Turning away the Search People

The suggestion by Rupert Murdoch that he may prevent Google from indexing his news properties, including the Wall Street Journal, has lately been newsworthy. While the old model of charging for content may be irretrievably broken, it's far from clear what might replace that lost income since news retailers have struggled to profit from the time and expense of journaling. On the other hand, Google has certainly profited, leaving Murdoch to wonder if the money is under new ownership and what he might do about it. The Big Think mulls it over:

But, as Murdoch realizes, the content they produce is worth something, and they do have some leverage. While the traffic that search engines like Google generate for websites is valuable, Murdoch is right to point out that 'search people' —people who come to websites by way of a search engine—are not as valuable as regular subscribers because they spend relatively little time on the sites they visit. At the same time the right to index those sites is worth something to the search engines, whose ads sales depend on them having comprehensive and useful results. It's certainly worth something to Bing, the search engine Microsoft hopes will rival Google, to have exclusive access to the content News Corp. can provide. And since News Corp. is making so little money off the revenue generated by search-engine traffic, Murdoch can, as Jarvis Coffin argues, plausibly say they will do without it, instead focusing on higher-value regular users. Unless, that is, the search engines are willing to share some of their revenues with him.