by Mike Masnick
Thu, Sep 10th 2009 9:33am
Now this is funny. One of the undercurrent themes found in all of the "newspaper guy blaming Google for newspaper demise" stories is the idea that Google should also come to the rescue of newspapers. Usually, this means by just forking over some of its massive profits, but other times it's based on odd claims that Google has a responsibility to create the new business model for journalism. Well, it appears that Google is stepping into that breach... but it strikes me as an elaborate practical joke. That's because Google has alerted the newspaper world that it's working on a micropayment solution via its seldom-used Google Checkout offering, that could be used as a form of a paywall. Of course, we've been waiting for newspapers to actually offer just such a paywall, so that we can watch it fail and get on with our lives. Perhaps I'm way too cynical on this particular move by Google, but it strikes me as Google handing newspaper execs the rope with which to hang themselves. The problem with a paywall isn't that the technology doesn't exist to make it work -- it's that consumers won't buy into it. But, if the newspapers want to try -- and Google wants to provide the rope -- good for them. Update Seems like a bad time to point out that retailers are having serious problems with Google Checkout, huh?
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