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Nick Carr says Google is a middleman made of software  (View post)

SocialStream [PersonRank 7]

Sunday, April 12, 2009
10 years ago3,639 views

1. Google is a middleman made of software. It's a very, very large middleman made of software. Think of what Goliath or the Cyclops or Godzilla would look like if they were made of software. That's Google.

2. The middleman acts in the middleman's interest.

3. The broader the span of the middleman's control over the exchanges that take place in a market, the greater the middleman's power and the lesser the power of the suppliers.

Source: roughtype.com/archives/2009/04 ...

SocialStream [PersonRank 7]

10 years ago #

Mathew Ingram says Why Nick Carr is wrong on Google as a middleman for news

Source: niemanlab.org/2009/04/google-a ...

Ianf [PersonRank 10]

10 years ago #

How does someone with such sharp mind for analysis end up in the mental cul-de-sac of idiot conclusion? As if individual newspapers' net-subscriptions models (read: walled-off gardens in fractally-balkanized net-world) were the revenue-harvesting solution for the web age.

Nick Carr's "Google in the middle"
EMPHASIS MINE "[...] Once the news business reduces supply, it can begin to consolidate traffic, which in turn consolidates ad revenues and, not least, OPENS OPPORTUNITIES TO CHARGE SUBSCRIPTION FEES OF ONE SORT OR ANOTHER – opportunities that today, given the structure of the industry, seem impossible. With less supply, the supplier gains market power at the expense of the middleman.

THE FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM facing the news business today does not lie in Google's search engine. It LIES IN THE STRUCTURE OF THE NEWS BUSINESS ITSELF."

roughtype.com/archives/2009/04 ...

It's like Carr doesn't understand the full implications of his own ultimate conclusion. As Clay Shirky recently said in "Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable"
shirky.com/weblog/2009/03/news ...
"Society doesn't need newspapers. What we need is journalism." Of which follows that, in order to stay in the game, newspapers need to evolve = find BRAND-NEW existence models, and not merely coerce/ modify/ adapt today's no-longer-viable ones.

SocialStream [PersonRank 7]

10 years ago #

"Society doesn't need newspapers. What we need is journalism."

Gr8 quote

Ianf [PersonRank 10]

10 years ago #

Erick Schonfeld/ TechCrunch chimes in effectively refuting the argument WHEN IT COMES TO (USA-)NEWS:

"[...] Google News is not the middleman here. Let’s just put that notion to rest. Yahoo News is three times as large, and Yahoo sends even more traffic to newspaper sites from other parts of Yahoo through its online newspaper consortium. [...]"

"Does Google Really Control The News?"

techcrunch.com/2009/04/11/does ...

+ 55 Comments as of April 12th, 2009 at 8:29 am PDT [= 17:29 GMT +0200]

Above 5 comments were made in the forum before this was blogged,

Justin Pfister [PersonRank 10]

10 years ago #

Nick Carr is a great writer. I read his book. "Does IT Matter? Information Technology and the Corrosion of Competitive Advantage".

amazon.com/gp/product/15913944 ...

MATT [PersonRank 0]

10 years ago #

In every situation... Always get rid of the middle man...

Andy Breeden [PersonRank 0]

10 years ago #

Or, as my friend and financial planner always says, "The closer to the flow, the closer to the dough."

jobmaster [PersonRank 0]

10 years ago #

Once the news business reduces supply, it can begin to consolidate traffic, which in turn consolidates ad revenues and, not least, OPENS OPPORTUNITIES TO CHARGE SUBSCRIPTION FEES OF ONE SORT OR ANOTHER – opportunities that today, given the structure of the industry, seem impossible. With less supply, the supplier gains market power at the expense of the middleman.

[Signatured removed – Tony]

Ianf [PersonRank 10]

10 years ago #

jobmaster, the British have a word for it, and it is "bollocks." Individual (segmented) newsprint subscription model works only where there are no alternatives. But we're well past beyond that point – there are now so many free /and excellent!/ daily news sources available for free, that the traditional ones have lost their unique advantage. Nothing can compete with "free," no matter how much "better" it may be.

We're not there yet but soon enough the publishing industry as a whole will have to tackle that issue in some non-traditional way, or face the prospect, each player in its own backyard, of becoming niche presses. They need to get their act together with main actors of the digital infrastructure, the backbones and the ISPs, and instigate some kind of content-neutral micropayments system (and I mean micro as on a scale of thousands' or less of a penny per byte or similar). A Pay-Per-View on human scale.

Because, let's face it, up to now the only players that consistently made money off the Information Superhighway (or whatever it is that Al Gore invented and Senator Ted Stevens rebranded as series of tubes) are the ISPs, ie. those that deliver the content, not those that produce it in the first place. They are the sole gatekeepers AND CASHIERS here, not whoever wraps the weather. Thus, in order to survive, the "old-school" news producers will need to find a way/ adapt/ transform/ coerce that free-flow news model to work also for them.

I don't have a solution, but, since the news industries –from felling trees to recycling the newsprint– feeds lots of people, it is not unconceivable that, once it crashes, there will be legislation to force ISPs to give up some of their control and shares of "the newscake." And I am pretty sure the ISPs know that too, thus would rather act in agreement with the claimants, than be forced to under duress by the powers that be.

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