Come On People, The NewsCorp Announcement Isn’t the End of Google

It was with much brouhaha today Rupert Murdoch explained that he was going to pull NewsCorp from the Google search spiders.  This of course is interesting, but I hardly think that it spells the end of Google and I believe that the impact on NewsCorp will be significantly more negative.The general sense is easy to comprehend, NewsCorp owns the content.  Google is spidering it and sending people there for free.  Obviously, NewsCorp is in business to make money, but wants to make more.  Journalists at the Wall Street Journal aren’t free.So I get it, but I also get that Google drives more traffic than anyone on the planet right now and I’d suspect that it would be better to get that traffic than not, but what do I know.  Since they didn’t ask me, I’ll offer my suggestion – offer 1/2 the article as a teaser and a micropayment for the remainder.  This leads to the micropayment issue not being resolved, but hey, we are a race of short term thinkers.I don’t think that, in Jason Calacanis‘ view point, that this is the most important story of the year. Nor do I believe that this is going to impact Google in the least.  I’m just guessing right now, but looking Compete, I only see 14M monthly unique visitors to the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and the Times.  14 million uniques.  Google gets 145M uniques per month, which is where Jason probably got the 10%.But I’d suggest that people that go to sites that are owned by News Corp, go there directly more often than not, and not through search.  If I want to find out what is going on in San Jose, I don’t go to Google and search for it, I’ve been trained over the past 15 years to go to MercuryNews.  Likewise, if I’m looking for financial information (and want to get really good writing), I don’t search for it, I go to Wall Street Journal.  I’d guess I’m not alone in this.Jason does paint a great picture of this playing out though, with Microsoft’s Bing coming in to serve NewsCorp content as a premium:

So, for a moment, imagine a world where Bing could say in their TV commercials:“Want to search the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today and 3,894 other newspapers and magazine?”“Well, then don’t go to Google because they don’t have them!”“Go to Bing, home of quality content you can trust!”

He also asks 3 pretty good questions about this rejection of Google and a potential partnership with Bing.  Here they are with my answers:a) If 1,000 major publications pursued this strategy, would it work? The vast majority of the 1,000 major publications have completely missed the bus when it comes to online strategy.  I have a really hard time believing that they could pull themselves out of their scotches and build a vision for this type of collusion and then execute on this.  By the time that they are able to even see this happening, 50% of them will either be acquired or will have gone out of business.b) If you would only search the top 1,000 newspapers and magazines on Bing, would you use it? How often? No.  I get my local news from 1 news source (Mercury News) mentioned above and I get my national news from CNN or WSJ, or NYTimes or something with a bit more credibility.  Everything else comes from blogs and citizen journalism.  At some point, the line between blogs and major news outlets will change, but that is a different story.c) What is the percentage chance this will happen (I need a #), and why? Less than 10%.  First off, Rupert Murdoch views this as a competitive advantage.  Other news outlets will see this as a similar strategy, but won’t go the way of NewsCorp and may look for other outlets for their online distribution.  Second, there is no way that the logistics of this could be managed.  Getting 1,000 (or some other large number) organizations to work together is damn near impossible.  Finally, I think that organizations would rather figure out a way to monetize their content more effectively based on Google sending traffic, rather than cut off their noses to spite their face.What do you think? Leave me a comment and tell me if I’m nuts or inline with this thinking.Here is the video to learn more:



Would You Pay To Follow People on Twitter?

Over the weekend, just before my run, I posted this:


Little did I know that it would stir up such a shit storm. Everyone freaked and called me names. One person complimented me by calling me an elitist capitalist. Yay me!The whole idea stemmed from Marshall Kirkpatricks post, How Much Would You Pay For Your Twitter Account? His general feeling was that Twitter was worth at least as much as cable TV. In a relatively short time, I’ve been able to establish relationships with people that have turned into friendships, business deals or both. Commission on the deals that I’ve found on Twitter have been much more than $100 per month, so for me the value of Twitter has exceeded that of my cable / internet bill.My question is could you flip that model around and charge for access to your posts? Before you scoff, think of the type of information that you’d pay for. Not a huge amount of money (initially), but in the range of $1 – $10 per month. Here are some of the suggestions that I got back:

  • Favorite bands – Exclusive access to concert tickets
  • The same could be used by your favorite sports team
  • Industry knowledge – Think Andrew McAfee or Jeremiah Owyang – If you’re in the enterprise / web 2.0 industry
  • Financial information – people pay for $1,500 a month for a Bloomberg terminal all the time. What is Motley Fool charging these days?
  • Information Services like LexisNexis are insanely expensive. Hoovers, OneSource, etc.
  • Celebrity feeds – Not that they need the money, but why not.  If Demi Moore could get a buck a month from 10% of her followers, that makes for a nice little $500K residual
  • Interactions between people – Howard Lindzon fighting with Jason Calacanis would be worth a $1 a month just to hear the crazy shit that they come up with.

So, if people / companies are paying thousands of dollars per month for access to information that is already days, if not weeks old (with maybe the exception of Bloomberg), why wouldn’t people pay for exclusive access to information that is real time?Ah, but the retweet…Yeah, I thought about that.  The more I think about the RT, the more I think that Twitter could get in on this with a commerce engine.  They take a cut, prevent the RT.  Sure, some things will slip through the five hole, but I suspect they could keep it pretty well locked down.So, what do you think? Would you pay to follow people on Twitter?How much and what type of people would be worth it?