Hiding Information and Blinding Spiders

May 24, 2009

Two stories reminded me that search won’t work if content is not exposed. The first story is the decision of a college newspaper to prevent its archives from being indexed by Google. The idea is to avoid embarrassing graduates. My thought is that the information should be indexed if it is available. To blind a search engine hides potentially significant and useful information. You can read that story here. Censorship is censorship.

But the second story was even more annoying. Bloomberg News, according to Gawker here, now suggests that its reporters neither link nor mention competitors’.

My view is that the value of linking is similar to a fax machine. A single fax machine is useless. Its value increased when there were lots of fax machines. Fax is dead but the same analogy applies to content.

Censorship and intentional limiting of links are two examples of a fundamental change in publicly accessible online information. Not good in my opinion. Tough to search when the spiders have their eyes poked out.

Stephen Arnold, May 24, 2009


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