KOREA: Newspapers strike back against web portals
Korea Online Newspaper Association plans week limit for publishing news on Web portals
The Korea Times
Thursday, June 21, 2007
By Kim Tae-gyu
Beginning next month, Web portals will not be able to retain news content for more than one week due to an agreement among major domestic newspapers.
This means Internet users will not be able to search for any news through the portal sites seven days after they were provided to the Web portals. Instead, they will have to visit the online sites of newspapers to read a specific article.
The unprecedented agreement is expected to swing the pendulum in favor of newspapers, which have lost hegemony to Web portals in news services. Yet, it remains to be seen whether Web users will accept it.
The Korea Online Newspaper Association said Wednesday that its 11 members agreed to set the seven-day restriction when renewing contracts with portal sites after July 1.
Most main vernacular dailies are members of the association, which includes Chosun Ilbo, Joongang Ilbo, Donga Ilbo and Hankook Ilbo.
Under the new deal, Internet portals will be required to remove all the news postings including the titles from their database.
"Up until now, most Internet portals have stockpiled news content in their own database without time restriction, thus using visitors for their business," said Han Ki-bong, head of the association.
"That is not proper. The Web traffic searching for news should be given back to online sites of newspapers, where they were created, instead of Web portals," Han said.
Han said newspapers will not allow even the Google-like outbound link system after a week, putting a link on a news search result that redirects visitors to that of the newspapers.
The measure is making Internet portal sites scramble, including No. 1 player Naver and runner-up Daum Communications.
"Internet users will fall victim to the new rule because they will have to visit online sites of dailies to see past articles," said an official at a local Web portal, who declined to be named.
"That means the Internet will regress to more than a decade ago when there was no legitimate search engine. Internet users will not allow that to happen," she said.
Date Posted: 6/21/2007