Garlic For The Google Vampire

Wall Street Journal publisher Les Hinton has called Google a “vampire” that has a taste for sucking the blood out of newspapers. I’d do a long dissection of his mistaken analogy, but I’ve already done that before: Google’s Love For Newspapers & How Little They Appreciate It.

Why do we continue to hear such tiresome rhetoric? Well, the Associated Press has quieted down, which makes me think they’re getting closer to a deal they like with Google. With the Wall Street Journal yapping again (owner Rupert Murdoch and editor-in-chief Robert Thomson spoke out against Google in April), I assume they’re probably having talks with Google — or trying to get those going — and figure more posturing would be helpful.

The Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press carry enough weight — are arguably “must carry” publications — that they’ll probably land some Google cash, in the end. And Google won’t call it pay off money, when it happens. We’ll get a euphemism about the deals being done for “new” or “different” uses rather than the “right” to list links.

Other papers and organizations, which struggle much more than the WSJ or the AP, won’t get anything. That’s why I don’t think Google should do such deals secretly. More on that in my Open Letter To Google & The AP: Reveal The Licensing Terms article.

As for Hinton’s remarks, if Google’s a vampire, here’s some free garlic that will keep it away. Go over to your robots.txt file here and add these lines:

User-agent: Googlebot

Disallow: /

All done. Heck, there’s even a Google help page with these instructions. Weird vampire, to be pointing at garlic like that.

Do that, and all your content is out of Google. Google might still see links that point to it, so important articles will still have some listings in web search. But you’ve pretty much pulled the plug on Google. Staked the vampire. What’s are you waiting for?

More discussion on Techmeme, which includes an article on how Steven Brill’s Journalism Online hopes to save newspapers. Because his Clear airport security pass program worked out so well, closing abruptly this week.

Oh, that article on Journalism Online is from the AP, which will probably die after 30 days because the AP doesn’t understand SEO. So here’s one that will likely live longer.

And for past writings on newspapers, which cover many of these issues, see my newspapers category. I especially recommend Do Newspapers Owe Google “Fair Share” Fees For Researching Stories?. Trust me, plenty of reporters at Dow Jones publications are sucking that Google vampire right back when creating the articles that Google supposedly puts its fangs into.


  1. says

    Ya know, it’s funny I tweeted about this yesterday. I should have blogged about it instead.

    “here is a low tech way to figure this out without charging customers – robots.txt – but its not about that is it?”

    Good to see others are starting to come around to the same conclusion.

    If organizations don’t want Google providing a doorway to them and making money from that, then Google, and other search engines, have provided the means to prevent that.

    I agree with you that the hemming and hawing is not about that. If so, it would already be done.

  2. says

    I cant remember the last newspaper I looked at maybe this is because apart from two or three of them that report actual transparent news the rest seem full of sensationalism…I often read that the way to healthy living, recommends a course of garlic intake they say its good for the blood maybe its time for radical change.

  3. says

    By the way I went to see that film at the top of this page (ads by Google) Blood – The Last vampire. at the cinema marks out of ten 2 maybe 3, bring back Hammer all is forgiven. Dape

  4. Joe says

    There is something else to the story: the price strategy for ads.
    Here an artice from 2004 dealing with “ad rates up circulation down”
    and by now one the papers (Rocky Mountain News) has logically gone bust.

    It is possible to use “ad rates up circulation down” to get an insight into
    that matters. For instance businesses big and small decide and calculate
    different then the media want them. Likely many are getting frustrated
    because the media don’t want to mention such considerations at all.
    Hence the media are becoming rapidly irrelevant, a nuiscance for small
    business who have a bunch of ad reps hanging on to them and so
    forth. – That’s an entirely different aspect of it all.