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Sam Zell Not Getting Much Blogosphere Love For His Blabberings About Google Stealing From Newspapers

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When Sam Zell, the soon-to-be new owner of Tribune Corp., parent company of the LA Times, was quoted as saying this on Saturday, we called him a ridiculous old man:

"If all of the newspapers in America did not allow Google to steal their content, how profitable would Google be?" Zell said during the question period after his speech. "Not very."

And the consensus from the blogosphere this weekend? That he's a ridiculous old man who will probably bankrupt his company.Jason Calacanis, calacanis.com

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Zell's statement is so wrong on so many levels that you have to wonder if this guy has any idea what he bought, not to mention if the reporters at the Washington Post have any reporting skills and knowledge of the Internet.
[...]
If Sam Zell is the future of the newspaper industry then the newspaper industry is dead--you heard it here first.

Mathew Ingram, /work:

Either Zell is trying to be deliberately provocative, or he’s a complete ignoramus. Number one, Google makes virtually nothing from Google News — since the search engine doesn’t sell advertising on any of its news content pages — and number two, even if all the newspaper content from all the major newspapers were removed from the search engine, Google would no doubt still be happily making billions of dollars.

Doc Searls, Weblog

Earth to Zell: If you don't want people to read editorial anywhere but on paper, don't put it on the Web, or embed code that tells search engines not to index it. (Trust me, Google obeys it.) But don't expect whatever you gain in paid-archive sales to exceed what you sacrifice in lost authority and advertising sales on exposed content. With locked-up archives, searches for subjects your papers have covered well will exclude results that will exclude that coverage. Your papers need to adapt to a world where readers look increasingly to the Web as the place to find useful editorial. If you must monetize your editorial online, make your Web practices reflect your paper ones: charge for the news and give away the olds.
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More after the jump, including a vote of support! Sorta.