Mark Cuban Tells Newspapers To Pull Out Of Google… As He Invests In Competitors?

from the hypocrisy-in-action dept

Over the last few months my post about all the aggregator sites owned by Rupert Murdoch as he was complaining about aggregators “stealing” his traffic has received a fair bit of attention. Yet it hasn’t stopped similar hypocrisy from Murdoch and others. This week, Mark Cuban got a ton of attention for his silly claims that Google is a vampire and media publications should all opt-out. Cuban is a smart guy and has to know that this is so wrong that it’s laughable, leading some people to wonder if he’s pulling some sort of trick on these media publications.

Danny Sullivan comes to the rescue by pointing out that while Cuban is telling sites that Google traffic is worthless, he’s invested in Mahalo, an aggregator site that lives off of Google traffic and still tries to do some similar aggregation efforts, such as IceRocket.com (which is a direct competitor to Google News… though no one uses it). Meanwhile, an old interview dug up by Michael Arrington has Cuban talking about how much he’d like to invest in TechMeme — a similar aggregator. Clearly, Cuban is playing some sort of trick on media companies.

The thing that I can’t figure out is what sort of trick he’s playing. He’s simply wrong about Google traffic being worth nothing. While much of Google traffic might not convert to regular users, enough of them do to matter. But, even more to the point, we’ve found that the ads shown on archive articles (i.e., those found via Google searches) tend to get a much higher number of clicks than those shown on front page articles. And it’s pretty obvious why once you think about it. People coming from Google are searching for something — and so they’ll look around your whole page, meaning that they don’t suffer from the same sort of ad blindness that regular visitors do.

Sullivan posits a conspiracy theory that even he doesn’t believe in, that by getting news publishers to pull out of Google News it could help Cuban’s investments, but even he admits that seems pretty far-fetched. So is Cuban just really really confused or is he playing at some game?

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Companies: google, icerocket, mahalo, techmeme

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Comments on “Mark Cuban Tells Newspapers To Pull Out Of Google… As He Invests In Competitors?”

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18 Comments
The Anti-Mike (profile) says:

Raw traffic isn’t anywhere near as good as filtered traffic. A user who searched for “Tom Cruise Dead” is good for your typical Tom cruise rumor story, but he isn’t worth much yet. However, if you get him to click on “scientology secrets” on the Tom Cruise story page, then you have a nice filtered click that is of much higher value.

Taking raw Google traffic to an aggregator and then filtering it means less direct traffic to the content sites, but those people getting there are better filtered. Filter out the more useless bandwidth wasters (countries you don’t want to deal with), offer the up some general redirections besides the stories, and filter it down.

Controlling the aggregator means that you could in theory limit the stories that are exposed to the user based on their Geo location, so Rhodes Island users might only see newspapers and TV stations in their areas, plus some national news sources, as opposed to getting 800 results and ending up clicking over to the Las Vegas Sun for news.

An aggregator that is better for the news companies involved might be a better result than Google.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Tom Cruise Dead” is that reference to that horrible vampire movie he did???

“scientology secrets” I thought L. Ron Hubbard took those to his grave in 1986 along with the knowledge of how to take over from our alien overlords.

“Controlling the aggregator means that you could in theory limit the stories that are exposed to the user based on their Geo location” I have this thing called a sieve its really cool it allows for you to put stuff in it. The problem is that is leaks alot.

“so Rhodes Island users might only see newspapers and TV stations in their areas” Yeah I like where I live, I am going to tell google but I wont tell you!!

“as opposed to getting 800 results and ending up clicking over to the Las Vegas Sun for news” The los Vegas Sun is really hot!!

posting random crap to TAM’s Trolling …. hey anyone like monty python Videos?

Sneeje (profile) says:

Re: Re:

And that also means that in theory you can limit the stories that are exposed to the user for many reasons that don’t benefit the consumer… such as because those sites won’t pay, they make editorial decisions that they don’t like the politics, etc.

In your scenario, the end user loses because they have less open access to content and some elite group gets to decide what they should see.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Regular Reader ... aka ... paranoia 101 ...

Do you want to know why google directed you here ???

Its simple, they are watching you. They know your habits, they know where you go online, you have been profiled and are being used. They know you will be a voice in the fight for a free internet …. Big Ole GRIN

All kidding aside I found techdirt the same way … it makes me wonder 😉

Michael (user link) says:

Ad blindness

Regarding…

People coming from Google are searching for something — and so they’ll look around your whole page, meaning that they don’t suffer from the same sort of ad blindness that regular visitors do.

How can this be so? People think about a specific term, and then search for that particular term. They then find a headline, which they embed in memory, and then click through for the content.

Are you suggesting they then pan the whole page, or are they fixated on the headline?

I’m thinking the latter, which means ultimate ad blindness.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Ad blindness

How can this be so? People think about a specific term, and then search for that particular term. They then find a headline, which they embed in memory, and then click through for the content. Are you suggesting they then pan the whole page, or are they fixated on the headline? I’m thinking the latter, which means ultimate ad blindness.

In our experience this is simply not so. The clickthrough rate on archived articles tends to be about 5x the clickthrough rate on current articles, suggesting that people who find the archived articles via search tend to be much more likely to click on an ad. So it looks like they do a scan of the whole page.

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

Mahalo = worthless

I have to say that Mahalo must be using search engine optimization. There are a lot of things I search for that their page will show up within the first two pages of my search. However, I find the site to be completely worthless. They never actually have the info I am looking for, and it doesn’t link to sources of info where I can find what I am looking for. They may have improved over the past few months but I always just click the X and remove it from my results.
Absolutely worthless.

rockman says:

adds?

running no script flash block ad block ghostery refconrol and request policy and a modified host file. how does anyone see a link to click? are you guys just talking about old ladies running ie6? really, who looks at adds.and by the way this site has adds? i didn’t know- what are they for anyway, bank adds vacation adds, where to buy cd’s online.

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