WSJ Editor Claims Google Devalues Everything

from the no-wonder-no-one-uses-it dept

This has been clueless newspaper guy month around here, and it's kept up with the appearance of Walter Isaacson (yet again), Mort Zuckerman (owner/publisher of both the NY Daily News and US News & World Reports) and Robert Thomson (managing editor of The Wall Street Journal) on the Charlie Rose program, where they spend plenty of time whining about the way things used to be and why people have to start paying -- but never touch on any reason why people should want to pay. Still... that's a dead horse at this point. Instead, I wanted to focus on the rather stunning claim from Thomson concerning Google:
But one of the -- Google -- I mean, the harsh way of just defining it, Google devalues everything it touches. Google is great for Google, but it's terrible for content providers, because it divides that content quantitatively rather than qualitatively. And if you are going to get people to pay for content, you have to encourage them to make qualitative decisions about that content.
This is wrong on so many levels it's hard to know where to begin. Google doesn't devalue things it touches. It increases their value by making them easier to find and access. Google increases your audience as a content creator, which is the most important asset you have. It takes a special kind of cluelessness to claim that something that increases your biggest asset "devalues" your business. Thomson's mistake seems to be that he's confusing "price" and "value" which is a bit scary for the managing editor of a business publication. Yes, the widespread availability of news may push down the price (that's just supply and demand), but it doesn't decrease the value at all. It opens up more opportunities to capture that value.

As a content publisher, I can say, definitively, that Thomson is completely off base if he thinks Google is terrible for content providers. Google has been a huge help to us because it has helped us build our audience and our community -- which is the biggest asset we have. Thomson's mistake seems to be that he thinks the asset of publishers is the content. It's not. It's the community. It's the community. It's the community. Sorry for the repetition, but it doesn't seem to be getting through.

He's also wrong if he thinks Google divides content "quantitatively." Google's ranking mechanism is the exact opposite. It works out ways to measure the value of content at a qualitative level -- pushing the best content up. If the WSJ is afraid to compete with other content providers, you can understand why they'd be afraid -- but if they truly believe they have good content, that content will rise to the top (of course, the WSJ is harmed by its practice of making that content harder to read).

Finally, he's very wrong that the key to getting people to pay is to have them "make qualitative decisions about that content." If they've reached that stage, they're not paying. The value of the web and Google is that it lets people look at many sources and compare and contrast them qualitatively. Putting up a paywall is what devalues the content. It makes it harder to access and makes it a lot less useful. People today want to share the news and spread the news and discuss the news with others. As a publisher, your biggest distributors should be your community. And what does the WSJ want to do? Stop the community from promoting them. I can't think of anything that devalues their content more.

In that one paragraph, Thomson seems to be wrong on every single point. Is there a way to short the Wall Street Journal? It's really stunning that these newspaper guys (Isaacson goes on to agree with Thomson) can be handed the greatest mechanism for building their audience and adding value to their sites, and they whine about how it devalues them. It's the horse carriage company owners complaining about how automobiles destroy the value of a beautiful horse drawn carriage. Guys: you're looking in the wrong direction. Turn around and look forward at all that opportunity.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Ima Fish, Feb 13th, 2009 @ 11:43am

    If I ran Google, each and every time someone complained about my service I'd pull them from all search results. I'd want them to see how being invisible helps their bottom line.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Feb 13th, 2009 @ 11:44am

    Yeah, it depends on how you define "value". You just don't get to be paid for every single piece of information in this day and age. I don't know why more people being equipped to find your content should be a bad thing though...

     

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    Crimson, Feb 13th, 2009 @ 11:50am


    "This is wrong on so many levels it's hard to know where to begin. Google doesn't devalue things it touches. It increases their value by making them easier to find and access"


    I think what the editor is saying is that all of a sudden, WSJ articles are shown side-by-side with Joe Blow's blog entry on the same topic.

    This is true.

    And the fact is, google can be gamed to push certain content higher.

    But another fact, one painful for guys like the WSJ, is that a lot of times, Joe Blow's blog is often as good as or better than what WSJ offers.

    Anyway, the WSJ guy isn't completely right...but he's not completely wrong either.

    "He's also wrong if he thinks Google divides content "quantitatively." Google's ranking mechanism is the exact opposite. It works out ways to measure the value of content at a qualitative level -- pushing the best content up."


    No, it works, in part, based on how often content is back-linked from other pages. Sometimes this is a good measure of quality. Sometimes it's not. But it's definitely "quantitative".

     

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    Can you see me?, Feb 13th, 2009 @ 11:53am

    ROBOT.TXT

    If WSJ truly believes search engines devalue content then why not simply update their robots.txt file to exclude themselves from search engines? They could easily lock up all their content behind a pay wall too.

    What WSJ is really saying is they are having a hard time COMPETING now that the economics have changed.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2009 @ 12:01pm

    I like how the old guard print media call themselves NEWS organizations. I've taken to calling the OLDS, as in day old news. I've all but quit reading our local newspaper because it mostly local news fluff pieces mixed in with newswire reprints. What is worse, I've read many of the newswire stories from on-lines sources days before the story hit the local paper. And they truly wonder why I no longer want to pay $0.75 for copy of day old drek?

     

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    Chris (profile), Feb 13th, 2009 @ 12:03pm

    just let it die

    Just let old school media die the inevitable death. If they cannot innovate, then they go under like any other business. All the blustering and nostalgic statements about 'the good old days' mean nothing to us. Let these dinosaurs die so we can move on.

     

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    Lee, Feb 13th, 2009 @ 12:23pm

    He's also wrong if he thinks Google divides content "quantitatively." Google's ranking mechanism is the exact opposite. It works out ways to measure the value of content at a qualitative level -- pushing the best content up.

    I disagree with this statement. Google's mechanisms measure quantities. Michael seems to be claiming that quality == what the most people like the best, which is entirely in keeping with his "let the invisible hand make all the decisions" philosophy. But that is an unfortunately narrow concept of value, and I'd hate to live in a world governed by that. The WSJ's market, on the other hand, tends to consist of people willing to pay more for specialized content.

    I also disagree with Thompson's statement, but at the very least he is correct that Google and similar information engines have radically altered the way that content is valued. A consequence of this is that some information that is of high (but not critical) value to a small number of people is going to going to have more trouble finding a home. Maybe not a tragedy, but we won't know all the consequences for some years at this point.

     

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    John Henderson, Feb 13th, 2009 @ 12:23pm

    So -- who will pay for the news?

    There are no journalism outlets of significance that provide _original_ and serious journalism purely on the Web and make money doing it.

    Is techdirt -- or anyone else -- ready to start a serious online pub tomorrow and take on the likes of the WSJ or Times? If not, why not?

    Mike, VC's utter lack of interest in what you claim is so easy disposes of the argument.

     

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    Petrified Jello, Feb 13th, 2009 @ 12:23pm

    WTF??????

    Even I, a website owner who doesn't sell a damn thing, would LOVE to take advantage of Google's search to put me at the top of their list... at NO cost to me but based on my VALUE of the website!

    It seems these so-called "journalists" are giving the rest of us less incentive to read their crap rather than value "good ol' fashioned" reasons to want to read.

    Way to go, WSJ! You just screwed up! Please pay US $53/year for having to endure your load of biased, unprofessional "journalism" crap.

     

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    Joel Coehoorn, Feb 13th, 2009 @ 12:28pm

    backwards

    If Google devalues his content, it exactly because it makes real qualitative decisions possible at all.

    In the past, you could only judge quality an entire publication at a time, and therefore anyone interested in quality was forced to follow an entire publication or not. Pieces of lower quality included with a publication would have to accepted along with the "normal" higher quality a user expected from the publication.

    Now, users can pick and choose quality pieces from anywhere. They don't have to suffer through filler stories they aren't interested in just to get at a few choice morsels. There is enough content of high quality to go around.

     

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    Mike (profile), Feb 13th, 2009 @ 12:41pm

    Re: So -- who will pay for the news?

    There are no journalism outlets of significance that provide _original_ and serious journalism purely on the Web and make money doing it.

    Heh. Nice caveats. There are a ton of new startups that are getting into the business. There may not be huge success stories yet, but it's a fallacy to think that they can't be a success. Read some Clayton Christensen and stop ignoring what's happening.

    Is techdirt -- or anyone else -- ready to start a serious online pub tomorrow and take on the likes of the WSJ or Times? If not, why not?

    I'm offended. You think we're not a serious online pub?

    We're focused on our existing business, but if a good opportunity presents itself, we'd be very interested in jumping into the game. But, you've of course misdefined the market. It's not the market for "providing news."

    Mike, VC's utter lack of interest in what you claim is so easy disposes of the argument.

    No offense, but that's one of the most ridiculous statements I've heard. Because a VC won't fund something (which is wrong by the way, I know a few VCs who are very interested in this field) it means the business is a dumb idea?

    Not every business needs VC money. And VCs don't have a good history of seeing trends ahead of time.

     

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    vic (profile), Feb 13th, 2009 @ 1:00pm

    Re:

    "I disagree with this statement. Google's mechanisms measure quantities. Michael seems to be claiming that quality == what the most people like the best, which is entirely in keeping with his "let the invisible hand make all the decisions" philosophy. But that is an unfortunately narrow concept of value, and I'd hate to live in a world governed by that. The WSJ's market, on the other hand, tends to consist of people willing to pay more for specialized content."

    Certainly quantity isn't a reflection of value. However, I think Michael's point is that value comes from a qualitative improvement over other means of information. If the WSJ's news is little more than what else is out there for free then why should anyone pay for their content? Google has shown that revenue can be had from other means than an upfront charge, such as advertizing and other promotional services. The growth of the community will ultimately create financial value.

     

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    Vic (profile), Feb 13th, 2009 @ 1:12pm

    Creating value

    What Google has done is popularize information dissemination much like camera manufacturers have brought picture taking to the masses. This has led to many terrible results and occasional gems but more importantly is has prevented or put an end to the reductionist control of quality/value by a small group of so called experts.

     

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    Lee, Feb 13th, 2009 @ 1:24pm

    Certainly quantity isn't a reflection of value. However, I think Michael's point is that value comes from a qualitative improvement over other means of information. If the WSJ's news is little more than what else is out there for free then why should anyone pay for their content? Google has shown that revenue can be had from other means than an upfront charge, such as advertizing and other promotional services. The growth of the community will ultimately create financial value.

    I agree, and I am a fan of this model of value creation. My point is a little different. Regardless of whether or not the WSJ deserves to go under, I'm saying that in general, Google ranks things by looking at the evaluative judgments of a lot of people, which is fundamentally a quantitative measure of value. If that results in better reporting and more accurate news (and more intelligent opinion pieces), those are good side effects, but Google does not have an algorithm to measure those attributes. They are simply what we hope will be a consequence of a new model of value creation.

    I guess the more succinct way of making my point is this: Mike correctly calls Thompson on conflating price with value. I'm calling Mike on conflating value with quality.

     

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    John Henderson, Feb 13th, 2009 @ 1:28pm

    OK so where are the successes

    Mike, I think you are "serious" in terms of thinking, but I haven't seen anything out of techdirt that requires, say, an entire week or more of non stop reporting and writing for a single story. That happens a lot at the major papers. Not all the time, but often enough to make a difference in how democracies function.

    Ok, you don't like my VC analogy. that's a fair objection. I would still say investors aren't funding, whoever they are as far as I see.

    But I could be wrong. If you know of such an outlet, you should tell the world. Seriously. Journalism -- original content -- is dying at a frightening pace. Who will provide it in the future? Google is just repackaging untold numbers of articles from dying pubs.

    At some point they will all be gone unless we find a better way to fund journalism.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2009 @ 1:39pm

    Re: OK so where are the successes

    Journalism is doing just fine, you just can't sell your overpriced drek to us anymore. I get better, more timely news from twitter than I ever did from that rag called the WSJ. Off to the boneyard, you dinosaur.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2009 @ 1:55pm

    One of the ways it "devalues" their content is that they can no longer "sell"/"resell" the same content to multiple outlets as profitably anymore. I remember when I first started doing RSS years ago and had several newspapers (online version) at my disposal. I'd see the same story over and over and over again, because services like AP sold them multiple times. Why should I bother with the LA times if the Chicago Tribune is running the same stories? And since digital distribution is so much less than actual print costs, larger sources (like say NYT) are likely to drive out smaller outlets using the same material.

    Another way it "devalues" content is by removing "personal bias". As an example I remember an article someone posted in a group I was in about a program that was being run under Bush, and about how it was violating people's personal rights. The problem? I'd seen a similar article a few days earlier (that I in turn posted) that contained several points the first article left out (mainly that while the program had been expanded - quite liberally - under Bush, it had actually been implemented under the Clinton administration.. something Bush hater clearly wanted people to ignore or overlook). When it becomes so easy to present counter arguments, or discover omissions of fact to push a specific agenda, the point of view your trying to push becomes "devalued".

    Newspapers, like politicians and religion, don't like freedom of information, because such means you know longer need them to do your thinking for you (which is where they *really* derive their value, convincing you to let them do your thinking for you).

     

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    Mark Blafkin, Feb 13th, 2009 @ 2:13pm

    Re: OK so where are the successes

    John,

    You make a good point. Mike and team essentially do long term reporting, but as part of his consulting practice where that research is paid for by a specific client. I doubt we want to move toward a model where the NYTimes is doing investigative journalism on behalf of Exxon...so, what works for some types of media companies is probably not what we want from all.

    As I wrote the other day. in response to a similar story by Mike, I think we in the Internet industry need to stop pretending like we have all the content industry's problems. Simply getting newspapers to focus on "community" isn't really an answer. Twitter and Facebook have enormous communities, but both are STILL struggling to find long term business models.

    Thomson acknowledged he was being a bit hyperbolic (something Mike should appreciate) in his assessment of Google, but it isn't like he was completely wrong. Google is a double-edged sword for content creators. It may help them grow the "community" around their content, but then they are left with same problem the rest of the online content and service industry now has: how do we monetize that "community" in a way that actually pay for the creation of the content. And is sustainable once the VCs stop throwing good money after bad...

    If we're honest with ourselves, we'll admit that we don't have all the answers.

     

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    Tim Brown, Feb 13th, 2009 @ 2:15pm

    The news people are starting to sound like the record industry

    Robert Thomson is making the same fatal mistake that the record and film industry have been making for a decade or two. He is confusing the messenger with the message. If the music industry had read the writing on the wall 15 years ago, they could possibly have adapted their business model to the new realities of the Internet, but instead they chose to blame their customers for not wanting what they were selling anymore.
    There certainly are many ways in which the Internet and Google have made the old news paradigm less profitable and new organizations seem to be having legitimate challenges with figuring out how capitalize on the new information age, but it seems that Thompson is completely missing the point if his response is anything other than to actually do his job and innovate the WSJ into whatever it is that people want now. Note to Mr Thompson... wake up! The times they are a changin', get out of the way or get busy re-inventing yourself, don't blame me if I don't want to pay for your paper, blame yourself for not creating content I want to read.

     

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    Dave, Feb 13th, 2009 @ 2:22pm

    changing measures of value

    The issue here is the difference in what people consider "valuable".

    In the old school newspaper world, you picked up a WSJ because you believed them to be a reputable source with sound content. You placed your trust in the editors of your selected newspaper to deliver the content that best fit the narrow model of that newspaper.

    The problem is now that Google has flipped the industry model upside down.

    In search engine terms, the old model was:
    O.1 - Choose "Quality" Source
    O.2 - Examine Content for possible interesting keywords
    O.3 - Read articles that match keywords

    The new model is something more like:
    N.1 - Search Google for interesting keywords
    N.2 - Google searches keywords and calculates "Quality" mostly from how popular a news item is (Quantity)
    N.3 - Read articles that Google places on top

    So in the past the value was in finding a content provider first. (O.1)
    Now the value is in defining your own interests and letting Google find a matching content provider. (N.2)
    The new model is way cheaper and easier for the consumer than the old model ever was.

    It definitely de-values the work of the press because now instead of paying a bunch of really good news reporters to write articles really well, they have to pay a bunch of really good IT workers to make sure they come up first on Google.

    And before we all cheer for the death of the newspapers, don't forget that a lot of the content that comes up on Google derives from local newspaper sources:
    Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times

    So if the newspaper organization in your nearest city goes out of business, who will cover the local news for your city?

    Start blogging fanboy.

     

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    PistonHonda, Feb 13th, 2009 @ 2:34pm

    err...your wrong?

    Sure Google is good for you. You run a website that is found by the #1 (FREE) search engine in the world.

    The writer is saying that it takes "pay-for" type services - makes them better, and then makes the accessable to the user for free.

    10 years ago no company in their mind would have thought about launching a satalitte into space to GIVE GPS to anyone who had access to the internet, or gadgets on the computer to make everyday life a little easier.

    I am not against this since I am a user, and just about anything Google does benefits me;

    but you cant sit there and say they don't devalue other services because that would just make you simple. If you take a pay service, and make it better and free - then guess what? people will stop paying, and use the free service.

    I like your site, but sometimes your logic is circular.

     

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    Mike (profile), Feb 13th, 2009 @ 5:05pm

    Re: Re: OK so where are the successes

    You make a good point. Mike and team essentially do long term reporting, but as part of his consulting practice where that research is paid for by a specific client. I doubt we want to move toward a model where the NYTimes is doing investigative journalism on behalf of Exxon...so, what works for some types of media companies is probably not what we want from all.

    You do realize that's *already* effectively the model they use. Almost all of the real revenue for the NY Times comes from advertisers. So Exxon IS paying for their investigative journalism.

    As I wrote the other day. in response to a similar story by Mike, I think we in the Internet industry need to stop pretending like we have all the content industry's problems. Simply getting newspapers to focus on "community" isn't really an answer. Twitter and Facebook have enormous communities, but both are STILL struggling to find long term business models.

    I never said just community is the answer. But I did say that community is the biggest asset. Don't worry... we're working up to an explanation of how you make money with that asset. :)

    If we're honest with ourselves, we'll admit that we don't have all the answers.

    There's a difference between claiming that we have *all* the answers and recognizing a bad idea. We have some of the answers and can still call a bad idea a bad idea.

     

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    Dan, Feb 13th, 2009 @ 7:27pm

    WSJ value?

    Google has certainly devalued WSJ content from news to history, unfortunately WSJ is not in the history business.

     

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    Sean, Feb 14th, 2009 @ 12:02am

    Great post Mike, great post.

     

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    Relayman5C, Feb 14th, 2009 @ 7:03am

    Re: So -- who will pay for the news?

    You said "make money doing it."

    Bloomberg prints nothing yet makes lots of money. Granted, they charge money for some content, but a lot is free.

     

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    David, Feb 14th, 2009 @ 7:39am

    where would we be without it

    i dont think it does, think about this entire industry that has been built because of google.

    If you talk about value, i think google devalues outdated/poor quality...

     

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    Alpesh, Feb 14th, 2009 @ 7:47am

    Quality

    "google divides that content quantitatively rather than qualitatively"

    If that was so, google could not have been the most used search engine on the earth. It's the quality results that makes it so popular among the internet users!

     

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    Lee, Feb 14th, 2009 @ 10:12am

    Re: Quality

    @27: You're confusing the term "quality" used in a sentential logic sense (where it is opposed to "quantity") with the the term "quality" in a more colloquial sense, meaning something like "value." There is absolutely no question that Google measures value (or, the second meaning of "quality") in quantitative terms.

     

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    Michael, Feb 14th, 2009 @ 11:37am

    Yes, but...

    Mike's point is well taken except here:
    He's also wrong if he thinks Google divides content "quantitatively." Google's ranking mechanism is the exact opposite. It works out ways to measure the value of content at a qualitative level -- pushing the best content up.
    Depending on how you understand, "best" Google doesn't always push the best content to the top. I think that's largely a function of a difference in how Mr. Masnick and Mr. Thomson understand "qualitative".

    Mike seems to be concentrating on the relevence angle. He's right that Google does this well. Sites where a term(s) appears a number of times in proximity to other terms will appear higher on a list of searches. Often this allows you to get information related to what you're looking for, assuming you really know what that happens to be.

    I could be giving him too much benefit of the doubt, but from my reading of the quote, it seems Mr. Thomson is talking about something entirely different here. Thomson is talking about "quality", meaning information from a source that has authority, credibility, and accountability (among other things). There's a lot of crap on the internet and Google "pushes" it as vigorously as valuable stuff if it matches the search terms well.

    The best example I can give is the instance of a little boy who came into the library where I work and asked for help printing. When the librarian went to help him navigate the print management software. She asked casually what the boy was working on, and he said he had a project on the Holocaust. She was horrified to see that much of his material was from sites maintained by Holocaust deniers and tried to help steer him to more appropriate material. This particular search now fares much better, but at the time many of the sites on the first couple pages were of the appologist/denier sort.

    There are numerous other less extreme examples one seaching for one thing and getting something else. Say you are doing a search for a project on the casinos and racetacks and search for "Gaming Industry", a perfectly correct term. That search would result in hits about video games which have nothing to do with casinos.

    Be careful about confusing "relavence" with "quality". Because you can easily have one without the other. Google is excellent at finding that which is coldly relevent and fails miserably at finding quality. Of course, it's likly too much to ask for a search engine to make a quality judgement (for now).

     

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    Gene Cavanaugh, Feb 14th, 2009 @ 1:04pm

    WSJ Editor and Google

    Almost complete agreement, Mike - but when you lumped the three people together, you did a disservice to Mort Zuckerman.
    If you had listened a little more carefully, you would have heard Zuckerman trying to lead the discussion toward a more moderate stance, such as his comment on micropayments, which comes down to "we won't be the first", and an attitude that suggested "we won't do that".

     

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    Daniel Tunkelang (profile), Feb 14th, 2009 @ 1:24pm

    Rebuttal and Discussion at The Noisy Channel

    Just want to let people know that Mike and I are having a great back-and-forth over at The Noisy Channel, where I posted a rebuttal to this post.

     

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    spaceman spiff, Feb 14th, 2009 @ 1:27pm

    WSJ editor and other maroons

    It's idiotic stuff like this from Thomson that is pushing me to cancel my WSJ and WSJ Interactive subscriptions that I have had for years. The biggest problem with the WSJ is that they have lost sight of what their subscribers want - I hardly get any new, revealing, or insightful content from them any longer so that I can no longer justify what I pay them, and I am a semi-professional equities trader. If the WSJ is having problems in the e-economy (or eConomy if you prefer), then they should look closer to home for the causes instead of trying to lay the blame on others who do get the paradigm changes our society is currently undergoing.

     

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    Stiennon, Feb 14th, 2009 @ 1:33pm

    Robert Thomas is completey right!

    When it comes to the value of printed pubs such as the WSJ. I turn to the Wall Street Journal for crisp, well written reporting with I hope a comprehensive inclusion of all the business and world news and analysis I need.

    Too bad the WSJ has turned to big color pictures of sports figures, fires, and beauties instead. In their quest to commonize and be more like the NYT they are destroying their value.

    And what's up with all the typos? Are copy editors not considered valuable?

    -Stiennon

     

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    Scott Rafer, Feb 14th, 2009 @ 3:02pm

    Sorry Mike, you're the confused one.

    "Thomson's mistake seems to be that he's confusing "price" and "value" which is a bit scary for the managing editor of a business publication. Yes, the widespread availability of news may push down the price (that's just supply and demand), but it doesn't decrease the value at all. It opens up more opportunities to capture that value."

    You are confusing value and utility. Incredibly efficient distribution lowers aggregate economic value for the producers of that good (though increases GDP overall). Their stuff is more useful by more people in more ways, but so what? Their job isn't the GDP, it's down jones. There will never be a plan that gets the WSJ paid at the old levels *no matter how smart they are or what they try.*

    Technology change always replaces old dollars with new dimes. It always devalues the old businesses. Google's just the largest current tech supplier. There is nothing unique about Google in that way.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
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    Mike (profile), Feb 14th, 2009 @ 3:33pm

    Re: Sorry Mike, you're the confused one.

    You are confusing value and utility. Incredibly efficient distribution lowers aggregate economic value for the producers of that good (though increases GDP overall). Their stuff is more useful by more people in more ways, but so what? Their job isn't the GDP, it's down jones. There will never be a plan that gets the WSJ paid at the old levels *no matter how smart they are or what they try.*

    I disagree. Yes, they increase GDP overall, but that increase represents an OPPORTUNITY. The issue is that Dow Jones needs to come up with the best plan to capture as much of that increased GDP as possible. It doesn't need to be all, but they absolutely can capture more of that increased GDP than they lose in changing business models.


    Technology change always replaces old dollars with new dimes. It always devalues the old businesses. Google's just the largest current tech supplier. There is nothing unique about Google in that way.


    No. It may devalue old business *models* but not the businesses themselves.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
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    Grzegorz Balnis, Feb 15th, 2009 @ 2:31am

    Time to reinvent the business model guys

    It's sad to see media execs whining about somebody eating their lunch rather than doing something about it. Yesterday I read about 5000 journalists being about to get fired in Spain (20% of the total) because of crisis and 30% drop in ad revenues. Guys, get back to work, the cash cow is dying.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
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    robert ivan, Feb 15th, 2009 @ 9:39am

    Here's the video:

    Here's the video:
    http://www.metaprinter.com/?p=1830

    At 9:20 Robert Thomson says, “Google devalues everything it touches” and I cannot help but think that he sounds like a local store owner complaining about WalMart. In the mean time everyone is shopping there and the company is single handedly responsible for most all innovation in store / product logistics. Rickles and Bamburgers went out of business for a reason, the free market spoke.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
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    Stephen Larson, Feb 15th, 2009 @ 12:36pm

    Re:

    Scary to think about. Maybe they do in a more subtle way. I guess information should be free but not expression.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
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    Ruth, Feb 15th, 2009 @ 5:39pm

    A search engine is like a giant library. The problem with Google and other search engines is that they provide information to people without paying for the information. But unlike real libraries open to the public, they make money from selling advertising that often accompanies information they aren't spending any money to produce.

    At least libraries pay for one copy of the information, and people have to wait in line to get the information (the tradeoff for receiving free information). The lack of payment is why newspaper execs think Google is parasitic.

    Meanwhile, if local newspapers die, I will be shocked -- shocked -- when people complain that the websites of their school board or local municipality don't tell them the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about the decisions the school superintendent or the board of supervisors are making.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
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    Evan, Feb 16th, 2009 @ 12:55pm

    Right and wrong

    Mike -

    I know it's easy to tweak old-school newspaper guys, especially when you work for a successful tech blog, but slow down a second.

    Google is undeniably helpful to a select group of people, most prominently bloggers and small business owners. These are people who lose nothing in their interaction with Google; Google helps bloggers attract more viewers, which means more advertising bucks (and/or funding), and small business owners get more attention drawn to their product, which means more sales.

    But consider newspapers, whose product is information and whose costs are far beyond a five, ten or twenty-person start-up. Google - and other search engines - give their product away for free. The corresponding problem is that newspapers, fearing what will happen if they close the door even a little bit, allow it to go for free.

    The blog model doesn't care about free, and maybe that's where things are headed. Whether that's good or bad remains to be seen, though I'm discouraged by the fact that it seems that the only sustainable "free" online pubs are those that focus on tech or celebrity gossip.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
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    B Yewmans, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 9:56am

    Google is SPAM and big brother at it's worst

    NO, he is correct and you are wrong. Google is one the largest spammers ever, and they should be PAYING consumers for being deceitful. I knew years ago that something was very very wrong when they seemed to have come from out of the blue and dominated the web. All my fellow students, professors, and comp techs were shocked because Yahoo had been much much more available and dominant to that point. Finally, I figured out that google came to power via proxy spam by deceitfully linking themselves to other downloads (like quicktime viewer--it still defaults to adding google toolbar) (and yes, i kept plenty of records of this over the years). They are nothing more than lying spammers and scammers....so, is Facebook...they did the same thing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
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    Mike (profile), Feb 20th, 2009 @ 6:01pm

    Re: Right and wrong

    But consider newspapers, whose product is information and whose costs are far beyond a five, ten or twenty-person start-up.

    I read that and all I see is (a) newspapers are wrong if they think their product is "information" -- it's never been information. It's always been their community. And (b) the second part makes no sense. You're saying newspapers are more inefficient and wasteful than startups. So? That just explains why they should go away.

    The blog model doesn't care about free, and maybe that's where things are headed. Whether that's good or bad remains to be seen, though I'm discouraged by the fact that it seems that the only sustainable "free" online pubs are those that focus on tech or celebrity gossip.

    Think more dynamically. The market is in transition. It will continue to do so. There are some great business models that will work for online news.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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