Because they are cramping their style.
Major media companies are increasingly lobbying Google to elevate their expensive professional content within the search engine’s undifferentiated slush of results.
They want first dibs, first choice and to be recognized first with top stories, news and developments, entertainment, etc. – – you name it. It seems that the mainstream media do not feel that they have enough of the pie and they want more. They want the pieces that the bloggers have too.
Bloggers and online journalists have a pretty exciting job writing on topics that are of interest to sparse sections of audiences online. They have the unique ability to act as sort of “rock stars” in the media world. Bloggers who are pretty popular even have their own groupies and people who hang on their every word, doing or trying whatever they say. Almost cult-like in a way. Right now, it’s pretty darn cool to be a blogger because your opinion, well-researched and fleshed out of course, can rank you right up there at the top of a Google search result. These rankings are giving the mainstream media a virtual headache. Why? Because they feel like since they are the “real” media source, that they should of course be first. Kind of reminds me of my kids and that whole “line-leader” business.
Of course mainstream media does have the advertising dollars and the resources to rank wherever they want, but is that good for the online user? Moreover, is it good for the media companies? Sure, it’s great for Google’s purse, but what does that for the discriminating online user who’s looking not for the most popular information, but the most accurate information? Do online users want to read “paid”, biased content or do they want good reads? What would you want?
What I find disturbing about the whole thing is the bullying that the online media (as a whole) is doing by throwing their weight around and saying that they should be more recognized than a lowly blogger. Says who?
“You should not have a system,” one content executive said, “where those who are essentially parasites off the true producers of content benefit disproportionately.”
Why, I don’t think I’m a parasite at all! I simply feel that the role of an online journalist is to further research and capitalize on the information that is already out there. Are we “taking” anything away from anyone by doing this? Does this make our work sub-par? Part of me does understand and agree with the big media folks in that there are content millhouses and lazy bloggers who will regurgitate what they’ve read and not bother to investigate or put their own spin on a story. Those types get no points with me either. But good bloggers aren’t doing this. Good bloggers are opinionated, well-read sources who offer their readers a direct light into a story without the fluff, the “paid spin” or the salesy type of material that you will read in some places.
Ariana Huffington of the famed Huffington Post runs quite a controversial blog on her site. There are many, many bloggers over there who deftly report and blog on politics, news, business and even gossip. Does that mean because the site is full of regular bloggers and not professionally paid journalists that they should not be recognized in Google’s search engine as much as a designer media’s name?
And then there’s my former colleague, Darren Rowse who I had the pleasure of working with for a while when I blogged for b5media. The man is a gold mine of knowledge and information when it comes to blogging and making money from it. In the online world, he is the go-to person for whatever you need to know about professional blogging. Darren started his whole blogging gig as a hobby and has built it into a leading, multi-business online venture. Since he doesn’t blog for any of the mainstream media, should his opinions on “how-to” be ignored? In addition, should he rank lower in the Google search engines for “pro-blogging”, “online entrepreneur” because he doesn’t have the backing of media dollars and resources?
There’s a place for the mainstream media and there’s a place for the blogging journalist in the online world for both parties to be a cohesive unit together. There is a way for everyone to get along and be successful in whatever venue they choose to find their way into Google. It’s called competition, and it’s doing quite well, thank you.
If the mainstream media wants to really be recognized, then they should do what it takes to be recognized. Throwing their resource weight around does nothing but make them virtual bullies. In a healthy dose of good old-fashioned competition, the search engines will pick up content that is relevant, pithy, original and unique. If that’s coming from the media folks, great. If that’s coming from the blogger journalist, great again. But the media has to understand that they can’t be greedy, they can’t have it all with resources, money and paid rankings and search results. Play fair and let the “best” content win. Readers deserve that. Message to the mainstream media: You can’t have your cake and eat it too! It’s not that type of party.
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