Rupert Murdoch Admits Defeat: Now Wants London Times To Appear In Search Results

from the nobody-predicted-that dept

Remember back in 2009, when Techdirt reported that Rupert Murdoch hated Google so much he had decided to block the search engine from indexing his titles, even though this would inevitably cut down their visibility and online traffic? He obviously thought that he would put this upstart technology in its place, showing that mighty media moguls don't need this Internet thing in order to flourish just like they did 50 years ago. According to this story in paidContent, it seems that strategy hasn't worked out too well:

In the next few weeks, paidContent understands The Times' website will begin showing articles' first two sentences to search engines, in a marketing exercise designed to attract new subscribers.

The limited free preview does not alter News International's belief that it should continue charging for The Times (visitors will be invited to subscribe to read full articles). But it does suggest that, having signed up 130,751 digital subscribers since mid-2010, the publisher is having to look in new places to maintain customer acquisition momentum.
This shows that Murdoch has finally realized that being left out of Google is the online equivalent of not being listed in telephone directories in earlier times. It also suggests that attempts to gain subscribers for the online edition in other ways are not going so swimmingly, which must raise questions over the long-term viability of the paywalled approach for this title.

Murdoch's move comes at an interesting time for the newspaper industry in Germany. As we discussed recently, a law currently being considered there would require snippets to be licensed and paid for on the basis that search engines are gaining a benefit from even these short extracts. By allowing his title to be indexed and short excerpts to be displayed for free, Murdoch is essentially admitting that the marketing value of snippets to him outweighs any nominal loss due to Google's supposed free-riding -- as Techdirt suggested -- thus undermining the supposed justification for the German proposal.

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Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Sep 26th, 2012 @ 8:42pm

    I use Google News a lot. Hitting a paywall or registration to read the rest of the article annoys me. I usually just hit the back button and look for "more sources." I wish that Google would somehow devalue sites that block access to the actual story.

    I do find myself clicking on a lot of ads in news sites that I visit. If I find a news story interesting, I guess it is reasonable that they would have ads that interest me.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Nelson, Sep 26th, 2012 @ 9:07pm

    Ha-ha

     

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  3.  
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    pyro, Sep 26th, 2012 @ 9:14pm

    The what? The Times? Who is that in a sea of billions of websites?

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2012 @ 9:17pm

    Here's the thing they are going to get more by being listed. Having a paywall hurts them because there's going to be other news sites with the same information and no cost to the consumer.

     

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  5.  
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    JustSomeGuy, Sep 26th, 2012 @ 9:42pm

    Vengeance

    I know Google will probably do the right thing and allow Murdoch's stuff to enter the search results, but there's a small but incredibly vindictive part of me that wants to see Google's response as "Naff off, we're ignoring you for the next year to teach you moguls that you can't stuff us around!". That would be truly cool.

     

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  6.  
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    Nigel (profile), Sep 26th, 2012 @ 10:21pm

    Hmph..

    I have never bothered to look into how Google deals with stuff behind a paywall but it seems to me that merely revealing a title and a snippet is not really going to do much for SE visibility. I could be wrong though.

    One thing I can be fairly certain of is that folks are going to become pretty frustrated once they realize they can't actually read said article.

    Nigel

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2012 @ 10:23pm

    Crooks!

    They should lock up Murdoch, his son and Rebekah Brooks and throw the damn key away! A bunch of bloody crooks.

     

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  8.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Sep 26th, 2012 @ 10:33pm

    Re: Vengeance

    What would be really funny would be listening to the screams of anguish if the german law actually gets passed, and instead of paying the newspapers to advertise for them, as they are obviously hoping will happen, google just dropped the links/excerpts altogether.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2012 @ 11:39pm

    So wait... Murdoch is experimenting to find the best way, and he is "admitting defeat", where as Trent Reznor signs a record label, and he's doing it right?

    Another wonky day in Techdirt land!

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2012 @ 11:55pm

    Re:

    Sure, why don't you point me to the experiment where Trent Reznor said Google should pay him millions of pounds for nothing?

    I'll be waiting patiently, idiot.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2012 @ 11:56pm

    I can't imagine that will be enough Rupert: I'm not privy to Google's search algorithm, but I'm guessing that results two sentences long with the rest hidden behind a paywall will steadily move downwards...

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2012 @ 11:59pm

    Re: Re:

    Umm, did you not read the story? They aren't giving the content to Google, they will let Googlebot see 2 sentences.

    They aren't giving their content away for free. Google is still welcome to pay if they want full access and full use.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 27th, 2012 @ 12:29am

    Re:

    I do the same. I hate hitting paywalls and registration walls so much that I use Google's settings feature to immediately block any more stories from those news sources.

    It's great for me because I hardly ever hit those walls anymore, but I wouldn't know if a news source later decides to remove their wall. If Google does happen to send me to an article from The Times while they still have a paywall up, they could end up getting irrecoverably blocked by me personally.

     

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  14.  
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    JMT (profile), Sep 27th, 2012 @ 1:39am

    Re:

    "Murdoch is experimenting to find the best way, and he is "admitting defeat"..."

    He's not experimenting. He said Google was ripping him off and blocked them. It's obvious he's realised he was actually benefitting from Google, and is trying to get some of that free benefit back.

    "...where as Trent Reznor signs a record label, and he's doing it right?"

    His non-label period was very successful, and now he's obviously been offered a deal he's happy with. You can be sure it's much better than the deals that drove him away from labels in the first place.

    "Another wonky day in Techdirt land!"

    This stuff is not hard to understand. It must just be you...

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 27th, 2012 @ 1:49am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Site that don't want to be found can rest in piece.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 27th, 2012 @ 1:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    (typo intentional)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    PaulT (profile), Sep 27th, 2012 @ 2:12am

    Re:

    "Another wonky day in Techdirt land!"

    Yes, yet another day where an AC tries to find false equivalence between two stories and attack the site for contradictions that don't exist. If you don't see the difference, you really should tone down your rabid obsession with attacking this site and actually read the articles.

     

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  18.  
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    PaulT (profile), Sep 27th, 2012 @ 2:25am

    Re: Re:

    "His non-label period was very successful, and now he's obviously been offered a deal he's happy with."

    No, no, no... don't you see? There's no way the deals he is being offered now are better or different than the deals he criticised and rebelled against a decade ago! These are the same people and the same deals so he's a hypocrite! There's no other explanation!

    Or something... These people aren't capable of understanding subtle arguments.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Some Guy, Sep 27th, 2012 @ 3:02am

    Re: Re: Vengeance

    Similar to the spat between Google and the UK collection society PRS for Music:

    - At the expiry of their existing licence deal, PRS wanted to up the rates it charged Google for music videos played on YouTube.

    - Google said "no thank you", and pulled the relevant videos.

    - PRS shrieked blue murder, as did certain artists.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 27th, 2012 @ 3:22am

    Re: Re:

    "His non-label period was very successful, and now he's obviously been offered a deal he's happy with. You can be sure it's much better than the deals that drove him away from labels in the first place."

    Actually, considering Trent was running his own label... it would seem odd!

     

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  21.  
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    Old Fool (profile), Sep 27th, 2012 @ 3:47am

    Enter your zip code here

    It's a murdoch paper - it will not have 'news' in it - just sensational bullshit. I live in England and I read 'The News of the World' once.... Never again.
    He also owns 'The Sun' nobody I know would dare bring out a copy of that in my presence unless the want a tirade of abuse about their lack of brain.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Kurata, Sep 27th, 2012 @ 4:07am

    From my personal experience in the French google news, I sometimes hit a paywall, but it's never from the same sources. Sometimes that source has free news, while at other times it has some articles that requires a subscription. What stays true to most of them at least, is that if they do have a paywall, it's usually linked to a physical subscription or so I remember.
    I see this as a way to put value into your physical subscription. I still doubt, though, that putting only a partial paywall is a good move.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Sep 27th, 2012 @ 4:47am

    Re:

    "Murdoch is experimenting to find the best way ... "


    It's funny that you don't even see it.

    Murdock is experimenting but indie musicians are wasting their time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 27th, 2012 @ 5:31am

    Murdoch's move comes at an interesting time for the newspaper industry in Germany. As we discussed recently, a law currently being considered there would require snippets to be licensed and paid for on the basis that search engines are gaining a benefit from even these short extracts. By allowing his title to be indexed and short excerpts to be displayed for free, Murdoch is essentially admitting that the marketing value of snippets to him outweighs any nominal loss due to Google's supposed free-riding -- as Techdirt suggested -- thus undermining the supposed justification for the German proposal.

    Nah, I imagine he's just setting his hooks in so that, when the German proposal becomes law and spreads to the rest of Europe, he can get his piece of the internet tax pie.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 27th, 2012 @ 5:43am

    No Rupert No! Stay the course!

    How will you ever be trusted to be right about anything else relating to the Internet in the future if you change the course now!

    Keep on your current course, and the money you lose be damn! You'll show those free loaders on the Internet who's the boss!

    Who cares if staying the course could end up bankrupting your whole news media empire, including Fox News and British news media outlets that hack into people's phones! Certainly not people like me!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
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    gorehound (profile), Sep 27th, 2012 @ 6:26am

    Re: Vengeance

    Yes I would love to see google just ignore he exists.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 27th, 2012 @ 6:51am

    Re: Hmph..

    turn it to 11 mr. tufnel

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 27th, 2012 @ 7:11am

    Great, now I'll have to manually filer out the Times, along with the rest of the scam sites.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 27th, 2012 @ 4:34pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Running your own label involves...running your own label.

    The (supposed) point of labels is that they take care of management duties that you don't want to do yourself.

    So basically New Label > Do It Yourself > Old Label.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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