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sábado, maio 16, 2009

Execs reveal why newspapers don't block Google

For several months, leaders at some of the nation's most influential newspapers and periodicals, including The Wall Street Journal, The Associated Press, and the online arm of Forbes magazine have begun blaming Google and similar Web services for at least some of their deepening financial troubles. Google sells ads tied to the news blurbs it "scrapes" from news sites. It links back to the Web sites from which it acquired the content but doesn't share ad revenue with them. This isn't fair, many media execs say.
(Credit: Forbes.com)

In all the very public bashing of Google, however, few if any of the critics has answered why they don't just cut Google out of the equation by preventing the search engine from indexing their Web pages. The task could be accomplished by inserting a single line of code into their URLs. If Forbes.com added a line such as forbes.com/robots.txt, content from the site would be rendered invisible to Google.

Representatives from the Journal and AP declined to comment for this story, but their Web sites speak volumes for them. None of the companies has severed ties with Google and risked losing access to the search engine's millions of users. Traditional print publications, which have seen ad revenue plummet, mass layoffs, and in some cases the shut down of operations, are now hopelessly dependent on Google to lure readers, says media executives. Jim Brady, the Washington Post's former digital chief, says the question of whether Google is good or bad for print journalism is almost irrelevant at this point. Print publications are helpless to do anything about it.

"Get out a sheet of paper and write down all the things Google does for you," said Brady, former executive editor of Washingtonpost.com, as he offered advice to his former peers in old media. "Google allows your content to be exposed to people who would never see it otherwise. If you're able to code your pages well, then you can get an awful lot of leads from Google. It's up to your site to turn those leads into loyal customers...Google is not going away."


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