"At Google, we don't own content, nor do we create it," said David Eun, VP-content partnerships, Google, the opening speaker at the Magazine Publishers of America's third annual "Magazines 24/7" digital conference. The company just intends to serve as a conduit connecting users, advertisers and publishers, he added. "We don't want people to stay on Google forever."
'We respect copyright'
Google has also set down some primary principles for its approach to content, Mr. Eun said. "We respect copyright -- period," he said. "We let owners choose whether we index their content in our products."
And as the company works with content owners, through its AdSense program and others, it tries to make sure benefits accrue to the owners. For example, Google's content partners received payouts totaling $976 million during the fourth quarter of last year. "We give our partners the majority of revenue from our deals," Mr. Eun said.
With those assurances complete, Google's "goodwill ambassador" told the crowd that the paradigm shifts brought on by digital media should mean more money, not less, for content creators that keep up. "The internet allows new connections between publishers and readers and among readers themselves," he said.
Great content isn't good enough
The Yahoo presentation later in the day, formatted as a quick "What Works Well" talk, was all smiles too. Deanna Brown, general manager for lifestyles at the Yahoo Media Group, said magazine publishers working online shouldn't just focus on great content. Making content search-engine friendly is key, she said, as is community and personalization.
In fact, several "best portal-partner practices" have emerged for content providers, Ms. Brown said. First, publishers should trust Yahoo to know its brand -- while Yahoo trusts publishers to be right about their brands. Second, feeding Yahoo good content -- often -- doesn't hurt. "If you feed us, obviously it's going to pay off for you," she said.
And third, Ms. Brown said, "co-conspire." That means looking for business opportunities that publishers and Yahoo can exploit together.