• http://searchmarketingwisdom.com alanbleiweiss

    Danny,

    Mark has since responded to your comments on his blog. In it, he offered some clarifications. Rather than rehashing them, and rather than offering more to the issue specific to the “news” aspects, which you’ve so successfully countered, I come from the perspective where he talks about mesothelioma, because that’s one industry I provide services to.

    Mark’s response to your take on that issue is that “You dont pay the lawyers. You pay the few actual for profit content sites. In this space there are just a few sites that have made the investment to create legit content.”

    Well, that’s never going to be enough to get enough people who actually have mesothelioma to start using Bing, let alone convert at the law sites. In all the years we’ve maintained our client’s PPC, we’ve never seen any significant volume, let alone conversion, come through ads on those sites. It’s almost all been through AdWords.

    In June, we shifted 20% of our clients budget to Bing. Saw some fair results. Increased the budget to match the Google AdWords budget. And guess what – we never hit even half our spend at Bing. And the increased clicks have been of a consistently lower quality, less conversion ratio than through Google. So we’re shutting down the larger Bing budget and will only leave a nominal spend there.

    I’ve seen similar issues on other client sites in different markets. Bings user base is good for some markets, but I think it would take too much heavy lifting for not enough results for them to even try and change that.

  • http://www.redmudmedia.com Red_Mud_Rookie

    Thanks for the post Danny. It actually had me chuckling out loud, as does the thought of Rupert fretting over a bigger bully in the room. This article ought to be read by all the Google and BBC bashers out there who are forever trying to pull a good thing down for being TOO GOOD.
    I’m not suggesting the BBC or Google are perfect and “not being evil”, but I think your article acts as a good reminder of just how nasty the likes of Microsoft and NewsCorp can be.
    I say bring it on. Let them cannibalize themselves so we can all get on with developing a better and more open network of information that anyone can access, not just those who can afford the subs!

  • http://www.mindshareworld.com Ciarán Norris

    If we take the WSJ out of this and look at your point regarding the fact that much news is far from unique, this other recent accouncement starts to take on even more significance: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/pda/2009/nov/20/bbc-digital-media-seo-headlines-search-engine-optimisation.

    I wonder if any future Conservative governemt will force the BBC to drop SEO so as not to be ‘anti-competitive’? Or force them to stop offering web content outside the UK? I wouldn’t rule it out

  • http://www.seoskeptic.com/ Aaron Bradley

    Between the Josh Cohen quote and “OPEC for News” title I think you’ve really nailed the flaw in Murdoch-esque thinking – namely the fallacy that news can be thought of as an independently definable, and so controllable, commodity. In this context, what people search for on Google is topical information, and they’ll continue to do consume that information in the form of click-throughs even the absence of “news” services appearing in the SERPs.

    Cuban’s talk of cornering the market in “specific categories” borders on the absurd. Even if it were possible to magically separate “news” from “non-news,” categories in search only exist as semantic concepts. Cuban citing mesothelioma is of itself both ironic and telling: solve the problem of news monetization by providing information that will generate high advertising revenue. That doesn’t sound like a paywall to me – it sounds more like the epitome of an open information funding model.

  • http://www.semreportcard.com semreportcard

    In 2005/06 I spoke to the executive leadership at Hearst, Tribune, Times, & Gannett regarding the benefits of optimizing news content for search (while at iCrossing). At the time, if you recall, most were publishing content for around two weeks to 30 days, then archiving the content, accessible only by subscription.

    It was my responsibility to explain the solution and build the case that search traffic, properly monetized, would generate more revenue than subscription-based archive access. The top executive at Tribune Interactive explained to me that archive subscription revenues didn’t “generate enough revenue to pay the lighting bill at their offices.”

    Eventually the paradigm changed within the leadership of major publishers and they began to eliminate archives and optimize content for search–this generates additional ad revenue from the traffic referred by search engines.

    Murdoch acts as if he fundamentally does not understand that search engines referring eyeballs to newspaper sites is a positive that increases ad revenue. I don’t buy it.

    This is nothing more than an opportunity to leverage Microsoft’s desperation to compete with Google for profit. There are ways he could benefit from Microsoft, Google, or both through structured agreements.

    The biggest blow to the newspaper industry was caused by a person named Craig Newmark.

    In reality very few publications are able to survive on a subscription-based model. There are just too many news sources that are willing to compete by providing free access (while generating ad revenue). The opportunity for most newspapers lies within their ability to monetize traffic.