There's an absolutely huge
business out there of folks trying to get more traffic from Google, called Search Engine Optimization. It's a big deal. Traffic to your website is the lifeblood of most internet business models, and so any way to get more traffic is a good thing. Except if you're in the newspaper business for some reason. Lately we keep seeing odd stories of newspaper business folks complaining about the fact that Google sends them traffic. The latest? Dow Jones CEO Les Hinton, who called Google a "digital vampire" claiming that it's "sucking the blood" out of the newspaper industry
(found via Mathew Ingram
). He then goes on to suggest that at least some of this is the newspapers' own fault for giving "Google's fangs a great place to bite."
So, uh, Mr. Hinton, here's a suggestion: there's a little thing called robots.txt. You can block Google from indexing your websites. Then everyone's happy, right? That stops the bloodflow right there.
Except, perhaps the real issues is that, as everyone in every other business seems to recognize, traffic is important, and it's up to the website receiving that traffic to capitalize on it. So, either Hinton doesn't know this, or he's simply lying. Neither one makes Dow Jones look particularly smart.