John Battelle takes a well-deserved pop at an idea floated by IDG CEO Pat Kenealy: should magazines gang together to block Google from their sites, and either develop a search engine of their own or cut a revenue-sharing deal with a search engine.
John illustrates this with a picture of the Titanic, and you can understand why. I’ve seen first hand how traditional publishers have misunderstood every stage of the digital publishing revolution, from the initial surge of the Web through to blogging. What they need to understand is quite simple: People don’t go to their sites anymore. They go to Google and they find your site, or they read your RSS feed. If Google can’t find your content, and you don’t have an RSS feed, you’re irrelevant.
There are exceptions to this, but they’re rare: BBC News Online, for example, is now the ONLY site that I visit on a regular basis. If you’re a technology publisher, you need to open your content up more, not put it behind walled gardens. If they can’t find it via Google, users will no come.