The Google Economy

Google.I’ve been talking about it a lot lately, most recently in a comment at LibDev.

In the old world, information companies could create value by limiting access to their content. Most of us have so internalized this scarcity = value theory that we do little more than grumble about the New York Times’ authwall or similar limitations to the free-flow and linking of information.

Jenny Levine wrote recently about OCLC/LJ’s short-run (though not yet ended) experiment with authwalls. Jenny concludes that the move might have sold an extra subscription here or there, but completely killed the online linking that made LJ’s articles so authoritative in search engines.

Roger at Electric Forest struck to the heart of this recently:

…keep the [information] under heavy protection and you will find that people ignore this sheltered content in favor of the sources that embrace the web and make everything accessible… [Open and accessible resources] will become the influential authorities, not because they are more trustworthy, or more authoritative, or better written, but because they are more accessible.

In this new world, value is measured by search engine rankings, which are largely a measure of the number of links pointing to a resource. Because it’s impossible to link to things behind authwalls, or to material that isn’t online at all, Google et all have turned that scarcity = value equation on its head.

Today, in order to be relevant…in order to gain value, material must be available, linkable, indexable, and usable. Over the long haul, the best way to increase your Page Rank is to create outstanding content and make it freely available to everyone.

This is (part of) what got Zach blogging and it’s exactly what make’s Google’s non-hierarchical world work. Soon to be very related: social bookmarking as made famous by del.icio.us, now Yahoo! feature.

tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 thoughts on “The Google Economy

  1. Pingback: MaisonBisson.com » Blog Archive » DRM: Bad For Customers, Bad For Publishers

  2. Pingback: MaisonBisson.com » Blog Archive » Linking Bias

  3. Pingback: NoSheep! » NY Times Steps Back 5 Years

  4. […] You have to wonder what the guys at NY Times are thinking. They just announced a new service called TimesSelect. One of the things being made only available to TimeSelect subscribers is “daily columns from influential Op-Ed writers” according to the site. NY Times can not be blind to the Google Economy or to the rise of blogs. Increasingly bloggers who have their fingers on the pulse of politics, current events, and public interest stories are becoming the resource for people to get opinion pieces. So why would NY Times decide to launch a service that puts their colunists behind a pay service? Either they’re going bankrupt or there is a hidden agenda I’m not seeing. They have to be making plenty off their ad revenue on the site… […]

Comments are closed.