The web is all abuzz today with the news that Rupert Murdoch is threatening to block Google from indexing NewsCorp’s content. Jason Calacanis & the Blogging Maverick have both jumped into the fray encouraging Rupe to go for it and give Google the NoIndex Finger.
It’s certainly worth a shot and if he can get a lot of other big publishers to do it with him he might have started a powerful movement, but there’s a reason why the original headline for this post was:
“Rupert Murdoch = Howard Stern Without The Lesbians”.
- Stern effectively noindexed himself from broadcast radio when he signed an exclusive deal with SiriusXM
- This was great for satellite radio listeners – and great for Howard as he got a huge payout – but when was the last time you heard anything about Howard Stern in the media?
- Out of sight = Out of mind. NoIndex = NoVisibility
Now there are plenty of other ways to get found besides Google, and sure Rupert could do some kind of deal with Bing to offer them exclusive access, but I think this only works as long a you have unique, differentiated products, and most news is not that unique.
Sites like Huffington Post & Drudge will quickly figure out a way to use summaries of NewsCorp’s content to attract readers much as they do today. Maybe NewsCorp gets some subscribers downstream as a result, but without the uber-low-cost-visibility that SEO can supply, NewsCorp will inevitably have to up its marketing spend which will make it harder to make their business profitable.
Google is not the newspapers’ disease, it’s just a symptom. The newspaper companies have needed to reinvent themselves for a long time. Maybe something with lesbians might be a good way to go.