Google “Sucking the Blood” Out of the Anemic Newspaper Industry



Dow Jones Chief Executive Les Hinton has been bitten by a vampire. He claims that Google is the “digital vampire” that has been “sucking the blood” out of the newspaper industry.

I totally agree!

Hinton must have been bitten by a vampire. How else do you explain such nonsense coming from the man responsible for one of the largest publishing companies–and owners of The Wall Street Journal.

He continues his deluded rhetoric:

[Google] didn’t actually begin life in a cave as a digital vampire per se. The charitable view of Google is that the news business itself fed Google’s taste for this kind of blood.”

By offering its content free on the Web, the newspaper industry “gave Google’s fangs a great place to bite,” he continued. “We will never know what might have happened had newspapers taken a different approach.”

I tell you what would have happened. Without Google sending millions of daily visitors to newspaper web sites–for FREE–the newspaper industry would have being snuggling up to the Dodo a long time ago. It drives me batty (pun intended) when I read about newspaper execs blaming their demise on Google. They seem to believe that the newspaper industry would still be thriving, if it weren’t for the search engine making it easy to serve up their content.

Let’s think about that, shall we? As a publisher, you’re placing your content on your web site, right? If you didn’t want your online content to cannibalize your printed daily offering, why post it to the web? Oh, I see. You have to, because that’s where people prefer to get their news these days. OK, you want people to find your news story and not your rivals’ right? How are you going to do that? Hmm, seems like there’s one channel that hundreds of millions of people use to find new content each day? Do you remember the name of that place? Ah, yes, Google!

OK, you get my point, so I’ll stop the sarcasm and get back to the facts.

People want to read news online. They don’t want to pay for it. They use Google. Google sends you the bulk of your daily web site visitors. Either figure out how to monitize those visitors–like the rest of the world–or block Google via your robots.txt file and shut up!

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  • http://www.frankthinking.com Frank Reed

    Ok, Andy, how do you really feel? Stop pulling your punches ;-)

    Frank Reed’s last blog post..Google Street View Changes Policy in Germany

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

    @Frank – ;-)

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Jordan McCollum

    My favorite part of his remarks was when he said Google would continue to be the “gorilla in our midst.” Awesome—mixed metaphor AND malapropism. Little wonder newspapers are doing so well with such adroit language used at their highest levels.

  • http://www.govisithawaii.com Sheila

    Preach it! :-)

    Sheila’s last blog post..Hawaii Vacation Deals & News Roundup for June 24, 2009

  • http://www.weboptimist.com Richard V. Burckhardt

    The problem is not Google, it’s that the newspapers are still sticking to the same operating ideas that worked for them fifty years ago. They’ve had twenty years to digitize and monetize, but their head in the sand attitude came crashing down on them with the current economy as print ads started drying up.

    Honestly, every time some fossil from the news industry complains about Google killing their business, I suggest Google take that as message that the publication wants to opt out and remove their news from the index, Google News, everything. Let’s say they did this with the WSJ. The traffic on the WSJ site would fall like a rock, they couldn’t sell online ads and would be ringing up the folks in Mountain View begging to be let back in.

    Jeez. If a newspaper or magazine site REALLY thinks Google is a digital vampire, all they need to repel it is some digital garlic…robots.txt.

    Richard V. Burckhardt’s last blog post..Optimization for Social Media Integration: News

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

    @Richard – thumbs up for that comment! 8-)

  • http://netbiz.com Cory Huff

    amen, and amen Andy.

    so evolves the capitalist economy.

  • http://webricate.com/farrukh/ Farrukh

    Well newspaper these days are not even filled half with news..They are all up with adverts. Its something similar in design when people start blaming validated designs not appearing correct in IE6. In simple words when you are old you cant think in all directions so you become a decision maker.

  • http://undercoverat.secretofmagneticsponsoring.com/ Susan Coils

    Let’s face it Andy, some folks like to blame Google for everything.

    I’m sure if you ask the world governments who’s to blame for the current state of the economy, Google’s name will no doubt be top of the list for that too.

    Susan Coils’s last blog post..Simple Advice on Video Marketing

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

    @Susan – don’t forget global warming, that’s Google’s fault too! ;-)

  • Josh

    i love how the ad at the bottom of this page reads “How to make Money Online with Google.”

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  • http://precursorblog.com Scott Cleland

    One of the key questions of Google’s role in the demise of newspapers and digital content in general on the web and also whether Google is pro-competitive or anti-competitive — is whether Google’s standard slogan defending itself competition is but “one click away” is true or not. Upon close scrutiny it is not true and it is deceptive. See: http://www.precursorblog.com/content/what-one-click-away
    Scott Cleland Precursor LLC

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  • Don

    It’s hard to feel sorry for the newspapers. They had a virtual monopoly for years in most market areas. I tried print advertising for my store; http://DONSCYCLEWARE.COM. The prices were through the roof results were next to nothing. I have no desire to pay a sky high price for last century’s journalism or their clumsy attempts to advertise in the modern world.

    Les should take Andy’s advice:

    “Either figure out how to monetize those visitors–like the rest of the world–or block Google via your robots.txt file and shut up!”

    Don

  • DonAlons

    Something else plays an important role in the demise of newspapers: their pricing strategy.
    The Rocky Mountain News, CO., recently folded, was a rather extreme example of unsustainable
    prices for ad. A 2004 article mentioned that paper with: circulation down 11,6% and ad rates up
    189%. Reading that one is only surprised that took more than four years for the paper to fold.
    What’s more is that the media have no consideration at all for business calculations of any kind.
    Advertisers big and small are expected to be obedient, do as they told by the ad reps and spend
    accordingly.
    The last years were marked by excessive advertising. Lots ot it was overhyped like the lifestyle
    category. Whereas now businesses have to think twice before spending. And this is something
    else just not acknowledged by them. It’s not impossible business is getting frustrated for a
    number of reaons.
    “Ad rates up, circulation down”:
    http://assets.bizjournals.com/denver/stories/2004/11/08/story4.html