Quit Whining About Google News, and While You're at It, Have Someone Remove That Dead Tree From Your Behind.
Given the ugly disruption the newspaper industry is suffering through as it belatedly adapts to the information age, why is that newspaper executives seem to feel that Google should pay them for the privilege of indexing their stories? Don’t they see the irony in demanding “fair compensation” for a search transaction for which they’re the sole financial beneficiary (unlike most newspaper sites, there are no ads on Google News)?
Apparently not. “If all of the newspapers in America did not allow Google to steal their content, how profitable would Google be?” Sam Zell, the new owner of the Tribune Co., asked reporters during a speech at Stanford University last month. “Not very.”
Here’s a question for Zell: If Google were to suddenly stop indexing Tribune publications, how happy would Tribune’s advertisers be? Another question: If Tribune is truly burdened by referrals from Google News, then why hasn’t it opted out of the service? Could the answer be that, like most other newspapers, its publications get about 25% of their traffic from search engines?
“The newspaper of the future needs to fight for audience–fight for its life, before someone comes and takes it from them,” Topix.net’s Chris Tolles once wrote. “Similar to the strategy of the American auto industry to rely on its capacity and sell Americans the cars they build, when smaller and more nimble rivals are instead building the cars that Americans want, newspapers need to build the products their audiences and advertisers want, rather than basing their strategy on a capacity for great journalism and printing pages of classifieds. The successful newspaper business of 2010 might look a lot like the successful newspaper business of 1910–and the connection to Pulitzer won’t be his prize, but rather his business methods.”