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‘Google should fix it’ is not a business model

July 14, 2009

If I’m reading this right—and I’d like to think I am—it sounds like Peter Osnos of The Century Foundations is saying two things: (1) If you suck at SEO, it’s Google’s fault for making the algorithm so damn confusing:

… even Google insiders concede, Huffington [Post] is effective at implementing search optimization techniques, which means that its manipulation of keywords, search terms, and the dynamics of Web protocol give it an advantage over others scrambling to be the place readers are sent by search engines.

… and (2) Google nerds are smarter than your average newspaper folk and therefore it ought to be their responsibility to come up with a business model to fix journalism:

Google, it seems to me, might serve as a kind of meter, helping determine what percentage should go to the content originators. Complicated? Yes, but that is the kind of challenge that computers and the engineers who master them are meant to meet.

I know I said I’d spend less time bashing people whose opinions don’t match up with mine, but this has to be one of the laziest “solutions” to journalism’s broken business model I’ve come across. Where is the call to action? Where’s the responsibility (we need to innovate)?

The journalists who continue to differentiate themselves from “computers and the engineers who master them” are going to fade into complete irrelevance.

[Update: If you subscribe to the “Google is stealing our content” train of thought, there are two lines of code to make it all go away.]

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