There is so much talk and debate going on and flip flopping of newspaper and news sites regarding allowing search engines to crawl their pages for information.
This led me to think, what the heck is news anyway? Well more accurately, what should the news sites charge for and what should they let remain free of charge?
Today there is nearly 24/7 connectivity to information sources. News, information, ideas, etc. travel at light speed. If something happens, you find out about it. On Facebook, Twitter, or even the company water cooler.
If there is a major event, or any “newsworthy” event for that matter, the word will get out. Quickly. For a news site to hide that content so that search engines can’t crawl it and display it does not make sense at all. People will find it at the next available source, at the very same time.
I know for the newspapers, it’s not about the traffic as it seems they have a hard time monetizing it. Shutting it down is cutting off the nose to spite the face. You can’t monetize nothing either.
Charging for the content might not help either. Unless the content you are hiding and are charging a fee is truly unique and highly interesting. Ask Newsday, who got 35 paid subscribers in 3 months. Their content was not unique enough or interesting enough to get more than 35 people to pay for it. It’s gotta be GOOD!
So perhaps the newspaper and news sites should keep the general common stuff open, and only charge for the good stuff–which still might be a tough sell.