The president of the internet division of the newspaper conglomerate I work for actually said this in response to a manager suggesting working more closely with Google to improve SEO: "We don't want users to search for our site. We need to focus on the users who are on our site and make it easier for them to find the content they want via our internal search." Yeah. We don't want silly new readers. And we don't want readers to be able to find us on search engines. They should just know to come here and when they're here, they'll then learn how to use a search engine - our search engine. I bet our search algorithms are totally better than google's.
I am still laughing as I type up a response. I was going to get all articulate and give a few more examples of this same kind of attitude in other traditional media companies -- but this quote, and your illustration of how it highlights the really broken thinking behind it -- well, it was just brilliant. Thank you.
Meanwhile, the access to real information, which helps keep society free, dies off.
The Internet has done more for freedom in society than any other single force.
Newspapers are indeed the only people employing reporters currently. Although journalism will not die, newspapers certainly will if they continue to willfully avert their eyes from the writing on the wall. We don't know what the outcome of this upheaval will be. But I'm pretty sure blaming Google and calling Schmidt names isn't a way to resolve it. I will once again point to Clay Shirky's article on the subject: http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2009/03/newspapers-and-thinking-the-unthinkable/
- They care more about the almighty $$$ then they do about keeping the customer happy, and that is why they will ultimately fail.
Conversely, Google in its early days passed on clearly lucrative opportunities to ensure that their end users were better served. Here's a quote from "The Search" by John Batelle: "...one deal with DoubleClick... would probably net the company millions... But DoubleClick's ads were often gaudy and irrelevant. They represented everything Page and Brin thought was wrong with the Internet."
I'm sure things are changing, as they do whenever a company grows to the size of Google. But Eric Schmidt's words sure sound brash enough to be from an upstart.
Given these two historical points -- as well as the tendency towards zero marginal cost for reproduction and distribution of digital content, I personally don't think micropayments make sense.
Never call a man a fool. Borrow from him.