Jason Kottke’s written fascinating analysis of the state of play of a bet made between Martin Nisenholtz (of the NY Times) and Dave Winer in 2002. The bet was that by 2007 Google searches for top news stories would bring up blogs before NY Times articles.
Jason demonstrates that for quite a few stories blogs are already winning. Interestingly, he also widens the definition of blog to “citizen media”, which brings Wikipedia into the fray. And suddenly the NYT does even worse by comparison.
Jason draws some interesting points which are worth reading, but what struck me was how blog posts have more permanence in Google than the NYT has, for the simple reason that NYT content moves into an archive over time and starts to move down the rankings. For a great essay on this, read Simon Waldman on PressThink. Jason’s research shows how meaningful this is, I think – over time, if you don’t have permanence, you start to disappear.
One of Jason’s examples is “london bombings.” When he did it, there were no NYT result in the top 100 results, probably because the news story broke over six months ago. The top “citizen media” result was Wikipedia at number two, and the top overall result was CNN (do they have a strategy on permanence, I wonder?). When I searched it, though, the top results were the BBC and Flickr. But Jason’s point still stands, as does mine, I think.