Googling the News?
Google had better watch out; their foes are starting to rally together. A report today has the tech blogs in an uproar about a possible Microsoft/News Corp pact. The agreement would center around Microsoft paying News Corp to remove their listings from Google. The idea being, this would give Bing an edge over Google, as they’d be the only major engine to have access to News Corp sites.
These rumors fit with earlier info about the media giant’s plan to de-list content from Google. However, adding in the possibility of a pact between Microsoft and News Corp turns the de-listing from a business measure, to a direct attack on Google. While the talks are in an early stage, the rumor is that Microsoft is also talking to several other major content providers to ask them to de-list from Google.
Microsoft’s Bing holds nearly 10% of the U.S. search market. While they haven’t been able to pull any users out of Google’s hide yet, this could represent a major turning point. If MicroSoft can convince major content providers to leave Google, Bing could gain substantial ground on Google.
Will this new plan work? News Corp, and many other news media sites, are working to make all of their online content ‘for pay’. However, a recent survey showed that 80% of customers will not pay for online news. It’s very possible that this pact would just seal the death warrant of several old media dinosaurs. Google has already stated that news content is “not a big part” of their revenue.
If News Corp pushes the fracture between new and old media, it’s definite they’ll learn just which form of content distribution the mass of customers prefer. Sites like the Wall Street Journal have proven that paying for subscription services can work, but not for the bulk of news media sites. Refusing to adapt and pulling away from changing trends won’t save the old titans of media, and trying to cheap shot Google by getting newspapers to de-list won’t make Bing popular.