Rupert Murdoch takes on Google and Search Engines

Rupert Murdoch takes on Google and Search Engines

By , Nov 23 in blog with 0 comments

There’s been a bit of discussion recently in the blog world about Rupert Murdock’s thoughts on search engines, and in particular Google, and the fact that they provide a lot of information to consumers for free that has been sourced from News Ltd publications, Rupert has always been of the opinion that consumers should pay for news or content they receive on the Internet, just as they would when buying a newspaper or subscribing to a web site to get the content. He has even threatened to block Google from accessing News Ltd sites. So I thought I would publish a story from Newspaper Death Blog which featured a story on Rupert and search engines, so here it is for you:

“The debate over whether search engines are friend or foe to the newspaper industry continues to grow and become more complex.

Rupert Murdoch says he will really go ahead with his stated plans to remove his portfolio of publications from Google search index. Jonathan Millerhqdefault Rupert Murdoch takes on Google and Search Engines , News Corp’s chief digital officer, told the Monaco Media Forum on Friday said the company would begin blocking Google’s search spiders within a few months. Miller said that Google brings in an army of one-click visitors who are “the least valuable of traffic to us…You can survive without it.” He also said Murdoch intends to lead the industry in the just-say-no campaign. A Google spokesman responded that the search engine sends about 100,000 clicks to news organizations every minute. TechCrunch estimates that Google drives about one quarter of the traffic to The Wall Street Journal.

While there’s no doubt that Murdoch is serious about drawing a line in the sand on this issue, the decision to talk about it this far in advance indicates that this is a negotiating tactic. Much as Hearst and the New York Times Co. wrung concessions from unions by threatening to close the papers they own, Murdoch may be looking to extract some kind of licensing deal from Google in return for backing down.

The Journal and the Financial Times are the only two daily newspapers that are having any success with a paid subscription model because both provide information that subscribers see as essential to their business. Few other newspapers can make that claim, which is why paywalls have been so difficult to implement.

Miller’s comment about drive-by visitors is worth noting. Publishers and auditors tend to look at traffic as the ultimate metric of success, but there are different kinds of traffic. Sex and celebrities drive page views just as they sell newsstand copies, but that kind of traffic is undesirable to most advertisers and extremely hard to monetize. If Murdoch has decided that his core base of paying and print subscribers are sufficient to run the company, he may be choosing to press his advantage while he still has leverage. The Wall Street Journal was the only large US newspaper to show any growth in the recent Audit Bureau Of Control report and Murdoch may have decided that he doesn’t need the casual visitor in order to be successful.

The Bing Factor

Media entrepreneur Jason Calacanis thinks Murdoch wants to do a deal. He suggests that the publishing tycoon could strike an exclusive deal with Microsoft Bing. This would have the win-win effect of driving revenue from Microsoft’s deep pockets while also upping the ante in the search wars. It’s an intriguing idea, and few other companies have the throw weight to pull it off.

Bing presents an interesting twist. TechCrunch reported last week that Microsoft held a secret meeting with representatives of some of Europe’s largest newspapers to discuss throwing its weight behind ACAP, a protocol that provides a variety of access controls over content. TechCrunch says Microsoft told the European publishers that it’s ready to commit £100,000 to fund development of ACAP, which permits search engines, for example, to index the full content of an article while displaying only part of it to a casual visitor. The report speculates that Microsoft may be hoping to use publishers as allies in a flank attack on Google by striking deals that give Bing exclusive or semi-exclusive access to their content.

Writer: Paul Gillin

About the author

 Rupert Murdoch takes on Google and Search Engines Mike Andrew has been working with the Internet and small business for over 12 years. Mike has been a keynote speaker at conventions and seminars and conducted social media training sessions all over the world. Mike has an extensive media background having worked in electronic media for over 30 years. Mike specialises in social media and Internet marketing strategy, SEO techniques and search engine marketing campaigns. His articles appear on numerous blogs around the web as well as national magazines.

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