The Sting in Google's Media Tail

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Source Title:
I think it’s time to consider fearing Google. Just to be safe.
Story Text:

A post by Jeff Jarvis examines the potential for Google to steamroller the entire onlne media industry, from large media outlets like newspapers and news sites, to the humble blogger....

Media depend on Google. Without the search engine, no one would be found. Without GoogleNews, they'd all get less traffic. Without the ad programs, advertisers wouldn't be advertising on plain old home pages; bloggers owe gratitude to Google for taking the cooties off citizens' media. With the ad programs, big media sites and bloggers alike are getting checks from Google. All that is wonderful.

So is heroin. At first.

Do yourself a favor, follow the link, and read all of it, including the linked posts. It's a very, very thought provoking post, and worthy of your time i think...

So, should you fear Google?

Comments

 

>bloggers owe gratitude to Google for taking the cooties off citizens' media

how did Google make blogging and citizens' media legit?

  • Their blog generally is crap compared to their competitors.
  • They have added few features to blogger. And I remember you posting a recent survey that said blogger sucks.
  • Google snubs many small publishers like Paid Content and has many news sources that are nothing more than PR blogs.

But if we look around and want to retain our share of readers’ attention and advertisers’ wallets, it’s going to take probably double the effort,imagination and, frankly luck that even the best of us have had over the last five years.

As the network expands it will become more competitive. Consumer wins. That would happen with or without Google, although they may have helped accelerate things a bit.

Most every Web publisher these days has signed on to AdSense because it offers real additional revenue with virtually no effort.

Most sites I read often don't put AdSense in prominent ad space.

It's not just Google, either

since all others have started to ape their all-pervasive monetization models.

Come the day when this type of unfettered commercialization of information access in combination with a monopolist hold on it will be widely perceived as a fundamental political issue both for governmnts and NGOs alike. "Google the do-gooders"? Ask any dissident in China ...

The writing's on the wall, too: ridiculed though they may be by most media, those German-French government initiatives (both of them: countering Google's big time digitalization and publishing of library content, and the recently flaunted plans to create a first competing entity in search) are only a first, miniscule indicator.

Come the time, too, when search engine manipulation will turn into a, perhaps THE political instrument of survival in an information fixated society ...

And sorry, I don't buy into that "consumer wins" illusion: sure, for products and pricing perhaps, albeit to a very limited extent. (Who dictates crude oil prices? Currency exchange rates? Interest arbitrage? The "free market"? Very funny!)

But on existential issues?
What consumers may indeed "win" is the right to say yeah and amen to just about any shit they're asked to cough up money (or, for that matter, their lives) for, including wars and all those other unappetizing political agendas, but that's where it effectively ends.

Google et al. haven't changed the basics of power struggle one bit (pun intended) - they're simply helping the elites to stabilize existing politico-societal systems. So much for "innovation".

However, the ongoing battle between the administrative and the corporate world isn't over yet. Not by a very long shot. So in the end it will be (surprise) the "consumer" who gets screwed. Both ways. Nothing innovative about that, either.

 

awesome post Fantomaster

Come the time, too, when search engine manipulation will turn into a, perhaps THE political instrument of survival in an information fixated society ...

Totally agree with that.

And sorry, I don't buy into that "consumer wins" illusion: sure, for products and pricing perhaps, albeit to a very limited extent. (Who dictates crude oil prices? Currency exchange rates? Interest arbitrage? The "free market"? Very funny!)

I was talking about there being more possible channels of information for consumers. I know I personally benefit from reading threadwatch, and you blog, and searchengineblog, etc etc etc. Thats all I was talking about with consumer wins. Thats the underlying force of the web.

Initially Google may have helped to speed up the creation of some channels, but I totally agree with the rest of your post, that left unchecked they can close more doors than they opened.
Forces left unchecked do eventually stretch their bounds and do more damage than good.

What is potentially bad is how cheap, fast, and far a society, system, or self funding business model can go out of balance before people realize what has happened.

Google et al. haven't changed the basics of power struggle one bit

Maybe Google hasn't, but to some extent the web has thusfar - at least for me.

No contention

I was talking about there being more possible channels of information for consumers. I know I personally benefit from reading threadwatch, and you blog, and searchengineblog, etc etc etc. Thats all I was talking about with consumer wins. Thats the underlying force of the web.

Sure it is, and that's admittedly one of the more (if not only) endearing aspects of it. However, while highly sophisticated organizations may well confront their nemesis when faced with a basically inferior but critical mass of disorganized, chaotic resistance, as a rule (i. e. historically) their inherent gravitational stability will prevail in the long run.

And amassing just that degree of overhwelming take-no-prisoners momentum and well nigh unlimited resources is exactly what Google, Yahoo!, MSN etc. and all those data gobblers out there are currently going about, blithely applauded by most all onlookers who wouldn't recognize a butcher's knife for what it is if you carved their brow bloody with it.

Pure and applied physics at work here: here, a huge but basically disorganized

And this point of yours I'll gladly agree with, too:

Maybe Google hasn't, but to some extent the web has thusfar - at least for me.

So it has for me, yes. Including things like not having to say "aye, aye, Captain" to any clueless egomaniacal boss. Or working graveyard shifts whenever I want to. Or not having to restrict myself to some minute local market with all its parochial prejudices and cultural hangups, etc. etc.

But let's face it – whether we're part and parcel of the “filthy rich” or not, we – and probably everybody on this forum – do constitute at least a sector of that very elite.

And yes, about time all those media schmucks began to realize that the Web isn't just Google (which sorely reminds one of the 90s dotcom hysteria bubble) and that Google isn't the Web – but neither are Yahoo! and MSN, just like Microsoft never really was "Computers".

If it weren't for all those chaotic nerds and geeks and a minute, but at least steadily growing, highly heterogenous, anarchist Net population which, in Soviet times, would aptly have been termed the "intelligentsia", probably all that would be left would be to go shoot oneself ...

So the best we all can probably hope for is prevailing as part of an essentially vainglorious fringe operation - too negligible to warrant dedicated efforts of destruction, too important (read cutting edge) not to humour as long as it doesn't jeopardize the fundamental tenets of the system as a whole.

Anyway, this isn't to say "guerilla SEO" doesn't have some very interesting times in itself to offer yet, heh!

 

Will Google maximize your value? Will Google undersell you? Is Google being transparent with you and revealing what the ads on your pages are selling for and what share you're getting? Will Google compete with you? Can Google put the stranglehold of a monopoly on you? Should you be making Google bigger or helping to create competitors to Google? Can you afford to? Can you afford not to?

That's what I've been feeling for awhile now. That *we* are building one mother of a monster. Google may be good to you today, but when it owns the net and decides not to be so good to you - too late.

 

Well said Fantomaster.

Quote:
That's what I've been feeling for awhile now. That *we* are building one mother of a monster. Google may be good to you today, but when it owns the net and decides not to be so good to you - too late.

Terry you are not the only one. I think there is a lot of food for thought here - are we creating a monster? Should we encourage more competition? If so, what kind?

I also think Fantomaster is right: the French, Germans and maybe the UK will probably eventually develop their own crawler based national SE's as public utilities and as a safegard against any outside agent being able to manipulate public opinion. (Or so they can manipulate their own publc opinion without interference. Take your pick.) But the point is those governments are getting a little nervous about Google controlling so much mindshare on the internet.

Maybe we should too.

just a quick comment

>> Should we encourage more competition?

I hope that's a rhetorical question and not an expression of doubt? Of course we should. We will benefit both as searchers and webmasters. No matter what you want to buy, you're screwed if there's just one seller. No matter what you want to sell, you're screwed if there's just one buyer. And so on...

(fwiw, imho, ymmv)

or....

I also think Fantomaster is right: the French, Germans and maybe the UK will probably eventually develop their own crawler based national SE's as public utilities and as a safegard against any outside agent being able to manipulate public opinion. (Or so they can manipulate their own publc opinion without interference. Take your pick.) But the point is those governments are getting a little nervous about Google controlling so much mindshare on the internet.

The politics of a national SE would be too great a burden, IMHO. Kinda like ranking by irrelevance, if you go by typical big government behavior. States that own media will do that, sure, but states with "free" media will not be able to handle it well.

Wouldn't it be more 'powerful' to have their own SEOs to 'influence' the private Google's, like they do to the rest of the media now? Perhaps a division of psy-ops here in the US would handle it for us. It's just spin, really.

Take Out Google ...

... And substitute "Search Engine", you'll find that most of it makes much more sense, without this constant paranoia-feeding thet TW excels in. SEs are here to stay. Live with that, accept that most readers here would go broke without them, and get on with your day job.

All this anxiety does awful things to your heart; it ain't worth looking for things to fuss over; if they matter, they'll find you soon enough.

 

Good thread. I'm relieved to find out other people think about this stuff and talk about it.

One thing the web is good at is encouraging as much underground as mainstream. Same was and is true of all media, but the web has such reach that the impact seems greater. AOL tried to limit the what subscribers saw of the web (and some people still want that), but for every mainstreaming element there's an equal and opposite niche/underground/anarchic element. Google can (and will and does) put the mainstream at the top, but it won't stop what it doesn't want to index. It can't even hide it.

There are still tiny print publications that are wonderful, radio that is special, movies that are groundbreaking. All of them get scant attention from the masses, but they survive (or at least die but generate something else). What the web is really good at is giving the most niche sites attention on a scale that is unprecedented. Google won't stop that.

And I have some fun finding ways to push those sites to the top while I make a living out of pushing more mainstream sites up there as well. Like whoever said in another thread, it's about the users.

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