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If you want to be in Google, you gotta be on the Web

Sunday, May 18, 2003 by Dave Winer.

First the Register, now the NY Times Permalink to First the Register, now the NY Times

A few weeks ago a colleague of mine at Berkman Center, James Moore, published a rant about a theoretical Second Superpower, formed from elements in the west that don't think and act like the Republican Party. I'm summarizing grossly, read Jim's paper, it's a thoughtful gem.

Andrew Orlowski, who writes at the Register, did a Google search for "second superpower" and discovered that Moore's article was the first hit. This is not surprising because a number of A-list bloggers, including yours truly, had pointed to it. Google gives us considerable power, because of our longevity and regularity and incoming and outgoing pointers. Popular weblogs can confer a lot of page-rank, and that's a good thing, imho.

Orlowski thought this was bad because he had read an article in the NY Times earlier in the year that used the Second Superpower term before Moore did. Somehow, in a perfect world, Orlowski reasoned, Google would remember not only that the Times had used the term first, but that somehow the Times is more important than weblogs. Pfui. The Times can't possibly be a factor in Google searches for the simple reason that the Times archive is not accessible to Google. It's behind a for-pay firewall. Can't get there from here.

Weblogs, on the other hand, are not only on the Web, but beautifully organized for search and retrieval. Google is just indexing what's on the Web. Most print pubs aren't there. Not much more to say. Except the Times jumps on board the bandwagon today, in the News Of The Week In Review, Geoffrey Nunberg repeats Orlowski's story and theory, and like Orlowski, either doesn't understand the relationship to being on the Web and being in a search engine, or chooses not to clue his readers in.

There's basically a very simple rule. If you want to be in Google, you gotta be on the Web.

Dave Winer

PS: The Times piece, like the Register piece, makes a lot of derogatory and condescending statements about bloggers. An example -- "the Web is a tool that enables people who have a life to benefit from the efforts of those who don't." This kind of writing is unbecoming a paper of the stature of the Times, and probably reflects a bias, perhaps even a conflict of interest, on the part of the author of the article and the editorial staff at the Times. This is not the first time this has happened. I've written about this publicly many times. The editors of the Times have yet to respond.

PPS: These days respected professional journalists have weblogs. Even fellows at Harvard Law School have weblogs. Someday perhaps the NY Times will employ writers with weblogs.

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