[Mark] Cuban reportedly dared newspapers to pull their papers out of Google’s search index. “Show some balls,” he said. “If you turn your neck to a vampire, they are [going to] bite. But at some point the vampires run out of people’s blood to suck.”
Cuban’s pitch …of course, ignore[s] the fact that search-driven traffic is growing at most newspapers (in contrast to direct traffic and print circulation), and that if they don’t find a way to appeal to and monetize those readers then they will be catering to an ever-shrinking number.
Cuban’s “vampires” comment is misinformed, as GigaOM points out. But the “balls” comment is something I can actually get on board with. We’ve been listening to newspaper employees whine about Google for years now and yet, the process for removing one’s site from Google search is insanely simple. Every news site could disappear from Google in the next five minutes, if they wanted to.
The fact is, newspaper executives know that the bulk of their traffic comes from Google. So they’re not actually telling Google stop stealing our content! they’re asking that Google keep giving them free traffic, but also share some of the profit (that rightfully belongs to Google). Essentially, newspapers are admitting that they weren’t clever enough to come up with Google and then arguing that because of that, Google owes them money.
This is ri-goddamn-diculous.
Newspapers are playing the part of the crazy girlfriend who gets jealous every time you strike up a conversation with another woman and then complains that you’re socially withdrawn around her friends. I wonder if somewhere down the line, Google will just get tired of dealing with the newspaper industry and do the breaking up for them.