Google: The Rudolph Valentino Tactic

November 30, 2008

I received a couple of inputs about Bebo’s beating up Google. You can read more about the dust up here. As I was thinking about the implications of a former Google describing her former employer in language usually associated with Hollywood films like those starring Freddy Krueger, I saw two unrelated news items. Let me highlight these for you and then draw a parallel with an icon of seduction.

rudy2-02 copy

The Valentino like charm helped with charm and suggestions rewards for effort expended.

The first news item appeared in Library Journal here. The story by Andrew Albanese was “Google Book Deal Gets Preliminary Court Approval; More Boosters Emerge.” For me the most important portion of the write up was the information under the subhead “More Support Emerges”. I understood that publishers were not too happy with Google, and it was a toss up about the feelings of authors, who are never happy where publishers are involved. As an author, I like my publishers when their checks clear the bank and I actually get the money I am owed. Here’s the salient sentence in my opinion was in the form of a quote attributed to David Lammy, the minister of state for higher reduction and intellectual property in the UK:

“The agreement is one of a mounting number of recent examples where business and rights holders have taken the initiative and struck deals that have the potential to streamline the administration of copyright in the digital age,” Lammy wrote. Although the deal—at present—only applies to the United States, Lammy envisioned greater implications.

I concluded that happiness is, like the rosy fingertips of dawn, creeping over portions of the ethereal world of dead tree publishing.

The second news item shifts the medium from paper (ergo, dead trees) to a less ritzy part of the intellectual landscape–television. The story, a news item in essence, appeared in the Guardian’s Media Monkey Blog here. The headline “Google-From Parasites to Pals with ITV” sums up a shift in attitude at ITV about the GOOG. The Guardian’s Web site now uses the Google search engine. Will Google cut a deal for the ITV programming? Stay tuned.

For me these two examples illustrate how Google seems to be responding to companies or organizations who don’t roll over and say, “Please, pat my tummy, please, oh, please. May we have lunch at the Googleplex too?” The Google does not stomp away in anger. Nope. The Google tries the Rudolph Valentino tactic. The idea is that with a bit of exotic charm, Google wins over those who resist its charms. Publishers seem to be warming up. And ITV, if not swooning, seems to be batting its digital eye lashes.

These are indications that the GOOG is expanding its range of negotiating weapons. Who will be next to giggle and say, “Let’s do a deal, Mr. Google”? Share your thoughts, please.

Stephen Arnold, November 30, 2008


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