If news organizations blocked Google this morning

The idea of newspapers blocking Google from indexing their sites has become quite a topic of discussion recently, so I used the search engine this morning to look for some popular items. These screenshots help to illustrate how much Google relies on news sources for its best search results.

Obama China

Almost every entry for Obama China came from a  news organization.

Google search results for Obama China

Shuttle Atlantis

Aside from the block of news results at the top of the page, no news organizations ranked near the top of this search.

Google search results for shuttle Atlantis

Edward Woodward

This time the block of news results were lowered to the fifth listing on the page. Aside from that, no news organizations appeared.

Google search results for Edward Woodward

Groats disease

News companies didn’t appear on this page at all. Google didn’t even include a block of news results this time, which makes sense for this made-for-TV fictional medical condition.

Google search results for groats disease

Google wouldn’t lose much

Shift your eyes away from the main search results and look to the right side of those screenshots. That’s where Google makes it’s money with AdWords … and that spot is blank in three of the four examples above.

Of course, this is just one set of randomly chosen samples, so please take it all with a large grain of salt and share comments below to explain how Google’s business would suffer if it couldn’t link to news sites.


These recent developments prompted this post:

  • Rupert Murdoch might start blocking Google from indexing News Corp sites.
  • Mahalo CEO Jason Calacanis agrees with Murdoch’s logic and thinks top news sources should also charge Bing for exclusive rights to index their content.
  • TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington says Calacanis’ idea “would shift the balance of power away from search engines and to the content sites – if they could pull it off.”
  • CUNY journalism professor Jeff Jarvis thinks other news publishers wouldn’t join Murdoch’s efforts. Instead, they would “celebrate the chance” to pick up some of the Google rankings that News Corp would sacrifice.
  • Back a TechCrunch, Mike Butcher reports that Microsoft recently held a “secret meeting” with newspaper publishers. Details of that meeting were not known.

For some Google perspective, make sure to read Danny Sullivan’s interview with Josh Cohen of Google News.

4 thoughts on “If news organizations blocked Google this morning

    • Ari, thanks for stopping by. That last sentence is a footer that is automatically inserted into each post. A plugin that I installed many moons ago. I think it's time to retire it, or at least change the message.

  1. I think that this will result in the news agencies becoming even more irrelevant. They would be basically shooting themselves in the foot by blocking Google.

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