Posted on December 21, 2009 in General Interest
By Marc Wilson
Rupert Murdoch is in the headlines for threatening to block Google from indexing
his newspaper web sites, but community newspaper publisher Mark Roby in South Dakota
is already doing so — and has been for years.
Roby, publisher of the Public Opinion
in Watertown, S.D., is a long-time personal friend (and former
TownNews.com board member). We often talk about the impact of the Internet
on newspapers, and several years ago I told him we can block Google and other major
search engines from crawling and indexing sites. He asked that we do so.
Google, Yahoo and the other reputable search engines have honored the block. (Less
reputable Internet companies won't honor the blocks, and when we set up technical
roadblocks to stop their spiders, they will intentionally end-run our blocks.)
"Our philosophy," Roby said, "has been to not allow aggregators to crawl through
our site. As with our print product, we want readers to come to our 'front page'
and then go inside...."
When Internet gurus speak, they often will talk about "Internet 2.0," which — in
brief — means a search-based Internet. Under "Internet 1.0", readers had to go to
specific web sites and drill down to find information. So, for example, if readers
wanted news about the Chicago Cubs they would go to chicagotribune.com, click on
sports, then click on the baseball link, then the Cubs link. At every step along
the way, the readers were exposed to advertising.
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