Wall Street Journal versus Google.com
Murdoch the owner of the Wall Street Journal has accused Google.com of stealing content. I thought I would add my two cents on this issue.
Port-au-Prince, Haiti - Ayiti - Thursday, December 3, 2009
What happens is this:
1. There are content creators. Me, Andy Graham of HoboTraveler.com.
2. There are sites that collect content, organize it, and give it to readers in easy to scan and read formats.
Number 2 business model says, we never pay writers.
Well, the Wall Street Journal does pay their writers, and needs to make money from Advertisers. If the content is free, then how do they make money? The aggregators have different advertisers than the Wall Street Journal; these companies scrape the Wall Street Journal site and serve up pages, the leave the Wall Street Journal advertisers behind, and now use their own.
My Money Doubled Because I Stopped RSS Feeds
I stopped my RSS feed about a year ago, I have doubled the amount of money I make from the Blog section of my website. Yahoo News, The New York Times, many organizations were using snippets of my content on their site. Yes, for sure I got a small traffic. It was essentially a bookmark, the RSS feed serves as a bookmark, easy to use. I do not make money from Bookmarks; I make money from regular readers, so I disconnected it.
Is Google.com stealing the Wall Street Journals content, or mine? Not really, but in a way, because they are smarter, they can manipulate content better and make money, almost denying the Wall Street Journal from enough money.
The bottom line:
If the number of subscribers went up because of being associate with Google.com, then the Wall Street Journal would not care.
Bottom line for Andy Graham of HoboTraveler.com:
If the number of unique visitors went up because of RSS feeds, I would have it on my site. I removed it because the number of readers was dwindling. There was no incentive to sign up, I have corrected the problem.
Now, for every content producer, there are at least 20 people who want free content web sites. They cannot think of ideas on their own. They group up and try to convince the idea makers, the idea creators and the content writers we are dumb. Fun stuff, and each business owner must make money to thrive, I enjoy the game, I consider if fun. I truly do not care that people steal content, I know people, and it is their nature to steal. Well, this is not correct, if they can get something free, of great value, they will not pay. I truly get angry when readers say, I clicked on Ads, so you are making another person pay. I know you are well intended, but you are the one that owes, not the advertisers. This is why I put the Donate button back on the site, I want an option for the good people to pay, when they feel an obligation, I never want a person clicking on ads thinking they are helping me, they are not.
What a person has to ask, why does the most prestigious newspaper in the world, the Wall Street Journal want to this war with Google.com, because there is an essence of truth here.
1 in 10,000 webmasters knows how to make money on the Internet.
This is me; I am the 1 in 10,000. Murdoch is trying to help the 9,999 rather clueless webmasters on the planet, do not shoot your representative, he is your hope.
Google.com did nothing wrong, WSJ allowed it, and Google knows the internet better than WSJ. But who is more important, content makers, or content organizers?
Travel Writers do not Travel
What is even more humorous to me, only about 1 in 100 Travel Writers actually travel. They sit in their offices and mine ideas from my Blog. Rewrite, regurgitate it, and sell it for more money than I get, without the hassle of sitting in a concrete room with no electricity here in Haiti. Then because their presentation is better, they are consider the expert, truly a Charlie Foxtrot, the readers are the game in the end.
Wall Street Journal versus Google.com
I think the problem here is that Google is a search enguine. If you cut out the ability for people to search, you won't get any traffic unless you ARE the Wall Street Journal. Smalltown Indianna Press, regional news, even well known brands like New York Times... I'm never going to go to their websites to check a story unless the story is about them.
If I type in google 'oil tanker spill' or whatever, I may get taken to any news provider site on the planet. If I can't do this, I will type in 'www.wsj.com' and then search their site for the story i'm looking for, or bbc.co.uk or guardian.co.uk (with whom I have a subscription to premium content) or cnn.com or maybe economist.com (with whom I have had a subscription for years, but that I will not renew). I will think to visit the small press, or even the big press who I have never bothered to read before. The UK has over 10 big national papers, and I read one of them.
If you take away all the RSS and all the search, we go back in time. I do not want to visit 20-30 different websites per day to a) check they have updated b) find updates i'm interested in and c) wait for each site to load, including it's pictures and flashy adverts (especially if I am using my phone!). Consequence: I will not bother.
I keep reading your site because I find it indispensible. You are a Wall Street Journal of this world, a big player. However, if every site I read switched to emails instead of RSS, or came off google.com I wouldn't bother. I have enough traffic coming into my inbox everyday. I don't want to have to pay to download an email I'm not going to open, and for sure, on the mobile phone, we DO pay.
HOWEVER, I take your point about paying writers, and my worry is actually the little writers workign for small public-service news outlets who, as I say, I won't find without google.
We need a system that is as convenient for the end user (me) as RSS and google but pays the content creator (you) fairly. I'm not sure how this works, but whoever creates it will become rich.
There is a program I use at home called 'spotify' that lets me LEGALLY search for and instantly play (via streaming) music. Almost all the major record companies signed up, they get their royalties (although probably not as much as they would from CDs) per played track, and the program churns out an advert every now and then between songs, so it functions like radio. OR, like me, you can pay per month and listen ad-free. This is so easy, so convenient, so inexpensive that piracy just seems like a waste of time.
We need a spotify for news/ content.
Ashley you are extremely sensible and a good decision maker.
This I know.
99 percent of people:
Make RSS feed connections and never use them.
99 percent lose all their RSS feed when buying new computer.
90 percent of people have a mailbox out of control.
I got zero percentage of my traffic from RSS in the past.
I have said this before...
Facebook knows it
Tweeter knows it
Gmail knows it ... Alternative email
The reason to have a web site is to collect emails.
Then have permission to send ads.
Otherwise good content is of little value.
I can get them on a bad page.
They get annoyed, click on an ad to leave.
........that last line is important.
To become the Guru is the goal.
Good blog Andy. Sad to say, you are right. Good travel writers who travel are a rare commidity. Having been a lifelong globe trotter I agree that you have to be boots on the ground to really understand a country or a city. Keep up the good work Andy. My daughter sent you an email I think, about going to Saudi.
ps: thanks for all your help