Saturday, November 14, 2009

A News Corp exclusive deal with Bing makes no sense

Rupert MurdochImage via Wikipedia

As a curio I posted asking whether you've been Mocking Murdoch and it provoked rather more comments than this little blog normally gets.

My point was that News Corp was having a good share price day. I certainly don't think The City or Nasdaq watchers, etc, are digital natives capable of seeing some clever Murdoch search move that we couldn't see. I did it to suggest that some people think the move might work.

One of the suggested success tactics behind dropping News Corp content from Google that I don't think will work is an exclusive deal with Bing. Mr Michael Arrington has written about this in a way which seems to suggest he feels there's some merit to the idea.

In a nutshell; News Corp pulls its papers out of Google, sells exclusive indexing rights to Bing (wanting to beat Google, Bing agrees to this) and then, they argue, people have a reason to use Bing instead of Google.

Except, no. It's not going to work like that. If someone wants to search in general then they'll use a general search engine. If they think Google is the best general search engine then they'll use Google. If they want to search a specific newspaper then they go to that newspaper and use the search functionality there. Most people don't use the site: or source: commands.

If you wanted to search the New York Times and couldn't do it with Google wouldn't you just to straight to the New York Times' site and search there?

I'm not even sure why people would want to search the New York Times. Are they looking for a specific story by a specific journalist? If you're interested in a news story, breaking news or an old reference piece, then wouldn't you just search by subject?

Once the News Corp content is out of Google we'll find many news blogs and others like Mahalo writing about stories they'd never written about before because they know they'll now get the Google traffic related to them.

Search has never been the problem for News Corp. They're wrong to think that it is. The problem has always been Surface. Google News helps surface news stories. News Corp shouldn't worry about the index. They should worry about the discovery.

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