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November 9, 2009

News Corp. sites may disappear from Google

Posted: 01:19 PM ET

In a recent Sky News interview, News Corporation chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch announced that News Corp websites such as The Wall Street Journal may be removed from search engines.

News Corporation chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch

News Corporation chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch

Websites typically rely on search engines to index their content so users can find them. Search engine optimization (SEO), or the process of increasing a site's presence on search engines, is big business. But Murdoch would prefer News Corp sites weren't indexed at all.

In the interview, Murdoch criticized Google and other news aggregates for taking content without permission. When asked about the value of traffic generated from search engines, Murdoch claimed readers who use search engines to find articles have little value to advertisers.

Murdoch continued by attacking the ad-based model that much of the Internet is built upon, "There are no Web sites anywhere in the world that are making serious money ... there's not enough advertising in the world to go around to make all the Web sites profitable."

While not every site can rely on advertising, Google may disagree with the suggestion that ads can't generate serious money.

Murdoch's plan is to charge a subscription fee to readers of News Corp.'s Internet content, similar to a subscription for a newspaper. He admits this business model will decrease traffic, but believes a pay wall is necessary to protect content from news aggregators: "We'd rather have fewer people come to our website and pay."

I can't see the future, but Murdoch's plan for News Corp. sites sounds like a big bag of fail to me. The subscription-based business model is not worth reviving. Internet content, especially news, should remain free for everyone.

Watch the full interview below.

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Filed under: computer security • DRM • Internet • online news


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a-mused   November 9th, 2009 2:49 pm ET

"Murdoch claimed readers who use search engines to find articles have little value to advertisers."

Uhmmmm.. what?! So apparently advertisers find tremendous value in people who have such a wealth of spare time that they can simply surf all day. Odd, I tend to think of those as unemployed. As in, no expendable income to take advantage of advertiser's wares.

Rupert – stop. You're embarrassing yourself. Take some well-earned retirement and pick up golf. Alternately, if he does force this route, now would probably be a good time to sell News Corp stock before they become a footnote somewhere.


Richp   November 9th, 2009 2:59 pm ET

The Wall Street Journal, isn't that the newspaper that missed the coming crash, sounds like a fail to me.


Franko   November 9th, 2009 3:10 pm ET

Not bankrupt ? Just invisible from search ?
Will the bankers, lawyers and politicians get free access ?
With only ads relevant to leadership class people.

Gone with the net neutrality - Pay for view, just like pay TV


Brett   November 9th, 2009 3:30 pm ET

This proves the point that you don't have to be a genius, or apparently even observant to be a CEO. The tangible printed word is dying, and the vaccination is not charging for the digital version. This man is not in touch with reality. I am in my late 30s and even my generation will not pay for news online. The next generation will simply go elsewhere for the information. Surely Mr. Murdoch does not truly believe that his news organizations have information that cannot be found on other sites. We are witnessing the end of a generation of CEOs who are so out of touch with the modern world, that they are making poor decisions for their companies. Their time has come and gone, put them out to pasture, let them enjoy their retirement in obscurity, and get some fresh ideas in.


Jesse Lawson   November 9th, 2009 4:24 pm ET

This is the guy who owns Fox News...is anyone really surprised that he's an idiot?


Search Engine Placement Specialist   November 9th, 2009 4:31 pm ET

Awesome stuff ... I hope to start a blog like this soon.


Richard   November 9th, 2009 4:42 pm ET

How about NewsCorp (and Murdoch) disappear all together, not just from Google. He knows he has been beat handily by Google in the online world (remember his expensive and misguided acquistion of now about to disappear MySpace). He is acting like a spoiled brat just like the other extremist Republicans after losing the last elections.


Todd Michael   November 9th, 2009 5:31 pm ET

I see... so Rupert doesn't want his stuff posted in the "Yellow Pages" because he might be able to get some chump change by creating a gated community.

Exploit what you can Rupert, your only going to be remembered for your greed anyway.


Mary Taft   November 9th, 2009 7:51 pm ET

"Murdoch would prefer News Corp sites weren't indexed at all." Not a surprise, why would the Kingpin of propaganda want the public to have informed choices.


Vignesh   November 9th, 2009 10:02 pm ET

What an idiot. I found sites like IGN from searching on google. Thats how you gain new customers.

Don't worry I won't be using your sites Robert Murdoch. Guess what? CNN works just fine over the Wall Street Journal.


Jeremiah Hood   November 9th, 2009 10:23 pm ET

Rupert does not know who his readers are. I have not missed a day of the Journal for decades. it is irreplaceable. That's why I get it delivered to my home, to my office, to my laptop and to my Kindle. It also pops up constantly in Google in the course of my daily chores. Taking the Journal out of Google (and raising the price for Kindel delivery, which he has also threatened) betrays a complete lack of understanding of who his subscribers are and how they use his product.


Dallas   November 10th, 2009 3:14 am ET

First of all, Google doesn't "take" the articles. It finds relevant ones and links to them with a link of which newspaper it is and then makes you go to the website to view it. Therefore they get exactly the same amount of advertising as if a person just goes to the site. Maybe he should have better writers at Fox News and I would click on his link instead.


Lonny   November 10th, 2009 10:09 am ET

@ Jesse... Rupert's no dummy. So unless you have built a media worth billions keep you comments to yourself. Remember, you get what you pay for. His subscription model may give you data that is worth more than what some web crawler thinks is "important". Also, I don't see anyone here about other subscription models. What about your beloved x-box live, should only people play on the Playstation network because its free?

Also how many times has search engine sent you to a "news" site? Face it... google is for finding products to buy, watching / finding stupid videos, and "alternative" cinema.

They are ripping off his and many others hard earned news. That news cost money too make. You think some half a penny click is gonna earn them anything.

Maybe people here should study some business models. I am sure Rupert and his legions of Harvard MBA's have done so.


a-mused   November 10th, 2009 11:15 am ET

Lonny – read Jeremiah's statement. There's Rupert's *current* typical customer. There isn't anyone with a mastery of the current business model for content delivered electronically. The consumer is now in charge and votes with their dollars at the speed of a click. The old guard's thought process is dead and there is no obvious path forward. Attempts to go backward will lead into obscurity. As has been said, no search engine is "ripping off" anyone's news. It's a two line summary with a link to the actual content – pay content or otherwise. You're confusing news feeds and search engines. If the list you cite is all you think Google is good for, you're going to be eaten for lunch by the next 14 yr. old who can think and type.

Lead, follow, or become lunch. The old days of news are gone and it's time to pick a sane path forward. Ignoring the largest information *DIRECTORY* is not only a ludicrous business decision, but fiscally irresponsible. The shareholders should string him up for even thinking it. By that thinking, they shouldn't be in the phone book or on newsstands either.


kerry   November 10th, 2009 11:41 am ET

Yet another misinformed individual on the difference between linking to content and stealing content. Linking to something is not the same as taking it. Please understand the medium before you make these accusations.


Daniel   November 10th, 2009 12:31 pm ET

Personally I loved working for a company where the VP in charge of Marketing was managing the Google Adwords account for the company and blowing about 75,000 a month in advertising. I took over that project, tripled the existing revenue and lowered the bill to just above 5,000 a month.

He had a Marketing degree from 1976. He *knew* what he was talking about, and there was no way some punk 29 year old knew more about marketing then him.

He took it over again, and I have since left the company. A company that no longer exists.

Rupert Murdoch should understand what happens when you dont adapt to the environment around you.

And if he doesn't, I am sure he can Google it.

Dinosaurs are herd animals. Rupert is just another dinosaur trying to herd in the other dinosaurs to pay for content that is pretty much free anywhere else. All you need to do is Google it. I don't need News Corp to keep me up to date on news.

Also – to the other dinosaur that posted above – X-Box live offers a service not everyone can match. I can't just hop on Google and get X-Box Live for free. Oh sure, I can get thousands of free games on the internet, but I cant play this particular game in the format I paid for if I dont use it (which by the way, I don't.).

Tell me – what is so special about the WSJ that I would pay to read it? Where is its dedicated content about public knowledge that I cant Google and find in a thousand different places?


Brian MacCartney   November 10th, 2009 1:50 pm ET

Sounds good to me. When can you start Mr M? The sooner the better...


Lonny   November 10th, 2009 5:44 pm ET

Thank You Daniel for proving my point. You get what you pay for. If the WSJ or Xbox live delivers something of value, should you not charge for it?
No give it away... that is awesome business sense. Content will always be king.. Always.... By your own admission you say I could but I can't get for free. If the content the his firm makes is of higher quality then people will buy it. But that is yet a different story.

Heck, I can write a news column. Would an advertiser pay to be on it? Probably not... but it would be free. Just because it is a different model doesn't mean it is invalid.

And by the way... the "dinosaur"(me) you speak of... has built websites you read everyday. It has made me millions. If murdoch has content that is worth it... people will buy it. Maybe there is a reason he can laugh all the way to the bank.


ReggieCW   November 10th, 2009 7:16 pm ET

Is this Guy Kiddin!!??
As if we can't get equal quality or better at other sites on the internet.
And far more granular I might add.

WSJ may have been great in its day. but like so many other newspapers
Dying!, Dead! and DONE!

WSJ! The Rosetta Stone of the Finance!


Ruchika Mehta   November 11th, 2009 3:07 am ET

Bravo! Mr. Murdoch, you are spot on. Yes, what you are saying is perfect about advertisers and revenues. I run a 10000 time smaller website and share the same pain.

Cheers


a-mused   November 11th, 2009 8:12 am ET

I call shenanigans on Lonny's implied claim of making millions (implied: of dollars) and built websites we read every day.

You can't possibly have done this /and/ not understand the difference between embedding content (stealing) and linking to content (what search engines do).

Now, if Lonny is referring to making millions of Italian Lira – ok, I'd buy that. ::hands Lonny a couple 500,000 Lira notes:: now go away, kid – ya bother me. [/W.C. Fields]


Matilda Navarra   November 11th, 2009 8:20 am ET

Poor Rupert–he's gotten so old that he's totally out of touch with the world he lives in. This ain't the 50s anymore. The internet is a total paradigm shift, and it looks like ol' Rupert completely missed the bus. Someone really should politely retire the old chap before he becomes completely senile and embarasses himself even more.


Bill   November 11th, 2009 12:36 pm ET

Bah! I hope this model ruins Murdoch. I'll simply continue getting my content from CNN, Time, and Yahoo. The ultimate end result of this plan will simply increase the traffic at free sights. Furthermore, this type of decision shows how out of touch Murdoch is with reality.

Many have tried to compare this move to when cable television first propped up. The difference between Murdoch's move and cable is that when cable began being offered, it was offering something new (think HBO and Cinemax) where as a pay model for news content online will offer nothing new but for a price.

I would also like to add that this move into paying to read online content will not only decrease traffic to Murdoch's online business but will also likely decrease his television ratings and decrease his printed content's subscriptions.


Ben Levy   November 11th, 2009 2:20 pm ET

I'm not a big fan of Murdoch, but I think he has a point. Any web publisher that makes good content knows that aggregators and bloggers often recycle your content and steal clicks and ad revenue from you. This plan sounds flawed, but something major needs to be done to save journalism.


nick   November 11th, 2009 4:14 pm ET

The WSJ is a niche publication. Unlike the seemingly endless news sites rehasing AP bulletins, the WSJ's articles are unique and only have value to those individuals interested in a very specialized and technical brief.
I do agree that payed access is dead for traditional news. There's just too much free text to bother. People are paying, however, for access to investing letters and news. Big money. I pay almost $3000 a year for my online subscriptions and they are well worth it. If Murdoch can offer a little something extra to those subscribers, like an investing letter similar to Agora ( very good by the way ) and then perhaps a "premier" investing letter for much more coin, then I strongly believe he will have yet another media gem for his crown.
Perhaps the biggest one yet and it would be the Wall Street Journal, very fitting for a classic outlet!

Brilliance does beget success.


Samuel   November 12th, 2009 6:47 pm ET

Oh I hope he does make it a pay-only model. That means FOX news wouldn't be the mandatory TV/Streaming Audio/Radio/Home Page in Army facilities any more. No more 24/7 Mandatory FOX for soldiers and defense employees! Yay!


geddy2112   November 12th, 2009 9:34 pm ET

Wouldn't be suprised if his company "outsources" jobs to third world countries....


NATHAN   November 13th, 2009 10:48 am ET

the old fart is trying to figure out how to still make the enormous amounts of money he was grown accustomed too......

oh no, wall st journal and fox new goes away from the internet?!?!

who gives a SH#t! they are not news outlets anyway, just infomercials.

while we're at it, why don't we start making people pay for stamps for email!

lol this guy is a dinosaur! (a very wealthy one)


Smarter than a CEO   November 15th, 2009 12:21 pm ET

Good Idea Rupert!
That way your writers, employees and even your pay for view subscribers can make lots of money by posting your news on their personal or free for all blogs and web sites.


1102Ravel   November 15th, 2009 12:33 pm ET

There must be something wrong on these sites! If the search engines want to remove the sites of News Corporation with search engines. There must be a reason for that!


Ken   November 15th, 2009 11:59 pm ET

Who cares? There are so many sites that give news and information freely that it has made News Corp and others irrelevant. Fade into obscurity in the walled off online world. Look at what happened to AOL!


Ken   November 16th, 2009 12:06 am ET

dy2112. I worked for Dow Jones from New Jersey, (WSJ) for thirty one years and they outsourced the entire IT Department to India. All the DJ Industrials info you see daily comes from India. Rupert does not care about Americans or American jobs. Over 250 good paying jobs went overseas. Consequently these dollars are not being spent in the US. I have gladly joined the lucrative underground economy.


what??   November 16th, 2009 8:50 am ET

Looks like a News Organization Bail-Out will be needed next.


Duh   November 16th, 2009 10:52 am ET

This ranks right up there with Bill Gates once declaring a web browser is a "useless" piece of software.


Franko   November 16th, 2009 3:52 pm ET

Like scientific and professional journals - hide the information
You are just a dumb donkey, easily distracted
Calm your mind - put on the blinders


money   November 16th, 2009 5:15 pm ET

what news can News Corp deliver that others can't .will News Corp hire most of the journalist there is to provide exclusive content.
freedom of information wont let this business model suceed.


Tom Reid   November 17th, 2009 2:32 pm ET

When ever Murdoch's set his goal to become the News paper business owner, was a goal to recreate the news for the masses. He is one of the most intelligent business man interviewed by Charlie Rose (PBS) and could be admired.
The news paper business is in his blood and he well understand that tabloid journalism is what sells. History will show how intent he is to take a company with credibility and responsibility and make it more profitable with a technique called "Tabloid Journalism" and market it.
With the recent purchase of the Wall Street Journal is an indication of what happens with all of his acquisitions. Good respected Journalist leave as a result of their inability to investigate and report as they become more marginalized.

This is critical as a nation and the world were desperate for information about a crisis that unfolded and The Wall Street Journal was amiss as many respected Journalist were marginalized. One of the most important and critical accomplishments that a reporter has is TRUST and brings contacts that are very valuable sources that can be relied on.
Vowing not to change the Editorial of the paper (Charlie Rose-PBS interview) later recognize that Carl Rove appears as a consultant. What would Carl Rove know in comparison to seasoned Journalist that have been on the scene for years.
What has helped the FOX Network for years is the "Jerry Springer Show" What has brought many viewers to FOX News is the same format.

This is the most vulnerable time in our history and any news that is important is attacked as being bias or untrue. Without the "Watchdogs" we are very vulnerable.
Thanks for listening.
tom


Shane   November 17th, 2009 3:52 pm ET

WSJ is a good publication, but sorry, I'm not going to pay for something that I generally can get for free.

And to say that you can't make money off of advertising, I beg to differ. I run a fairly small website but I make some decent money off of it for the time that I put into it.

If I had the talent of WSJ then I'd be pulling in a lot more revenue from the advertising than I currently make on my website. But he says that it isn't profitable, this could be because his writers and himself are being paid more than they are really worth.


Derik   November 17th, 2009 4:45 pm ET

@Brett
While I agree that "our generation will not pay for news," there has been a recent (quiet) renaissance of the 'online periodical,' using subscription-based models. The customers ate B2B, not B2C– the site sells a bulk subscription to, for instance, a bank or brokerage, and then all the employees can read this publication.
Industry-specific "trade" publications have been seeing significant growth w/ this model. While I think the WSJ is a bit too 'general interest' to rely on that approach... it's almost certainly what Murdoch's hoping for.


Army Brat & Defense Contractor   November 18th, 2009 2:41 am ET

@samuel

Perhaps you don't notice in your cloud of fox-angst but the majority of the military and defense contractors actually prefer Fox because they're typically more sympathetic and understanding of the values of those in the military. (many contractors are ex-military) But don't worry, they monitor cnn and other sources as well.


anthony   November 18th, 2009 2:31 pm ET

While I think Rupert is making a huge mistake when it comes to completely taking News Corps sites out of search engines I think he does understand the reason why news sites don't make as much money online as they could offline. It comes down to who controls the monopoly on distribution. At the moment the search engines do and he wants to eliminate the middleman. I however don't think you can eliminate the middle man all together because of how entrenched search engines have become in the world. Yet it will be interesting to see what we can learn from his mistakes.


Tony   November 18th, 2009 2:52 pm ET

LOL, Like the Wall Street Journal has some magic source of news that no one else has access to. Lock it down Rupert! Pull yourself from the world's largest and most popular search engine! That'll make em' come rushing over to give you money for politically slanted news articles and tea leaf generated financial forecast!

Meanwhile in the dimension most of us live in all that will remain of Ruperts site visitors will be hardcore loyalist who probably have the Journal as their home page. They will eventually become annoyed at giving you money for something everyone else is getting for free, then they'll leave. Pure genius. Just proof that the world isn't fair. All these insanely rich people walking around without a lick of common sense. There is no justice.


MAT   November 18th, 2009 5:46 pm ET

Rupert Murdoch is a hack; this anouncement makes me quite happy.


NoOneHome   November 18th, 2009 8:08 pm ET

Am I the only one suspecting that Rupert wants his news sites' content removed from search engines in order to make it significantly more difficult for people to do fact checking against claims made on those sites? Currently its almost shooting fish in a barrel to confirm they made a factually false claim going back an arbitrary amount of time, or hypocrisy check past statements against current ones, with just a few phrases and clicks in a browser. Heck, The Daily Show practically writes their nightly script that way.

My guess is Rupert decided the best way to keep from being caught in another embarassing factual error is not to be more careful with their claims, but instead to make it more difficult to trace down when and where they made the error.


Greg   November 18th, 2009 10:07 pm ET

I never pay anything for any online content, anywhere. The internet is a big place, with the relevant info widely duplicated. So I won't be able to read News Corp for free. So what? I'll go elsewhere, and continue to get the same info for free. Your idea is very silly, Rupert.


radical hippie   November 19th, 2009 8:37 am ET

We are ALL better off for not having to endure his kind of news – Charge away ...


Rick   November 19th, 2009 9:05 am ET

While I don't know if this plan will work, I do know that it is quite easy for the author of the article to say "news should be free" when he doesn't have to pay the hundreds of millions of dollars a year to produce it!


Marc   November 19th, 2009 9:28 am ET

So this guy has more money than God...last time I checked, everyone's poop smells. He ought to lay of snorting powdered $100 bills.


Dave   November 19th, 2009 11:28 am ET

I've only read the first several comments, but a few points come to mind:
1) The Wall Street Journal is a rather singular entity with a strong installed base of subscribers to both online and paper editions (both are, and have always been, for pay). Thus, the for pay model is not only nothing new for them, but has established itself as successful for many years now.
2) They are pushed on subscribers in (often business) school, so their marketing is much more focussed on the business professional, or the aspiring one. This means they're not nearly as concerned about people from the internet. There is no money to be made off of them. They are essentially parasites.
3) If he wants to give (and he is well regarded as a philanthropist), why does it have to be of his company's intellectual capital? Because you (internet reader) want it? Bloomberg does not, he charges because he knows his product (news and information) is vastly superior to what's available for 'free' on the Internet, so he charges for it. This also has the advantage of not be dependent on advertising dollars and the ties which come with them such as having to publish stories which are sensational (such as this site). There are many other similar online business products which are not freely available (Stuff from Reed Elsiver, ThomsonReuters, News Corp, Bloomberg, Consumer Reports, etc.) which are very profitable and it would be suicide to make free to the public.
4) This has nothing to do with 'net neutrality'.
5) The content on the Internet is usually garbage (i.e., the majority is common knowledge, old, biased, etc.). the major exceptions are government and academia.
6) Conspiracy theories claiming it makes it more difficult to 'fact check', well, how is it that those most able and motivated to check those facts(and have the most to lose by using incorrect information) are largely those who they market their site to.
7) FWIW, I've never bought a product from a web advertisement. What I think people will see is that, for the most part, web advertising for many categories will go way down as these companies come to the same conclusion. Instead, there will be more adverts for viagra, etc. Among other solutions, companies will instead turn to products such as google's shopping engine...and some of these sites will be for pay.

Cheers, you bunch of superficial, mass-minded, armchair sheep.🙂


Dave   November 19th, 2009 11:30 am ET

...and just to reiterate, Murdoch is not changing access to the news as it's always been (or for much of the site's life anyhow) for pay. What they're doing is just removing it from search engine results.


Clay   November 19th, 2009 2:28 pm ET

So, does that mean that Fox News will no longer be accessible through search engines, and without paying for the content? Damn, then I'll only have The Onion if I want BS masquerading as real news!


Dave   November 19th, 2009 3:44 pm ET

LOL, now that was funny.


Lonny   November 19th, 2009 5:43 pm ET

Dave hit it on the head. People here whining about "free news" have never run the numbers.

"Everything free, take from rich"... hmmm sounds like communism or socialism at the least.


a-mused   November 20th, 2009 9:42 am ET

Good lord, Lonny. Really. Put down the crack pipe. Yes, Dave is correct, but your assessment of '"Everything free, take from rich" is only from the far wacky end of this discussion.

I don't think any sane comment here is suggesting that this connect is free to create or should be free to consume. However, what is up for debate is the nature of 'paid consumption' and what, if anything, search engines have to do with it.

a) Search engines are simply tools to allow users to find content, they do NOT contain the content themselves. This is the primary place where Murdoch is out in left field within the context of the original article.

b) The internet is a fundamentally different medium than Murdoch and the bulk of other traditional publications have worked in. Within the traditional media business, *nobody* has figured it out.


Dave   November 20th, 2009 5:30 pm ET

a-mused, I respectfully disagree on the nature of search engines. In both their primary and secondary functions they exceed your definition. For example, in the primary they often actually cache the content itself and allow you to retrieve it without going to the actual website. This has the impact of reducing 'clicks' and 'eyeballs' to the site, and therefore revenue generation. On a pay site, it means that the value of the content is compromised, directly by what text the search engine took, and indirectly by what else the reader can infer from the provided information. Thus, a search engine is a very powerful content aggregator in and of itself.

I'd go further and suggest that google 'mines' both the search patterns and users and the content of hosts to whatever advantage they can. So, what Murdoch is saying is, I'm not going to play your game. I'm big enough I can make it without you, and in fact profit from not being with you.

Seems to me he's got the Internet figured out pretty well. In fact, I believe (as I said above) that the advertising supported model in it's current incarnation is doomed, in the same way TV is dying.

People do not like being charged for things...why? Just 'cause. It's strange. It's almost like they feel entitled. If information is supposed to be free, why do schools charge, and the better the school [i.e. the information] the more it costs (or, the more they get from you in other ways, such as Harvard being able to pick the best students and not charging the poorer ones, which is really just an investment in their future alumni). This is like software, movies, music, books, etc. Everyone wants it all for free...except when they make it.🙂

The model will change, and is...encryption will insinuate itself, and DRM will reemerge. The technology will evolve to where there's a balance between ease of use and security. Micropayments will become the norm, and trusted platforms will enable the transition to a global economy where people can download (or use the 'cloud' or whatever) an application and pay for it in some way tied to usage...and so too with data.

You heard it here...well, not first, and it won't be for a while, but again, and it will have to be, or we will strangle ourselves...at least until we come up with a more effective and pervasive motive than profit.


a-mused   November 23rd, 2009 10:09 am ET

Hi Dave,

Thanks for such a thoughtful and considered response. I agree with some of what you've said.

There is one bit of conflicting terminology that bugs me. You say that you disagree with the nature of search engines as I phrased them, but then use the same terminology ("content aggregator") in approximately the same context. Aggregation and disambiguation is what defines a good search engine, otherwise it's difficult to return relevant URLs pointing to content a user is searching for. That still doesn't give away Murdoch's product for free. It merely points someone to it. If I had a free service pointing users to my non-free product, I'd leverage that for all it's worth. It's something for nothing. A freebie. A gimme. Free advertising. etc.

I don't have a good answer when it comes to the advertising model, nor do I have one for making micropayments seamless and painless. Many people smarter than myself have tried and, frankly, it's a minefield – with the mines planted by years of security issues on behalf of companies like Microsoft. Any time you force someone to pull that card out of their wallet, even if the payment is $0.25, they're going to naturally resist. If you try and make it easier with a "wallet" or other software, it'll be rejected based on historic security problems. DRM would need a ground-up rewrite. If I purchase something, I'd darn well better own it or an unlimited use (within the scope of the law) license to it, unrevokable by the seller (unlike the recent Amazon/Kindle fiasco).

I'm not saying I'm right and you're wrong, I'm saying that human psychology and (recent/publicized) internet & computing security issues are tossing a near-vertical curve in front of moving along the path you're proposing – regardless of how mutually beneficial that path could be.

I've been a programmer for 28+ years now. I had my first e-mail account long before most knew about this "internet thing" (1986). I've implemented crypto. I've found problems with crypto implementations (PHP's implementation of Blowfish was horribly broken). I'm a core engineer for a Tier 1 global backbone carrier. I'm not saying I have the answers, but more saying that I've sat in the deep end of this pool for a very long time.


Matt L   November 23rd, 2009 11:00 am ET

"Internet content, especially news, should remain free for everyone."
This is so ignorant I don't know where to begin.

1) The fact that the content is on the Internet doesn't mean it cost nothing to create. There is still a clear, quantifiable cost in the development of Internet content, and publishers need to be able to offset this cost.
2) For publishers of all shapes and sizes a decision has been made as to how many resources to dedicate to each content piece – If, as you say, all Internet content should be 'free', then they have to allocate resources based on ad revenue, which, as RM says, is dismal and unsustainable for the vast majority of sites
3) BUT there are readers who WANT the more costly content, which could come in the form of medical journals, educational resources, or industry publications, and a publisher's ability to charge a recurring fee for this content is precisely what the Internet is all about – the democratization of media.


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