Is Murdoch's Move Against Google Really About Twitter And Facebook?
from the no,-not-even-close dept
I’m a big believer in the idea that “earned media” or “earned links” are increasingly important online. That’s the idea that growing numbers of people are relying on news links that are being passed to them via friends on social networks like Twitter and Facebook. It’s about recognizing that more and more often news stories “find people” rather than the other way around. That is, people are increasingly getting links from friends, acquaintances and colleagues, rather than going searching for the news. And those “earned” links or “passed links” are quite valuable because friends are more likely to trust and pay attention to what is personally sent to them, rather than what’s just on the front page of a news site.
However, even given all of that, I’m not sure I buy Mark Cuban’s explanation for Rupert Murdoch and his plan to stop Google from indexing his sites. Cuban says that it’s all about this recognition that such earned links are becoming so important these days, and Murdoch realizes that links from Twitter and Facebook are growing in value, whereas links from Google have little value. To be honest, I’d be surprised if Murdoch had thought through it that carefully, but more to the point, I’m not sure I believe the full premise. Yes, those links are valuable, but they need to start somewhere, and one of the ways they start is from news junkies using aggregators like Google News to find the news and start passing them around. Blocking that starting process makes little sense. On top of that, even when I’m passed a link, I’ll often use Google News or other sites to dig deeper. Taking News Corp. sites out of the picture doesn’t help at all. And, finally, while I keep hearing about sites getting so much more traffic from such passed links these days, I can say with authority that on Techdirt, they’re still a tiny fraction of the traffic we get from Google.
So, yes, directly passed links from friends or colleagues are valuable and important, but it’s a part of a wider ecosystem of news sharing that Google News and other aggregators are most certainly a large part of. Saying that blocking Google News makes sense because of things like Twitter and Facebook ignores how Google News plays into those links even being on Twitter and Facebook.