Rupert Murdoch has started a heated debate on Google’s policy of not sharing revenues with news publishers. Their argument is simple if Google is making billions by providing links to their content then they ought to get a pie of those Ad dollars. He has even cautioned Google for removing links from its search engine if they don’t meet their demands.
We at WATBlog always thought there was more to tussle between news paper publishers and Google then what meets the eye. We even covered WSJ attempts for micro-payment solution before staking their claim for content tie-up.
So why is NewsCorp so mad at Google’s Indexing?
NewsCorp currently is a partner for Google’s ‘First Click Free’ programme through which any person visiting site’s like WSJ from Google News can read the first paid article for free and after that he/she has to shell out money to read the other content. The loophole allows many visitors to frequent WSJ through the backdoor from Google news thus catching all the paid content as free. This has resulted badly for WSJ’s flight towards micropayment.
The end result is that NewsCorp has almost made their mind and are in the market to sell their ‘Content is King’ argument to Bing or whatever search engine they could find to pay hefty fees for the same. Some sources say that Microsoft is even willing to forge a Content deal in a desperate move to beat Google’s monopoly in search engine war.
Search Engine Dynamics to Change Forever?
Microsoft should perhaps know that if it signs any such content deal then it would also be changing the search engine dynamics forever and would send all of us in the pre dot com era where content was sold at exorbitantly high prices. Any attempt to thwart Google’s monopoly would only worsen the case for the whole search engine business because other big media publishers would not sit in the offing and can try to snatch money from Microsoft and even perhaps from Google.
This could perhaps start an epic business war with social networks & Media publishers on one side pressurizing search engines to pay or else forfeit their rights to Index. It is also correct to assume that no search engine could earn even normal profits forget super-normal if they start to cough up money just to index links.
NewsCorp must also understand that charging search engine for content can be viable in short term but it will be suicidal for even publishers as any downturn in search engine revenues would see direct assault on their Ad-rates. Even the publishing business has become very dynamic as even exclusive news loses its importance in few hours in a industry mirroring news headlines.
So what is the middle path?
As suggested by Josh Cohen, Product Manager Google News, publishers could easily put a firewall around their content and still get listed in Google News if they show the landing users the same preview content it shows to Google News Index bot. Google is even ready to help big publishers in placing a micro-payment solution on their site as it thought of doing few month ago .
Let’s hope news media publishers don’t degrade the Web Ecosystem for sake of few extra dollars as it would do more harm than good for both the concerned parties and most important to web searchers.