Over in Oz they’re having one of those deeply stupid arguments. How much should Google pay the newspapers for including the newspaper in the Google search engine?
The initial version of the news media bargaining code, proposed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chair, Rod Sims, only took into account the value of news content to Google, Facebook and other tech groups.
After consultation with affected parties, including Google, the draft legislation now before parliament was watered down so that the value news organisations get from links published by internet companies is also recognised.
However, as much of the traffic search engines send to news websites would probably arrive directly if search engines did not exist, the value transferred to publishers by companies such as Google is limited.
OK, after we’ve enjoyed, savoured, the idea that we shouldn’t include the value to the newspapers of Google let’s think a moment.
The mistake that’s being made here is to try to come to some just evaluation. They’re trying to come to that Aquinan Just Price thing. The problem here being that we’re dealing with human beings. Thus the price is something dependent upon personal utility for each of the market participants. There is no just value that is, there is only the value applied by humans.
Attempting to reason ourselves to the correct price is thus something that won’t work. We can only observe what the price is through the interactions of the participants. Something which is in fact easy enough to do.
The inclusion of news in the search engine is of value to Google, sure it is. Inclusion in the search engine is something of value to the newspapers, sure it is. We now want to find a way of measuring which is greater than the other and thus which way the money should flow.
So – any newspaper can opt out of the search engine simply by altering the robots.txt file on their own site. Somewhere between few and none do so. Google does obey the robots.txt file on all sites that ask not to be included in the search engine. Therefore this all must be more valuable to hte newspapers as they don;t adjust their robots.txt file.
Good, we’re done, the press can bugger off then. The only reason this isn’t being done is because the press has more power in [email protected] than Google does, thus they think they can win at the game of cakeism.