Give the newspaper bosses this much: In their desperation to fix their dying businesses, they are going after logical targets. Google's rise has exactly nothing to do with their fall — but Google has money.
The latest harebrained scheme to shake down Google for cash goes like this, according to Silicon Alley Insider: The New York Times wants a cut of any ad Google sells on any page containing "New York Times content." There's also some scheme to implant Google ads in the text of Times articles, so they'd magically appear whenever a Times story is quoted.
What does this mean, exactly? When Google brokers an ad on a website, it keeps some of the money and shares the rest with the publisher. If the Times wants to insert itself into this transaction, it's going to have to pick someone's pocket — either online publishers, or Google. If the Times wants to roll over Google, more power to it. And if it wants to take money from the spam blogs which automatically scrape other sites' content, are hosted by Google's Blogger, and profit from Google-sold ads, great — Google ought to be doing more to prevent those sites from existing in the first place.
But if the Times thinks it can collect a vig from any blog that dares to cite a Times story, and Google plans to help it do so, they'll have a heck of a fight on their hands.
Here's a simpler idea: If the Times is so worried about people finding their stories online, why don't they just block Google? Google spokesman Gabriel Stricker made the suggestion himself. That makes far more sense than any of the schemes leaking out of the mortgaged Times headquarters in New York.
(Photo by liquidsunshine49)