Murdoch to Test the Magnetism of News Corp. Content

November 9, 2009

Yep, I see a big lab test coming. As a conservative goose, I will not predict the results of the test. I will let data speak for themselves. You can get the scoop and a sense of how big media views Mr. Murdoch’s most recent anti-free campaign in “Murdoch Could Block Google Searches Entirely”. In my opinion, it is pretty darned easy to block Google’s indexing software, but the headline illustrates the level of understanding about indexing, online, and Google that permeates big media. I am looking forward to four outcomes:

  1. News Corp.’s discovery that traffic on its sites declines, and that Google will offer AdWords as a way for News Corp. to regain some of its referral traffic. This is the situation in which AT&T finds itself. The company fights Google and then buys AdWords. The Google just chugs along. Only game in town in the phrase that comes to my mind.
  2. News Corp. will have to find a way to generate sufficient cash to deal with two challenges. The first is to make up lost print revenue. The second is to fund the marketing needed to find a solution to the traffic drop. The result will be a big cost hit because News Corp. is going to be a vacuum cleaner for outside experts. News Corp. will hire people to help fix the problem the “no Google” decision creates. Good for consultants. Not good for shareholders.
  3. News Corp. will have to figure out what to do when bloggers recycle News Corp. stories which Google then indexes and displays in pointers to these third party sources. I can see the lawyers drooling about this situation.
  4. News Corp. will have to figure out how to taser competitors who are in the traditional media game and sufficiently inventive to flow into the space News Corp. creates. Once some clever competitors figure out how to surf on Google, News Corp. has to fight a two front war. The evil bloggers AND the traditional publishers who see an opportunity in the News Corp.’s “no Google” method.

Exciting. In short, I don’t see much good news for News Corp. with this lab test.

Stephen Arnold, November 9, 2009

A publisher bought me lunch, but this publisher did not pay me to write this commentary. Quick report this fact to the US Postal Service.


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