Rupert Murdoch has announced that News Corp will start completely blocking Google from its websites. Or something like that -- it's kind of hard to understand what he means, probably because he doesn't understand what he means. This is a man that doesn't get the internet, and he wants to impose an old-school financial model on it. My favorite tech blog, Mashable, had this insightful comment:
The problem is, things don't work the way they used to any more. Sometimes, a visitor will come to a news site or a blog and won't even know where he is; he might think he's still on Facebook or MySpace. And he won't be interested in anything on the site except that tiny bit of information that made him click on the link. Sometimes, the conversation will develop around your article, but not on your site; it may develop on Twitter or Digg. As a site owner, you have to adapt to this. If you plan to just ditch all these visitors, claiming they're all worthless, you might end up with an empty auditorium.
I think this is a valuable lesson for all of us: users don't necessarily always know where they are on the internet. They're often interested in your content, not always your website, and you should treat them in a way that encourages them to look at more content on your site in a way that does not require them to think about what they're doing or where they are. If they like what they see, they will take note. If not -- as will be the case with the walled garden Murdoch is proposing -- they will just go to another site where they can get almost the same content for free or with much less struggle.