GOOG could lose more than Murdoch

GOOG could lose more than Murdoch

Summary: Surely Google has more to lose from being blocked by the newspaper industry. It's index is key--it cares little if content is free...


The accepted wisdom is that if Rupert Murdoch and other newspapers block Google then they will suffer and die.

But is that really true?

These are some of the facts:

- The value of Google search traffic to the newspapers is low. Its loss wouldn't make much difference to the newspapers' already poor online revenues. They can't monetize the traffic anyway so its loss makes no difference to their future.

- Wouldn't the damage to Google be much greater?

If it is locked out from being able to index a large part of the Internet, it would be very bad for business. It would strike at its very core of its mission: "To index all the world's information."

Google users would question what else is missing?

Google's index is its Achilles' heel. It will do everything it needs to do to protect its ability to index content.

And itt doesn't matter if the content is free or not. As Google's Josh Cohen recently told SearchEngineLand: "...people will say ... 'I have to make this content free or Google won't index it,' and that's not the case."

So, who has the most to lose if News Corp and other large publishers block Google?

Newspaper online revenues won't be affected much at all.

But Google's reputation as having the best index would be seriously harmed. It would have a large hole in its index.

And that hole would be made up of missing content - new content - the most valuable thing for search engines. People search for new content. That's what brings them back to Google.

Surely Google has far more to lose than the newspaper publishers from being blocked.

And that's why it will do whatever it needs to do in order to preserve its index, including possibly paying for access.

Rupert Murdoch may have very well have found the weak spot in Google's business plan..

Topics: Banking, Browser, Enterprise Software, Google

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  • Thanks, this was insightful

    What if Murdoch and minions stroke a deal with
    a (more desperate) Google competitor - and
    blocked Google. That would be a <i>very</i>
    real threat. If users suddenly finds that
    Google returns fewer quality results than
    competitors, Google could lose search share,
    fast. That would strike <i>directly</i> against
    Google's only real source of income. It would
    be naive to think that Murdoch does not
    consider playing that card somewhere down the

    A revolt against race to zero may be brewing.
    At first I thought payed content would be
    stillborn. However, while I like to have
    everything for free, I do believe that those
    producing prime content should get payed. Maybe
    they have just not found the correct way of
    offering it yet. Until now it has been too much

    Maybe content providers could agree to offer
    "packets" like satellite TV where I buy the
    right to use from a number of sites and the
    sites agree on some way to share revenue based
    on usage statistics. I certainly would not want
    to have to subscribe to individual sources.
    That would "lock" me into a single (or a few)
    sources. While I would be willing to pay for
    news and analysis, I will not accept to do so
    only from a single source.

    • It may end up hurt Murdoch and not Google

      In fact, I hardly ever look for news outside what google offers. Maybe nascar but Fox doesnt work on Android, so ditched that site as well.

      The one that maybe be affected greatly would be, which has the best news site.

      News papers are the past, some large ones will survive, the rest mean nothing.
      • Re: It may end up hurt Murdoch and not Google

        "It may end up hurt Murdoch and not Google".

        I agree 100%.
        People are not stupid and after they get the sensation that the sites A, B and Z may/will start charging they'll just find another site. And they will do that using Google.

        It's a win-win situation for google.
    • Google = Goldman Sachs in the IT field

      I'm glad Murdoch stands up against their fraudulent business.
  • No problem

    Google can always count on providers like <i>Demand Media</i> and <i>Answers.Com</i> to keep their bot happily indexing "new" "content." Those two mega content sites alone pump out thousands of fresh "content" pages each day so Google has nothing to worry about.


    Now seriously, Google better get their act together fast or their future will not be as rosy as their past.
    The Mentalist
    • Exactly. But it depends on multiple factors

      <i>Now seriously, Google better get their act
      together fast or their future will not be as
      rosy as their past.</i>

      Yep. But to be credible Murdoch and the other
      media outlets have to

      1) have an alternative to Google. They still
      need their content indexed to entice new

      2) act in concert with all major media outlets
      who could otherwise threaten this move. This is
      the classic "prisoners dilemma".

      Re: 1) if Microsoft with Bing could grow to
      25%-30% of Google, they would be within
      striking range if <i>they</i> were to land a
      deal with Murdoch et al and Google didn't.
      Threatening to go with an alternative index
      which holds only 9% of the search market is not
      going to cut it.

      Re: 2) If Murdoch establishes himself as the
      rallying point and at some point bring in the
      news agencies as well, he may hold some
      leverage. If he cannot bring in the "discount"
      news outlets, he may be able to convince the
      major news agencies (the suppliers of the
      discount media outlets), and convince them to
      change the licensing terms, e.g. disallow
      unpaid use on the internet, or use a tiered

      The plan is not without risks and weak points.
      But I agree with Tom Foremski that it just may
      be the weak point of Google. If Google couldn't
      be relied upon to find up-to-date information
      about everyday subjects that would be a major
      dent in their reliability.
      • Murdoch and Steve Jobs would make good partners

        The Mentalist
      • Their reliability?

        Murdoch is basically saying "don't index our
        content or we'll sue!"

        How is that a problem with the search engine's
        reliable? It is solely Murdoch's fault, no matter
        what way you look at it.
    • "Their" act?

      Murdoch are the jackasses trying to stop search
      engines from indexing content. How can you blame
      that on Google?
    • Separating men from the boys...

      obviously mr murdoch did not grow up with computers. It's kind of funny how people think they can strike the killer blow to a company like google. People never like the big guy on the block but google is different. Google brought the majority of information available online to the average person (me). Who cares about stupid news websites anyways, to get anything out of them you have to register and they give you just as much junk that comes in the sunday paper-EVERYDAY!!

      Google has a knack for making things happen and this is no different.
  • rubish

    giving such importance to murdrock media empire is utterly hillarious.

    the only thing that will happen is that google users will see news from independant news media.

    f u c k murdrock and his paying for news, his new world order idea.

    it is the basic human right today to be informed.
    • Nope

      No such thing as freedom of information or free
      press nowadays. It's all going to get locked down
      soon at this rate. Search engines won't even be
      able to index websites.. hurray for bull-shit

      I wonder what next.. will they make it illegal for
      a browser to render a webpage? LOL!
  • It seems to me that

    Traditional newspaper subscription revenue does/did not even cover the printing and distribution costs. The only way the newspapers made money was from advertising. Now I know that newspaper advertising revenues have taken a beating from the likes of Craigslist. Still, it seems to me that if you do not have to process and deliver trees any more, advertising revenue should pay for the newspaper, if people want to read it so you get the hits?

    Are the ad revenues so bad that delivering printed media is out of the question and the online paper cannot pay for itself? If that is the case, Bing will not help much, unless MS is willing to lose a lot of money to gain market share.
  • RE: GOOG could lose more than Murdoch

    For Murdoch to hurt Google, he would have to turn back technology. You seem to be forgetting RSS feeds, blogs and all the other avenues that are indexed and would show up when searching on Google. I read somewhere that well over 50% of traffic to Murdoch?s various sites are driven by Google. So who is going to be hurt? With all the different news sources out there, you really think people are going to ditch Google just because Murdoch wants to take his ball off the court. I think you have drank a little too much Murdoch kool-aid if you think Google is going to be worried about him. Maybe in the media ?world? everyone is scared of Murdoch, but don?t hold your breath thinking Google will be?.
  • Simple business at play. If a good percentage of the news organizations get

    together, they can force Google to give them at least a
    little revenue stream that they did not have before. They
    want a cut of the money Google makes on search ads, and
    will probably get it. Google might end up paying a lot of
    content generators for the right to index.
  • RE: GOOG could lose more than Murdoch

    I don't think google will set such a precedence. This would simply encourage all site to start asking google for money or they will block them. If I were google, I'll just let them drop off and as someone else suggest, they'll get the news via other web sites anyway.
  • RE: GOOG could lose more than Murdoch

    You crack me up. News Corp only has one publication with the majority of its articles written by itself: the WSJ. All of his other publications depend heavily on AP reporting. Google could do exactly what Breitbart does and purchase a license to the AP content. Breitbart makes a killing doing just that. Murdoch wants to destroy the BBC, but does he really think he can take down that institution? Not a chance.
  • RE: GOOG could lose more than Murdoch

    I'm certain that Goog has enough resources to eventually replace what it loses. How about hiring their own journalistic teams-----what, there aren't enough journalists to go around?
  • Search engines are not the best methods for linking to content

    Google could lose a very large chunk of its business if the content providers move elsewhere.

    All that is needed is for a different and better model for linkage to the content.

    I know of a product which could take away a large percentage of Google's traffic. It's not out there yet and I'm surprised that the big players haven't thought of it yet. But, it will come. And when it comes, Google and MSN and Yahoo and all search engines will be rendered practically useless when it comes to providing the "access" to that content. And in a very major way, so would the media outlets themselves, such as Murdoc's publications; other major publications would also be heavily affected, such as the NY Times and Washington Post and the BBC, etc. In a major way, it could be a boon to content providers, and it could actually revive

    Also affected would be the major discussion sites and web logs. But the weblogs and forums would be big beneficiaries. The major publications, including Murdoc's, could also benefit if they were to go along with the model in question.

    The model I have in mind is mostly a different way of creating and presenting and accessing the news and the information, while at the same time providing easy access to discussions of all the news and information.

    With the model I mentioned, there would be no need for search engines to get people to the news and to the information and to the discussions. The loss of that huge part of internet traffic would dramatically affect the bottom lines for Google and for MSN; the beneficiaries would be the discussion sites and the blogs and the information and news providers. Search engines which depend upon content providers for a large portion of their searches and revenue will shrink in size.

  • RE: GOOG could lose more than Murdoch

    Fox can hardly be said to do a lot of actual reporting anyway. The content they generate is not required reading for anyone looking for actual hard news. Besides, it's not the monetization of clicks that Fox cares about...notice that Murdoch's newspaper websites aren't the only part of his empire willing to lose money in the service of branding and of pushing his political agenda. To lose Google hits or even to charge for full content would destroy Murdoch's chances of catching the occasional hit from someone who isn't a right-wing psychopath. Who else is going to pay for that content? It's not as if we're talking about losing Reuters, the AP, the BBC or some other outfit that actually carries hard news. And if Google lost the tripe that Fox calls "news", it would hardly damage Google's reputation as an aggregator of useful information.