Google and the Gray Lady

March 30, 2009

Short take only: Read Valleywag’s “Times Nukes Itself on Google” here. The influential Web log reminded me that the New York Times has angled for getting its stories boosted in a Google results list. The Valleywag correctly observes that the New York Times has made it difficult to take advantage of its visibility and its existing Web sites. Valleywag’s Ryan Tate wrote:

The Times‘ longtime online chief, Martin Niesenholtz, recently whined that a Google search on the word “Gaza” didn’t include any of his content on the first results page. And yet he just nuked 121,000 of his own articles [via a redirect] containing that keyword.

I don’t have much to add when outfits needing traffic to generate revenue make a decision to reduce traffic. Amazing and not surprising. I bet the Times’s professionals have a well written, detailed analysis of why their decision should work. Obviously to the Times’s analysts Google is the problem. I don’t think so. Google’s not perfect, but not even Googzilla can save some publishers from themselves.

Stephen Arnold, March 30, 2009

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