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..