Neil Thackray’s Business Media Blog

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Google and Murdoch and Whether it Matters.

The spat between Google and Rupert Murdoch has spawned thousands of words of coverage. It arises from the failure of the ad model to scale at the rate of audience growth and the pandemic crisis in print publishing. What should we be concluding from this argument?

First let’s examine whether Murdoch has a point. He alleges, in terms, that Google profits by “stealing” the content from pubishers and then monetising that content by selling advertising. Is he right? Well the concept of thievery requires a victim and News INternational, indeed all print publishers can hardly claim to be that. We have all spent time effort and money optimisiing our sites to get the best ranking we can in the Google listing. Many of us have also invited Google to place it’s ads inside our websites in return for a share of the money. In these circumstances we can hardly plead foul anymore than a householder who invites the burglar into his house, shows him around and helps him pack his swag bag.

Murdoch knows all this of course. He is playing a negotiation game. There has never been anything to stop any of us preventing the Google robot indexing our sites. It’s easy. Much of the web is already behind walls that prevent content being read. Publishers make great play of the power of their brands, but I know of none who have the courage to turn off the search engines and rely on brand for their traffic.

This is a non dispute. We all have a choice about whether we wish to participate in the the Google machine.

So what is this all about? Murdoch has the same problem we all face. We have traffic but not enough money. We fear that the online model cannot sustain our content poduction costs and may be damaging our print brands. None of us, not even Murdoch can succeed in solving this problem by trying to change our customers behaviour to fit our business model. Our readers find content through search engines. Few will pay for news. Those are facts. Somehow we have to adapt our businesses to those facts not try and change the facts to fit our businesses

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December 7, 2009 - Posted by | Search | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] This post was Twitted by BenFletcherBen […]

    Pingback by Twitted by BenFletcherBen | December 14, 2009

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