Rupert Murdoch will do what other news organization have been itching but afraid to execute, blocking search engines from indexing their sites. He sent a clear message that war has been declared on the Internet and he wants all of his content off the nets.
The interview Murdoch gave to Sky News Australia, which News Corp has a 1/3 stake in the news outlet, was more of a whiny, confused old man that saw his company being destroyed by the Internet and had no clue how to adopt to changing times.
Advertising isn’t helping offset the costs of running a news outlet and the only way Murdoch sees to survive is moving to a paywall structure.
“There are no websites, news websites or blog websites anywhere in the world making any serious money,” Murdoch said.
Murdoch then shows his ignorance about marketing on the Internet, saying that search engines like Google and Microsoft take “our stories and run with it”, while pointing out the importance of being the top search result when searched.
Even with that acknowledge, Murdoch wants payers than those that visit the site from Google.
“We rather have fewer people come to our websites than those that pay”, Murdoch stated.
Many news publishers still have the notion that Google is stealing their content. They don’t see Google as a marketer and an aggregator. The same also applies to Drudge Report and Huffington Post. Yet they know the important of these sites. No publisher will tell Matt Drudge not to link to their site. If they do, the editor will be gone the next day.
They know that these sites bring in traffic; they just wish they got the traction that Drudge, Huffington Post and Digg bring in.
Murdoch sees the Internet as a threat to his empire like The New York Post, the Times of London and the only newspaper outlet making money with online subscriptions, The Wall Street Journal. Many consider the Wall Street Journal to be a prime example of getting people to pay for content; showing one paragraph when users go directly to WSJ and displaying the full story when linked from aggregates like Digg.
Murdoch will fail if he does executive the command to pull his sites from being indexed. Many websites like Bloomberg, CNN Money, CBS Moneywatch, the Motley Fool and more will benefit extremely from being searched. as those sites will fight to become the first result when searching for “mortgage meltdown”.
Competition from other sites is the main reason why the New York Times, USA Today and Los Angeles Times don’t block their sites from being indexed; competition from KTLA-DT, LA Weekly, CBS News and others will take over and dominate. As much as news sites see blogs like Huffington Post as content stealers, they know that they provide traffic from aggregator sites. Without them, they might as well file for bankruptcy and exit the news business.
There is only one reason why Murdoch is threatening to block Google, negotiation. Murdoch has to be using this tactic as a way to re-negotiate their $900 million agreement MySpace made with Google in 2006 – it’s rumored that News Corp fell through on their end of the deal. Why not block their content today instead of months down the road is because they know that the company will be committing Internet suicide when they remove their content from search indexes.
Since Google is the king of the Internet, they will always get the upper hand.