Murdoch Unhappy With Google

Rupert Murdoch is alleged to have slammed Google for linking to his websites and not paying him for the privilege

A Newsweek story out a couple of weeks ago has media baron Rupert Murdoch allegedly decrying Google for linking punters to content from his media properties for free and not paying for it.

Murdoch is a vocal supporter of making people pay for content, and believes this model is the only sustainable one for media looking to the future. Unfortunately for him, the only way it could really work is if all media organisations that have websites make people pay for content, and they sue people who link to their stories (although, has he never heard of robot.txt and the ‘disallow’ function?). Because unless everybody is on board – and we mean EVERYBODY – then it is a futile exercise, because if you can get content free from somewhere on the internet, why pay at all?

Murdoch seems to be looking at it as a ‘glass half empty’ scenario. Shouldn’t he be looking at the model and thanking Google for sending traffic his way, then his sales staff can charge advertising rates based on click throughs?

It’s a difficult one because some who have tried both find flaws in both – people don’t like paying, and how do you quantify quality of reach to an advertiser? Unique users? Number of clicks on a page? Time spent on a page? All three?

Murdoch may be pushing the “pay for play” barrow, but whether it will work, he’ll know soon enough when the stats are in on how well his recently acquired Wall St Journal is doing as it charges consumers for content.

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