Imagine that you own a business that has monopolistic control over the news. You are making money hand over fist, and have been for decades, centuries in some cases. Then imagine that a new means of information conveyance called the Internet pops up. You think to yourself, “Well that’s a fun little toy” and return to running your business in the same manner that you had in the past.
Flash forward a few years. That monopolistic control over the news is eroding. Upstart jackasses writing “blogs” on their own computers, frequently for little or no money are actually drawing more traffic than your big, well-established, and “trusted” company.
At this point, the appropriate response from the media companies would have been to look at what they could do differently? How could they learn from these blogs? What could they do to evolve and survive in this new media environment?
For the most part, they didn’t. They tried to stuff their existing business model onto a web site.
Flash forward to this week. These media companies are hopping mad because their business models have essentially blown up. They are scrambling to evolve in ways that would have been easy five or ten years ago, but are extraordinarily difficult today. They are upset with the Internet. They are mad at Google.
From their perspective, Google is the Internet. They control the largest search engine and the algorithm that backs that search engine basically decides what is significant on the Internet. In many cases, the algorithm has not deemed their content all that significant. Now they are demanding that Google adjust its search algorithm so that it bumps the content of major media companies up in its search mash-up.
Anyone with a greater than average understanding of technology, communications, and the Internet saw the writing on the walls for these companies years ago. They chose not to act and when they did act, they didn’t do enough. As a consequence, their businesses are suffering.
Google’s algorithm is far from perfect. In many cases it leaves a lot to be desired, but changing it to bend to the will of these companies is not a good idea. The Internet’s media environment is not something that is beyond navigation. These companies need to make a conscious choice to become a part of it. Otherwise, they are still trying to stuff their failed business model onto a web site and trying desperately to force-feed their content to users.
All of the money they are going to waste lobbying against Google should be spent changing their businesses.
They need to adapt to the environment in which they are trying to operate. Attempting to reshape the environment is a losing battle… especially since they aren’t particularly prominent in it.