Quoted: Walk-in customers? Who needs ’em?

“This is traffic that’s not being monetized to any great degree. It’s akin to a person who drops into town, buys one copy of your newspaper and leaves town again and yet you spend a whole bunch of time building your business around that type of customer. … [Publishers are] focused on attracting the really engaged consumers who come multiple times and stay for lots of minutes every time.”

James Moroney, executive VP of newspaper publisher A.H. Belo, which has joined Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. in considering pulling its content out of Google’s index (see “Is Bing what newspapers have been searching for?“). Additionally, MediaNews Group, owner of this site, says that when it tests new pay walls at its papers in Chico, Calif., and York, Pa., next year, the premium content will be invisible to Google. Search expert Danny Sullivan draws a storefront analogy and says newspaper sites are simply doing a bad job of taking advantage of walk-in traffic. And BoomTown’s Kara Swisher outlines some of the ways Murdoch’s strategy could play out.


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  • stuart

    Twill be interesting if/when real news (“premium” as opposed to what?) no longer is “available” to Google.

    You will recall Google’s rolling defenses to (c) infringement, the primary ones being (a) it doesn’t “copy” within the meaning of fair use and (b) no matter what, it “only” displays enough “snippets” of a story and a link to the real provider, thereby making Google the savior of the provider.

    It’s just like that dang guy Rupert: he doesn’t want to be saved, darn it! (So far, the guy’s been correct in media land…)

  • Tommy

    I seem to remember some theories about how in the digital economy, anything that a company does to reduce the value it delivers is detrimental to its business. Publishers who reduce their exposure to people searching for information or put up pay walls where there were none before don’t seem to be increasing value of what they deliver.

    Instead of improving their efforts at monetizing the eyeballs looking at their pages and maximizing the number of those eyeballs, they think that they can exact a toll for simply getting to their sites. Does News Corp charge TV Guide for listing the shows that are scheduled on its networks? I don’t know, but I doubt it. This is the same thing.

    Journalism is in danger, but search engines are not the cause of the problem. By attacking the one or more search engines instead of fixing the real problems, journalism is going to suffer even more.

  • Ben

    Can someone please explain to me exactly what the publishers are upset about with Google News. As far as I can tell, there are no ads, nothing except the first sentence or a one sentence excerpt of each story, and the link goes directly to the original site. There may well be other aggregation sites that sell ads or provide the full article, but that doesn’t seem to be what Google is doing.

    If they feel that the value to Google is higher than the value to themselves, they are of course free to restrict access in anyway they want (in the same way that any other web site could make the same decision). But I have a hard time understanding where all the vitriol against Google is coming from in this case. Sounds more like grandstanding to me.

  • Isma’il

    Personally, I say let ’em pull their sites from Google’s search. Quite frankly, NoiseCorp ceased to be an actual news organisation a long time ago. They’re simply just a conservative propaganda outlet. I’m looking forward to not having to wade through their BS to get to what I’m looking for.