Givin’ it to Google

Nerve118.jpgToday BusinessWeek’s Jon Fine hypothesizes about how big-media companies could thwart Google’s quest for world-and desktop domination by banding together to create a content consortium that was closed to outside search engines. Fine thinks that if Disney, the NYT, NBC Universal and NewsCorp joined forces against Google they could push back against its ubiquitous encroachments. So, too, could an exclusive amalgamation of content relating to The Simpsons, Law & Order and other high-value brands.

This is what’s wrong with this idea: “A Content Consortium would wreak havoc with the Web as we know it in its bid to restore the role of content owner as gatekeeper.” Rolling back the march of progress never did work (a few headless French aristocrats found that out the hard way once upon a time). That kind of approach makes the web less efficient for searchers (aka would-be Googlers) and makes it more difficult to find content. We all know how irritating it is to have your time wasted by a pop-up ad, let alone having to go into another new window to run another entirely new search. Besides, users would vote with their mouse-clicks (Fine alludes to that like so: “Walling off search engines could reduce the Consortium’s traffic to a trickle and anger the open-Web crowd”). It’s true that cordoning off in-demand content would be frustrating for Google, but if that’s the best big media companies can do to stay in the game then they’re really headed for a crisis.

Putting The Screws To Google [BW]

Thanks to the staff at the Mediabistro mothership for piping up with comments to this during your potluck lunch, and for sharing the leftovers with me! Full disclosure: The topic was raised by MB cyberhoncho Laurel Touby, wife of Jon Fine, and I used it as an excuse to infiltrate, note some good points and eat delicious chocolate chip cookies.