Return of the Gatekeeper?

postedBusiness Week has an interesting, if troubling, article today, wondering if big media such as Walt Disney, News Corp., NBC Universal and The New York Times might decide to fire a shot across Google’s bow and created a closed search database for their content in an effort to preserve their place as gatekeepers. I can imagine why big media might think about doing just that, but here’s why it won’t work.

The whole move to the edge movement is about knocking down these walls and removing the gatekeeper altogether. I don’t think the hordes of developers and users who are embracing this move to the edge would react positively to an attempt to build another wall as the outer wall is being knocked down. I think the end result would be that the content secured behind this new wall would simply lose some of its relevance. The record label cartel has lost a lot of goodwill and probably a lot of customers by suing dead people and grandmothers in a futile attempt to stuff the cat back into the bag. Hopefully someone at these big media companies has been paying attention and will stop this proposed madness before it starts.

Rather than follow the record label cartel off the cliff, these companies should try to swim with the current and figure out another way to protect their business model via partnerships and licensing deals.

Hurting Google is not a sound business strategy if it hurts them too. And it will. If they try to swim upstream, they will drown in a sea of bad karma and blog rants.

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