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Who really loses in a News Corp./Bing deal?

I’m not a business person. That’s obvious. But I’ve read recently about how News Corp./Rubert Murdoch are in talks with Microsoft to have the new Bing search engine be its sole way of searching for content from the Wall Street Journal etc. Here’s the most recent Business Week article for a summary.

What’s so silly about this arrangement is I doubt it will hurt Google. But it’s almost certain to be bad for the WSJ.

Here’s my non-MBA-holding thought that seems to be overlooked: Most people who find news through Google are looking not for news from a certain outlet but for news on a certain event/topic. If I knew which outlet I wanted to read already, I would go to that Web site directly. Instead, I’m surveying the field of all or most possible news stories to decide which to glance at and how deeply I want to drink on that topic.

Partnering with a lesser-used search engine is only going to remove News Corp. holdings from the well of stories I might otherwise read. It’s not going to get me to switch to a new search platform just so I can read those stories. Sorry.

I think if, as the business week article mentions, more news companies formed alliances this might be harder to stand my ground. Certainly my survey would be less complete. But it would be kind of like the old XM vs. Sirius debate. (Only a Microsoft/Google merger is, um, not gonna happen.) You want to listen to something on both but you have to pick one or choose both, which would be inefficient. I don’t think I’d search for “explosion & Indiana” in both engines, for example. And I’m pretty well set in my ways using Google. Its dominance in the search marketplace tells me I’m far from alone. Therefore, I think it’d hurt the news providers switching to Bing more than it’d hurt or help either search engine. One bonus, however, is it would help other news outlets rank higher on Google with one of the biggest papers out of the way.

2 Responses to “Who really loses in a News Corp./Bing deal?”

  1. Ben C Says:

    Murdoch didn’t get where he is without playing the game some (okay, a lot). A simple technical solution for Google’s “stealing” of content (which is anything but) has existed for years. That whole bit was just a way to get some publicity (as if News Corp. really needs it?). As for the Bing deal, if that goes through, it is either monumentally stupid, or will end up being proven brilliant based on something that the rest of the world doesn’t see.

  2. David Wescott Says:

    I actually wrote about this very topic last week on my own blog – I’m more of a PR/social media schlub who writes an occasional opinion column than an actual journalist, but I think you have it pegged. I’m not about to use another search engine. If I want to read a particular paper, odds are I have the url bookmarked and already subscribe/pay. If I just want to know “what’s happening today” Google has more than enough content and will for the forseeable future.

    here’s my post if you’re interested…