Fantasy land: or the myth of the Digger’s omniscience

Jeff Jarvis has an interesting post about the

“swine flu of stupidity spreading about the Murdoch meme of blocking Google from indexing a site’s content (to which Google always replies that you’ve always been able to do that with robots.txt – so go ahead if you want). I love that The Reach Group (TRG), a German consulting company, has quantified just how damaging that would be to Google: hardly at all.”

The analysis is interesting — see Jeff’s post for the details. He’s also done a useful job of summarising some of the dafter ideas sparked by commentators’ awe of Rupert Murdoch. Sample:

Jason Calicanis fantasizes about Microsoft paying The New York Times to leave Google’s index for Bing. Let me explain why that would never happen. 1. The Times is not stupid. 2. Times subsidiary – the only bright spot these days in the NYTimesCo’s P&L – gets 80% of its traffic and 50% of its revenue from Google. 3. See rule No. 1.

Michael Arrington then joined in the fantasy saying that News Corp. could change the balance by shifting to Bing, but ends his post with his own reality check: MySpace – increasingly a disaster in News Corp’s P&L – is attempting to negotiate its $300 million deal with Google.

Microsoft can suck up to European publishers all it wants – even adopting their ACAP “standard,” which no one in the search industry is saluting because, as Google often points out, it addresses the desires only of a small proportion of sites and it would end up aiding spammers – but it won’t make a damned bit of difference.

As Erick Schonfeld reports, also on TechCrunch, if turned off Google it would lose 25% of its web traffic. He quotes Hitwise, which says 15% comes from Google search, 12% from Google News – and 7% from Drudge (aggregator), and 2% from Real Clear Politics (aggregator).

It’s like I said:

The prevailing sentiment however can be summed up as a paradox: nobody thinks that a “screw-you-Google” strategy makes sense, but they assume that Murdoch knows something they don’t, and that the strategy will make sense when all is revealed. In that way, the Digger is rather like Warren Buffett: his past investment record is so good that people are wary of questioning his judgment.