WSJ To Google: Do What We Say, Not What We Do

    April 9, 2009
    WebProNews Staff

Blatant hypocrisy and obvious mischaracterization never stopped a good News Corp. employee; in fact, it’s probably best if it’s stated very clearly on one’s resume. Or maybe it’s just a case of never letting the right hand know what the left hand is doing.

You remember Wall Street Journal editor Robert Thomson’s much publicized criticism of Google and aggregators as parasites and tapeworms of the internet making money off the other people’s content, don’t you? If not, read my piece about the Information Mafia, and WebProNews Publisher Rich Ord’s piece about the Associated Press’s plans to litigate.

Back? Great, let’s move on.

All Things Digital, as it says at the bottom of the site is brought to you by the Wall Street Journal, part of the paper’s digital network. At the top of the page are tabs identifying the various sections of the site: Kara Swisher’s (coproducer and cohost) blog, Walt Mossberg’s, and over toward the end, “Voices.”

The Voices section aggregates, ranks, and displays headlines, links, and content snippets from various bloggers around the Web, and places advertising beside them. According to bloggers features, this is done without permission or a cut of the ad revenue, much like how Google and other aggregators operate that apparently irks the bejeezus out of the Journal, its owner Rupert Murdoch, and the Associated Press.

In fact, this is pretty much how it is done all across the Web. It’s a referral system, a collective, spontaneous endorsement or reference of found content on the Web without which the Web as we know it would cease to exist. It is upheld by legal precedent and copyright law.

Note also none of the entities complaining the loudest opt out of the current system, they just want a cut of the action. That’s a mafia style business model. And hey, it worked for the AP with Google. Google cut a deal so the AP would stop bothering them, and that leaves the rest of the Web vulnerable. This isn’t about proper use or what’s fair. It’s about money, power, leverage, and most importantly, about the control of information, who supplies it and how.   

Hat tip to Valleywag