With so many brands jumping at the chance to integrate real-time content into their interface, there are sure to be a few slip ups. But this time, Google has stepped in it with the launch of Google Buzz.

The search giant has already gotten into trouble over privacy issues surrounding its new social sharing service. But now Google is having ad scraping issues. Namely, the search giant has been serving its ads with other people's content.

The current issue involves the way that Buzz publishes content. Buzz republishes content in Gmail without asking for permission, but differs from RSS readers because it republishes articles in their entirety. And apparently, it strips advertising from that content, serving Google ads in Gmail instead.

At least that is what happened to blogger Jesse Stay:

"There’s a feature on Buzz that enables anyone reading my shared posts to expand the summarized content and view the entire post, right in Buzz.  For one, I didn’t give Buzz permission to do this on shared posts, and second, Buzz is stripping out my ads, depriving me of that potential revenue rather than either displaying those ads, or redirecting the user back to my site where I can monetize that in some other form.  This is blatant copyright infringement if you ask me!  Now, if you expand my posts, since it’s integrated into Gmail, look over to the right – see those ads?  Yup, I’m not getting a penny of that."

Google is working to fix the problem and plans to have the ad scraping issue fixed by next week. However, they do not see it as their issue. They've told WebProNews:

"It is possible for Bloggers to prevent their full content from showing in Buzz just like in Reader --it depends on how they set up their feed. If a blog owner wants to not show their whole blog, they have to use whatever tools they are using to create their feed to set it to not syndicate the entire post."

Regardless of who is responsible for sharing content, Google still needs to fix the ad serving issue, which it looks like it will. But Google has run into this issue before. The search giant already gets a bad rap for "stealing" news content (and ad dollars) from news media sites. But Google News only shows short bits of content from other publishers. Google Buzz publishing entire articles could easily become a much bigger issue.

And Google is not the only one that is going to run into trouble with attribution and the social web. Getting real-time content into an interface has the potential to give the aggregator much value, but paying the creator could be much more complicated than the current issue with search engines, since there is often less space available for real-time content and the value often lies in aggregation rather than single source info. There stands to be a lot more trial and error going forward.

Image: Google

Meghan Keane

Published 26 February, 2010 by Meghan Keane

Based in New York, Meghan Keane is US Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter: @keanesian.

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Comments (3)

Mike Stenger

Mike Stenger, MikeStenger.com

As someone who doesn't have ads on my site, this really isn't a big deal and I find it actually pretty nice because people can read my content right there in Buzz. We all consume information in different ways so although I'd prefer them to be a subscriber, this is okay too.

over 8 years ago



It's good to know google is working this out. I really enjoy using buzz for myself.

over 8 years ago



It's amazing how Google are so hard on people with regard to delivering great service through them to customers. Then they let their own quality slip and it's no big deal. I guess big brother rules are a case of do as I say, not as I do.. Other peoples privacy is a big deal to slip up on, google needs to get a grip fast.

over 8 years ago

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