Is Internet juggernaut Google no match for Media Baron Von Murdoch? A day after the news mogul blasted Google and its ilk for ‘stealing stories’ and in turn taking away revenue from media organizations, the search engine released a statement that they would allow publishers to set a limit to the number of ‘free’ articles readers can access from news sites.
Murdoch has been the vocal leader in the move to put news content on lockdown. You want to read a story online? Put a dime in the jukebox, pal. No more freebies. The newspaper industry is on life support, and Murdoch’s response is to get the freeloading online customers to pay their fair share.
Google, on the other hand, has made a fortune in the ability to gather and supply customers with content harvested from the free range of the Internet. By providing a service which has become ingrained in daily ritual for millions around the world, Google is attractive to advertisers it its ability to identify customers and target with laser-sharp accuracy.
So why would Google give up some of its free range? Actually, it’s looks like a good business move. Considering Murdoch holds the reins of some of the biggest names in the news industry — and with clout to coerce others to follow — the concession to allow publishers to limit free time on their site still gives the search engine the ability to adapt and cultivate what is out there and free. Hey, if a paper throws up a fence around its content, it’s not Google’s fault. They’ll find some other place for readers to graze.
What’s more baffling, however, is why Murdoch and company haven’t looked at Google and taken a “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” mentality. Why haven’t newspapers realized that the draw is content — unique and verifiable — but the money is made the packaging and delivery to customers? Delivering content an individual wants, when and how he wants it, is far more efficient and doable than it was a decade ago. And, as any business will tell you, customers are willing to pay a premium for something that is convenient and/or time-saving.
But until that revelation occurs, online content remains in this Cold War, and the industry continues to suffer as a result.