November 10, 2009

Rupert Murdoch does not like Google News

(From Media Chow)

Just to show you how stupid the news business is, I'd like to present to you the case of Rupert Murdoch, who built himself quite the empire in information. Fox News, a plethora of newspapers (including the Wall Street Journal) and MySpace. In other words, he's probably burning actual stacks of money to keep his mansion warm. Anyways, seeing Google News (which it is not) as a stealer of information, Murdoch is now contemplating blocking his newspapers from Google News and similar features from Bing and Ask.

Google has argued that its news aggregator simply points users to content online and actually helps drive traffic to news sites. Murdoch was not impressed by Internet traffic and said he was more interested in finding loyal readers.

"What's the point of having someone ... who likes a headline they see in Google, come to us?" he asked. "The fact is, there's not enough advertising in the world to go around to make all the Web sites profitable. We'd rather have fewer people coming to our Web site but paying."

At this point, users can see the first paragraph of most articles in the Wall Street Journal, but to read the rest of the story online, they must sign up for a subscription. Murdoch was not sure that that is the approach he'll take with all his publications.

One thing Murdoch is touting is the subscription-based service as opposed to an ad service for the money-making model on his newspapers websites. Problem is, with the subscription-based service, any schmuck can come along with a subscription and then post it for free online and then people will go and read that instead of your actual newspaper site. At least Google drives traffic to your site, as opposed to just copying and ignoring the source altogether.

If Murdoch blocks his newspapers, something tells me Google News will just go to other places.

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