23 March 2009

Have I Got News for *Them*

This is just incredible:

Major media companies are increasingly lobbying Google to elevate their expensive professional content within the search engine's undifferentiated slush of results.

Many publishers resent the criteria Google uses to pick top results, starting with the original PageRank formula that depended on how many links a page got. But crumbling ad revenue is lending their push more urgency; this is no time to show up on the third page of Google search results. And as publishers renew efforts to sell some content online, moreover, they're newly upset that Google's algorithm penalizes paid content.

Let's just get this right. The publishers resent the fact that the stuff other than "professional content" is rising to the top of Google searches, because of the PageRank algorithm. But wait, doesn't the algorithm pick out the stuff that has most links - that is, those sources that people for some reason find, you know, more relevant?

So doesn't this mean that the "professional content" isn't, well, so relevant? Which means that the publisher are essentially getting what they deserve because their "professional content" isn't actually good enough to attract people's attention and link love?

And the idea that Google's PageRank is somehow "penalising" paid content by not ignoring the fact that people are reading it less than other stuff, is just priceless. Maybe publishers might want to consider *why* their "professional content" is sinking like a stone, and why people aren't linking to it? You know, little things like the fact it tends to regard itself as above the law - or the algorithm, in this case? (Via MicroPersuasion.)

6 comments:

liteswap said...

Or the fact that they neither pay enough for decent content, nor sufficient numbers of journalists to come up with interesting / investigative stories but instead stuff their rags with celebs...?

glyn moody said...

That may well have something to do with it as well...

Roger Lancefield said...

"I'm a professional writer and I DEMAND that the Internet makes it possible for me to earn money from what I write"

There's a lot of it about at the moment:

http://secondthoughts.typepad.com/second_thoughts/2009/03/declaring-war-on-cory-doctorow.html

If you can make it past the very long post, take a look at the comment from a former head of the Professional Writer's Association of Canada. An exert:

"The basic concept that "information wants to be free" is ridiculous. The truth is that immature cheapskates want all forms of IP to be free... but only because they're either still living in their parents' basements, or they are comfortably earning lots of money from somewhere else, and using this argument, as you say, in a technofascist way to build their own visibility."

Stunning, innit? Of course, he will probably be contacting you for royalties for the above snippet Glyn, so you may not want to approve this comment ;-)

glyn moody said...

Ah, yes, Prokofy Neva....

I don't know if you saw the, er, exchange between Prokofy and Cory on Twitter a few days ago...

Roger Lancefield said...

Glyn wrote:

I don't know if you saw the, er, exchange between Prokofy and Cory on Twitter a few days ago...

Yes, I did. She's elevated bitterness and denial to an art form.

IMO, what she completely fails to address is that people don't collaborate, share or use copyleft because people like Cory tell them to, but because they want to. But I guess if she acknowledges this, her advocacy for restrictions on collaboration and sharing will render *her* the authoritarian.

glyn moody said...

Yes - nicely put.