by Lauren at August 14, 2009 08:48 AM | Permalink
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