Has Rupert Murdoch unlocked the secret to saving journalism? A new deal in the works between Murdoch's News Corp and Microsoft has industry observers buzzing about the possibilities. According to the Financial Times, News Corp, which owns The Wall Street Journal, is considering "de-indexing" its news content, which would prevent search engines like Google from detecting it. Murdoch could then license indexing rights to Google's competitor Bing for a price, creating an alternative revenue stream. Does the idea hold water? How does it alter the ongoing search war between Google and Microsoft's Bing? Bloggers weigh in:
- "Bing Just Might Have a Shot," writes Mark Cuban at Blog Maverick: "If you havent noticed the number of reporters generating original reporting is falling like a rock. Much of the news you think is original content is reposted from Reuters and AP. If Google doesnt have access to their output, they will have to wait for someone to actually re-write the story, probably after reading it on an AP or Reuters customer site and post it. Without question there will be a lag time. Which may be all that MicroSing needs. You can get ALL the news you need on Bing NOW, or you can wait, and wait, and wait for it on Google. Getting news first has been a position of value that has worked for a long, long time. No reason to think it might not work again here."
- A Shortsighted Move, writes Eric Schonfeld at TechCrunch: "The big problem with a search engine trying to buy market share by buying parts of the news is that information spreads so quickly these days, exclusives last about 30 seconds. That information will end up on a site that is indexed by Google. Or the same news will be broken by someone else on the Web before the WSJ.com even gets to it. Exclusive indexing goes against the Web's inherent openness. Companies that try to curtail that openness don't last long on the Web."
- Not an Industry Changer, writes Nicholas Carlson at The Business Insider: "The idea is to force Google to pay for content, thinning its currently fat margins. Problem is, we can't imagine Google going for it. For one, the FT reports that Google's UK director Matt Brittin told a conference last week that Google did not need news content to survive... For another, we can't imagine links to worthwhile stories originating from News Corp not finding their way onto sites that will happily remain indexed in Google's search engine free of charge."
- Deftly Exploits Microsoft's Insecurity, writes Rob Beschizza at Boing Boing: "There's one gamble which does make some twisted sense: that Microsoft is an irrational consumer. It's easy to believe that it may spew senseless riches into publishers' pockets, radically distorting the news market, just to spite Google. In this case, Murdoch could be wringing cash out of a market he knows is doomed to implosion or assimilation. And he doesn't even have to be an evil genius, either: he just has to be smarter than Steve Ballmer."
- A Surefire Way to Render News Corp Irrelevant, writes Pete Cashmore at Mashable: "I say go for it. So, I'm sure, do all the other web publishers who see that removing many of the major news sites from Google will provide even more traffic for the upstarts. News Corp is merrily making itself irrelevant to web consumers, while continuing to use Google as its punch bag rather than addressing the radical transition of media into the online world."
- A Colossal Waste of Money, writes Atrios at Eschaton: "Unsurprising that Microsoft would try to bring back their walled garden vision of the internet. It's a pretty dumb move, but I guess if everyone wants to waste a bunch of money...Basically Microsoft's gonna pay people for the sole right to index their content. I'm guessing that aside from being a waste of money, I'm pretty sure 'I won't index you if you ask me politely not to' is more of a courtesy than something arising out of genuine copyright claim fears."
- A Typical Microsoft Tactic, writes at Kathy Gill at The Moderate Voice: "Microsoft is doing what it always does: it's trying to buy its way into a market that it's been unable to crack, even after throwing millions (billions?) at it (while Google spent its time building an index and sticking to the knitting, so to speak)."