The Bugle and Google
The Hicksville Bugle is a valuable member of the Hicksville community–or at least, so the Bugle’s editors kid themselves. The editors don’t continuously crush beercans against their foreheads, nor have they slept with their under-age cousins within the last month, so they are doing OK.
The Bugle buys a lot of syndicated stories from freelance writers. I know this, because I use Google News to read news stories from across the anglo-protestant world.
So on the one hand, you have Google, a multi-billion dollar world-wide company, with perhaps billions of users, and on the other hand you have … the Hicksville Bugle. Which of the two would win a spitting contest, you think?
The Bugle has had a web site made. On that website, you can read their syndicated stories, or at least you could, if the web developer had not convinced the editors that it would be really nifty (or swell) to install a registration system. That way, the Bugle can find out who the average reader would prefer to have sex with: their under-age wife, their under-age cousin, or their favourite sheep, Flossy.
Google News also had a web site made. Google has a very simple business model: stay on top by letting visitors find the stuff they are looking for on the web.
Here’s how that works on the spiffy Google News website: I punch in a couple of keywords, and get fifty pages of results. The first forty of these pages contain links to the Hicksville Bugle and its cousins. If I click on them, I get taken to the papers’ registration pages. The useful links are burried deep within the search results. Google apparently believes that appeasing the four members of the Bugle’s staff and management is a much better thing to do than to please their visitors.
As for why they would believe that, I don’t know. So far, Google has been doing a lot of things right, so we should give them the benefit of the doubt. Or perhaps it’s just a matter of Brin and Page having been promised access to Flossy.