August 16th, 2007 by Lloyd Gofton
The ‘newspapers are screwed by search engines’, conversation spiked again this week, thanks to a couple of posts by former Wall Street internet analyst Henry Blodget, the most recent of which was yesterday, as reported by Jack Schofield on Technology Guardian today.
I’m not going to revisit the same conversation about Google reaping the rewards of newspaper content, or as Jakob Nielsen put it in Jack Schofield’s piece last week: Google “takes a big percentage of the money. The web is a web, and that is good, but companies invest a lot of money in creating content, and the money goes to Google for indexing it.”
True, fair play to Google, an opportunity has been identified and grasped. In my humble opinion, the same needs to happen with our newspapers.
The environment has changed, the rules have changed. Evolve now and there is a good chance of making it, but evolution will be painful and all-encompassing. The business model needs to radically and totally transform to reflect the move to free content.
Whilst it would be foolhardy to suggest that the newspaper industry can forget its print versions now, it is equally foolhardy to remain blinkered to the change that is happening, by believing that a traditional approach to news will work online.
Blodget very eloquently describes the possible remedies in his obvious conclusions section.
Furthermore, blaming this change on those that stand to gain the most achieves, well, nothing other than continuing to delay the change.