Although Facebook does send more traffic to News and Media sites than Google News, an analysis by Hitwise's Heather Hopkins reveals that these two sites send traffic to very different kinds of news websites. Facebook users seem to prefer broadcast media sites, while Google News sends its traffic over to newspaper websites.
After examining the top 10 News and Media websites visited after Facebook and Google News last week, the data shows that Google News sends most of its users to newspapers such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and Facebook sends most of its traffic to broadcast news websites, like The Weather Channel and CNN.com.
This suggests that social networks are an important source of traffic, but they may be even more important to broadcast news sites than to newspapers. The broadcast media may also be benefiting from a boost in their audience thanks to Facebook.
Google News still takes the top spot in sending readers to newspaper websites. Last week, The Wall Street Journal received 10.37% of its US visits from Google News, while it only received 1.41% of its visits from Facebook. The New York Times also received more visits from Google News than Facebook, with 5.21% and 2.96% of visits respectively.
Some newspapers complain that Google News makes money off of content it does not own without any compensation, and allows clever users to jump over paywalls without paying up.
Google News has put newspaper publishers in an uncomfortable position - should they remove their content from Google News and risk losing readers? Or should they continue to allow the aggregator to carry their content without paying a dime?
Although Rupert Murdoch has threatened to remove all of his News Corp newspaper websites from Google News, the man behind Google News, Josh Cohen, recently said at a PaidContent 2010 event that he sees the value in Google News and believes most publishers do too.
Sources: Hitwise (1), Hitwise (2)