Wall Street Journal publisher Les Hinton has called Google a “vampire” that has a taste for sucking the blood out of newspapers. I’d do a long dissection of his mistaken analogy, but I’ve already done that before: Google’s Love For Newspapers & How Little They Appreciate It.
Why do we continue to hear such tiresome rhetoric? Well, the Associated Press has quieted down, which makes me think they’re getting closer to a deal they like with Google. With the Wall Street Journal yapping again (owner Rupert Murdoch and editor-in-chief Robert Thomson spoke out against Google in April), I assume they’re probably having talks with Google — or trying to get those going — and figure more posturing would be helpful.
The Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press carry enough weight — are arguably “must carry” publications — that they’ll probably land some Google cash, in the end. And Google won’t call it pay off money, when it happens. We’ll get a euphemism about the deals being done for “new” or “different” uses rather than the “right” to list links.
Other papers and organizations, which struggle much more than the WSJ or the AP, won’t get anything. That’s why I don’t think Google should do such deals secretly. More on that in my Open Letter To Google & The AP: Reveal The Licensing Terms article.
As for Hinton’s remarks, if Google’s a vampire, here’s some free garlic that will keep it away. Go over to your robots.txt file here and add these lines:
All done. Heck, there’s even a Google help page with these instructions. Weird vampire, to be pointing at garlic like that.
Do that, and all your content is out of Google. Google might still see links that point to it, so important articles will still have some listings in web search. But you’ve pretty much pulled the plug on Google. Staked the vampire. What’s are you waiting for?
More discussion on Techmeme, which includes an article on how Steven Brill’s Journalism Online hopes to save newspapers. Because his Clear airport security pass program worked out so well, closing abruptly this week.
And for past writings on newspapers, which cover many of these issues, see my newspapers category. I especially recommend Do Newspapers Owe Google “Fair Share” Fees For Researching Stories?. Trust me, plenty of reporters at Dow Jones publications are sucking that Google vampire right back when creating the articles that Google supposedly puts its fangs into.