Googles Link Tax…


On 1 May 2021, Google will begin charging new surcharges for ads served in France and Spain.

New surcharges

As of 1 May 2021, we will begin adding a surcharge to your next invoice or statement for ads served in specific countries:

•Ads served in France: a 2% Regulatory Operating Cost added to your invoice or statement.•Ads served in Spain: a 2% Regulatory Operating Cost added to your invoice or statement.

The Regulatory Operating Costs (ROC) are being added to cover part of the costs associated with complying with digital services tax legislation in France and Spain.

Thank you EU and down under for screwing us.

Comments (15)

15 responses to “Googles Link Tax…”

  1. anoldamigauser

    You didn't think Google was going to watch their costs increase without passing them on, did you? It is not like they are not making money hand over fist monetizing the content of others, and the data of consumers.

  2. Paul Thurrott

    It's about time we paid for high-quality content. This will happen everywhere.

    • bkkcanuck

      In reply to paul-thurrott:

      A link and a few sentences is not what I consider high quality content. If it is a fee for content for a news service it would be different -- and quite honestly I don't know if google went too far in the preview when it comes to fair use.... (i.e. a short few sentences with what the story is about, and the link - should still be fair use). In the end it will always be large connected organizations that will benefit and not the small independent reporter with this type of scheme.

      I would prefer a requirement to implement a 'news box' microcharges system to integrate news content creators and make it simpler for the reader to access 'paywalled' stories. Something like a per story charge... for example $1 and a 24h access for current news of lets say $2 or so, and a link offering subscription pricing... and then google would be required to elevate news stories that the person has access to as part of that price... Now I suspect you will be rewarding news organizations that are paywalled... by charging for the link then clicking on the link and being hit by a paywall requiring subscription.

    • txag

      In reply to paul-thurrott

      Google left behind high-quality content some time ago

    • peterc

      In reply to paul-thurrott:

      >> It's about time we paid for high-quality content

      Absolutely agree. This will improve journalistic standards and help genuine content creators.

    • coeus89

      In reply to paul-thurrott:

      This is a really complex problem that i think will have several effects. Before online advertising ate newspaper's lunches, most of the money for news came from subscriptions or want ads. However, the internet put an end (or at least a downer) to both of those income sources. Most of the small town papers have folded. 'Journalism" (if you can still call it that) makes money on clicks now. But what is making news organizations mad is that you can get the gist of an article in a couple of sentences, which google scrapes and doesn't pay for because of how the internet works. Compounding the problem, google doesn't need offices in every city/state/country. So they can mostly avoid the taxes on the income they generate from the clicks on the news articles that they have partially scraped. If this tax is implemented widely, I think the ultimate effect for google is bad. We'll get lower quality searches and the money generated will mostly go to bigger publications. The effect on social media i think has the possibility of being good. Because facebook and twitter could just globally disallow posting of links from news sites which they'd have to pay for. the larger publications would get less social media exposure and smaller publication links (which would be almost impossible to police) would get more exposure on social media. It might help turn down the temperature of political discussions on social media. (i can hope anyway).

  3. miamimauler

    If you're not happy with it then use another browser and search engine and don't use Google News. They can't charge you if you're not using their services.

  4. illuminated

    Who/what is "us" in "screwing us"? I feel sorry for all the news orgs. Internet killed most of their paper business and search engines finished them off. Now all of them have to create clickbait-y titles, have garbage comment sections and insane amount of sponsored ads, links, and stories on each page. It is a pretty sad state.

    • bkkcanuck

      In reply to illuminated:

      If it is the fault of the internet - add a $10 tax on top of the ISP charge... there you have in your case a direct cause and effect -- then feed it back into the subscribers local regional news organizations.

  5. miamimauler

    In reply to lvthunder:

    Oh, I see. I misunderstood. Thanks for the clarification. ?

  6. wright_is

    This is partly because of corporate and sales tax avoidance by these companies. So, in fact, the advertisers are paying 29% less than they should as opposed to the current 31% less than they should - if Google was actually paying corporate tax on the income from French advertising.

    I'd say they are still getting off lightly.

  7. dftf

    I still don't fully-understand this link-tax business. As I've said before, I wouldn't visit half the sites I do if it wasn't for clicking on their headline in Google News. I mean, the alternative to not using a news aggregator is you'd have to visit each site individually and to quote the infamous meme: "ain't nobody got time for that"!

    I mean, what are the industries arguments otherwise? "They're stealing our headline, and some users only read the headlines and never click the story" -- okay, so you'd really want such-users visiting your site directly? They don't sound like they're going to be on it long. Or "Google News wouldn't exist without us". Yeah... and you wouldn't exist without the news stories you report. You pay your reporters, but you don't pay all of the people who make-up the news story itself, do you? So that would be an interesting standard to be held to: you report on a burglary. Does that mean you have to pay the burglar, as without them, the story wouldn't exist. Or what about every-time you write news about a celeb. Should you pay them each time?

  8. markwibaux

    Not sure how you get to blaming the new media content rules in Australia on this one.

    That's a bit of a long reach for something going on in two European countries and that is to do with serving ads and nothing to do with google linking to News articles.

    Google already did this for UK, Turkey & Austria (not Australia) last year


    The French DST is a three percent tax on the revenue of digital companies providing advertising services, selling user data for advertising purposes, or performing intermediation services. ... The tax, approved by the French parliament on July 11, 2019, applies to turnover realized in France since January 1, 2019

    As of October 14, Austria, France, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom have implemented a DST. Belgium, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia have published proposals to enact a DST, and Latvia, Norway, and Slovenia have either officially announced or shown intentions to implement such a tax

  9. minke

    The biggest loss of revenue for small local newspapers has been the classified ad sections, which was destroyed by Craigslist. It used to be if you got the Sunday paper it would be three inches thick, with about 2.75 inches of that advertising. The local car ads alone used to be pages and pages in even the tiniest town, and every one of those ads cost $50 or so. The display ads were hundreds of dollars or more. Subscription revenue and newspaper sales barely covered printing costs, if that. That's what destroyed the local news. I have talked to more than one old newspaper person who said Craigslist is what did them in. Here's one article on it: