News Corp throws down the Google gauntlet
The war of words between the news media industry and Google makes for a great spectacle, and this week did not disappoint.
According to a report in the Silicon Alley Insider blog, Associated Press CEO Tom Curley is meeting with Google on Friday to press for the creation of a “news registry.” Here’s SAI on the AP’s move:
It hopes such a registry would propel its content to a higher rank in general search than the blogs that the news agency accuses of lifting its content.
Curley said the AP — which intends to form landing pages and a social-media desk, among other survival strategies — is “getting paid for about 12% of our content on the web.”
It was not clear what information SAI was basing its report of the AP-Google meeting on – the blog post didn’t specify whether one of its bloggers had spoken to Curley directly, or whether it was picking-up Curley’s comments from another report; nor did it have links to any other articles on the subject.
A Google representative emailed a statement that said the company regularly meets with its publishing partners to discuss a variety of initiatives. “We’re not going to comment on the specifics of any particular conversation at this time.”
One would hope Google is also having conversations with News Corp, which is ratcheting up the rhetoric of late.
Earlier this week, News Corp Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch told his own Sky News Australia in an interview that he was considering blocking Google from indexing its Web sites once the company begins charging people to read its articles on the Web.
On Friday, News Corp chief digital officer Jonathan Miller expanded on Rupert’s anti-Google gambit and stuck a timeline on the move, according to a report in Telegraph:
When asked how long it would be before Mr Murdoch took the step to block Google, which every media company relies upon to send them high levels of web traffic, Mr Miller said it would be soon – “months and quarters – not weeks”.
The story later quotes Miller dismissing the benefits that come from have its content accessible through Google:
“The traffic which comes in from Google brings a consumer who more often than not read one article and then leaves the site. That is the least valuable of traffic to us… the economic impact [of not having content indexed by Google] is not as great as you might think. You can survive without it.”
There’s been plenty of sabre-rattling from the news media when it comes to Google in the past. If News Corp doesn’t follow-through with its threat in the next couple of months, will it have proven itself to have no real clout in this fight?