An AFP Licensee Tells His Story of Being Kicked Out of Google News

I mentioned before that content licensors in practice cannot prevent licensees from indexing the content in search engines. There are two reasons why this is true. First, content licensees may depend on search engine traffic to pay the bills, and good content is the best marketing. Second, licensees may have multiple data sources, and if only one data source blocks indexing, then the licensee must forego search engine traffic across all of the sources—in other words, the tail (one licensee) is wagging the dog (the entire website’s business).

Bob Hoffman provides a first hand account of these dynamics—explaining how he was a content licensee from AFP, got kicked out of Google News because of it, and lost his traffic. In response, Hoffman is frantically stripping out AFP from his website in a desperate attempt to get back into Google News; but even if he succeeds, he’s left paying for an AFP license that he can’t use because doing so kills his business. Not exactly the best way for AFP to earn repeat business.