I Don’t Read Newspapers Anyway: Sam Zell Didn’t Count My Vote
There’s a bit of a stink that Sam Zell has suggested taking all the newspapers he’s in charge of (via Tribune Co, the company he just bought), pulling them out of Google, and licensing the articles. Tribune Co. includes the major newspapers Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. This is meant to be an end to the free ride enjoyed by the Internet, specifically Google. From the Washington Post:
“If all of the newspapers in America did not allow Google to steal their content, how profitable would Google be?” Zell said during the question period after his speech. “Not very.”
Despite the fact this statement doesn’t make much sense, I essentially could care less, since I don’t read those papers anyway. This move would just mean less AP stories for me to wade through on Google News and in Google Reader.
I see Zell’s statement as borne out of inertia. My one sympathetic thought: If I spent thirty years building a huge business and got rich, fat, and lazy – due to the easy money and security – I’d have a lot of inertia, too.
I’m reminded of all the hemming and hawing over Ford and GM. So Americans aren’t buying American-made cars. Then build a better car. If something in your organization is keeping you from building that car, fix it. Don’t blame the consumer or the companies sending customers to your door.
This is my roundabout way of saying: Create a newspaper worth paying for. This move against the entire Internet does nothing in that regard. Google built a Prius while the newspapers are still building SUVs.
Newspapers have tons of archived content, talented reporters, and a user base, many things the next Web 2.0 start up doesn’t have. There are some forward thinking ideas out there.
So it’s commonly said customers vote with their dollars. I already have. It’s frustrating to read that Sam Zell haven’t counted my vote, yet. And this certainly doesn’t inspire me to start reading newspapers.
Additional Reading: Lucas Grindley, Mathewingram, Somewhat Frank