Google: “Digital Vampire”?

By Casey Lynn
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

In a recent speech, Dow Jones Chief Executive and publisher of the Wall Street Journal Les Hinton waxed poetic upon the evils of Google by picking a metaphor and, er, sinking his teeth in. He called Google a vampire that’s been “sucking the blood” out of the newspaper business. Of course, he continued, Google isn’t all to blame. Newspapers should never have offered content free on the web!

“There is a charitable view of the history of Google. [It] didn’t actually begin life in a cave as a digital vampire per se. The charitable view of Google is that the news business itself fed Google’s taste for this kind of blood. [Free web content] gave Google’s fangs a great place to bite. We will never know what might have happened had newspapers taken a different approach.”

Hinton also says that Dow Jones is in the process of creating a new web platform that will level the playing field. I can only assume that the code name for this super secret project is “Buffy.”

Of course, the real question is, just what kind of vampire is Google? Hinton implies that it needs blood to survive, but is it also immortal? Will a stake kill it, or do we need sunlight/fire? Most importantly, I think, Google is the kind of vampire that requires an invitation into your home. Oh, and it definitely has some kind of psychic and/or mesmerizing ability. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t sparkle, though.

Okay, I think this metaphor is done; put a stake in it.

[Picture source: Flickr (CC)]

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5 Responses to Google: “Digital Vampire”?

  1. Seriously, it's important to know what lore we're going with when you call someone a vampire. Buffy (and Angel), Blade, Underworld, Van Helsing, True Blood, and now this Twilight garbage have all gotten them twisted in their own way.

    Number one reason I'll never see Twilight: vampires 'twinkle' when they go out during the day. WTF?

  2. Les Hinton does have a Good point about a certain aspect of Google, and that is that without websites, Google has no results to show to it's visitors. However, he's blatantly ignoring that if it wasn't for Google (or another search engine) that people would never find the majority of sites now visited online.

    Les is hinting that "perhaps" if newspapers had…err…done..err.."something"…different then they wouldn't be insolvent.

    The reality is simply that Newspapers are the scribes, desperately scribbling copies of books while Gutenburg's printing press makes them OBSOLETE. They resisted technology, and were slow to take advantage of the online media and chose to deride them, so by mocking "bloggers in pajamas" they lost the market to new technology.

  3. I for one think that air, train, and automobile travel is destroying the horse-coach system. Granted, coach services could have added more horses — say four hundred — to their coaches in order to compete, but cars trains and aeroplanes are horrible vampires that are sucking the life out of our beloved coaches. And that's the charitable view.

  4. I can never figure out why the don't just put up a robots.txt file to stop all the web crawlers? My more cynical side assumes that they still want the traffic from Google and this is just some publicity plow.