Don't Give Them Too Much Credit

Joe Gregorio

Tim Bray weighs in on the current Google/NYTimes flap by pointing out that he thinks the reason the publishers haven't put their archives on the web is because they are getting a good revenue stream from selling them to Dialog.

But bear in mind that these are businesses. They'll make the move when, and only when, the money says to. Abstractions like Web Citizenship are not part of the equation.

Unfortunately that's just not a believable angle, especially given this long bet between Dave Winer and Martin Nisenholtz, the CEO of The New York Times Digital. Yes, the CEO of The New York Times Digital bet $1,000 against Dave Winer that in a Google search of five keywords or phrases representing the top five news stories of 2007, weblogs will rank higher than the New York Times' Web site. This, at the same time the NYTimes robots.txt file completely forbids Google to spider the NYTimes web site. I think this calls for a modified form of Hanlon's Razor:

Never attribute to good business sense that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

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