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Will Microsoft pay publishers to boycott Google News?
FINANCIAL TIMES story has details
signor_john




msg:4030270
 7:03 pm on Nov 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

According to a story [ft.com] in the FINANCIAL TIMES, Microsoft and News Corp. are talking about a deal where Microsoft would pay Rupbrt Murdoch's News Corp. to opt out of Google News. The story adds that the same deal could be offered to other publishers, with the goal being a "direct attack on Google's margins."

Is this ethical? Is it even legal? To me, it sounds like Budweiser going into a bar and telling the owner, "We'll pay you not to serve Miller." (As opposed "We'll pay you to serve Bud in addition to Miller.") Considering Microsoft's past problems on the antitrust and restraint-of-trade front, is it a smart move or a dumb one?

 

willybfriendly




msg:4030276
 7:10 pm on Nov 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Perhaps poorly framed?

How about, "If we are going to pay you to access this content, then you will need to insure that it is not being indexed for free by our competitors."

Put that way, it sounds not only legal, but it makes perfectly good sense from a business perspective.

And, if M$ can negotiate exclusive rights to the content, well, that would seem compatible with copyright law.

Seems to me that on the one hand you challenge people to block G's bots if they dare, but on the other argue that doing so is anti-competitive. In fact, I seem to recollect you using the phrase "having one's cake and eating it too..."

signor_john




msg:4030439
 10:28 pm on Nov 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Seems to me that on the one hand you challenge people to block G's bots if they dare, but on the other argue that doing so is anti-competitive.

Not at all. What's anti-competitive is a search engine's offering to pay publishers if they'll keep other search engines from indexing their content. Can you imagine the hue and cry on these forums if Google made such an offer to News Corp. and other big-time publishers?

ken_b




msg:4030443
 10:37 pm on Nov 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Is it even legal?

Negotiating exclusive rights to publish is nothing new. Why would this be any different?

willybfriendly




msg:4030454
 10:49 pm on Nov 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

What's anti-competitive is a search engine's offering to pay publishers if they'll keep other search engines from indexing their content.

Again, you are mis-framing the issue. As ken_b and I have both pointed out, paying for exclusive rights is neither new or anti-competitive. It is consistent with virtually all existing copyright law.

If anything, Google's treatment of copyrighted material and fair use is the anomaly in a long history of intellectual property rights.

signor_john




msg:4030525
 1:53 am on Nov 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

As ken_b and I have both pointed out, paying for exclusive rights is neither new or anti-competitive.

But they aren't talking about "paying for exclusive rights." Read the article.

tangor




msg:4030572
 2:48 am on Nov 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

Not reading that article since the site wants my info... but MANY OTHER SITES reveal what as been suggested: Murdock is looking to monetize his biz, is looking for other publishers to follow, and is in talks with Bing since he intends to sever links with Google.

Exclusive publishing rights is the keystone of copyright so, IMNSHO, this looks like traditional practice recognized world-wide... which Google historically eschews. Google would rather do "not-quite-evil but on the bleeding edge until-somebody-sues so we can make-a-deal".

willybfriendly




msg:4030657
 6:16 am on Nov 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

Read which article. By now there are hundreds of them.

Many actually use the word "exclusive".

Reuters reports:

Murdoch is considering removing News Corp's news from Google's Web search results, and is talking to Microsoft Corp about listing the stories with its Bing search engine instead. Microsoft would pay for the privilege[/b], sources have told Reuters, but it was not clear how much.

If Murdoch pulled this off, he will likely be followed by other newspaper publishers...

That sounds like paying for exclusive rights to me.

From the Financial Times

one website publisher approached by Microsoft said that the plan puts enormous value on content if search engines are prepared to pay us to index with them.

If that is not exclusive rights, then what might it be?

The headline at the Seattle Post Intelligencer says it best perhaps - "Microsoft, publishers in talks for Bing news exclusivity"

signor_john




msg:4030907
 3:22 pm on Nov 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

Willy, you miss the point. As John Dvorak asked in his column [pcmag.com] today at PCMag.com:

"this smacks of restraint of trade. After all, how is this different someone paying people in the mall not to shop at Macy's? "Here's $10. Do not, and I mean do not shop at Macy's. Capiche?" Is that all that different from, "here's $10,000, do not allow Google to index you?"

It isn't about licensing content, it's about restraining search. Will it survive an antitrust investigation, assuming that it ever gets that far? We'll see.

In any case, the more important question is whether Rupert Murdoch can use his proposed collusion with Microsoft to edge the Internet toward a cable-TV model. Getting a search engine to pay carriage fees for the right to index content is obviously a step (or perhaps I should say an "attempted step") in that direction. I doubt if it will succeed for a number of reasons (among them, the fact that--with a handful of exceptions--Mr. Murdoch's news properties are decidedly second-string). The proposed deal certainly raises questions about Microsoft's professed commitment to "net neutrality."

willybfriendly




msg:4030941
 4:26 pm on Nov 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

No, I fear you miss the point.

The discussions were initiated by Murdoch, the person owning the copyright. The sale of rights to use of intellectual property can hardly be considered "collusion".

It would appear that Google's erosion/abuse of intellectual property rights has become so pervasive in people's thoughts that they can no longer think clearly.

I have had several articles published in various periodicals over the years. Contrary to your position on the matter, never once has a competing periodical made claims that I was in collusion with their competitors, nor have I been accused of anti-competitive practices when I shopped an article around for the best price.

If the goods are mine, I am free to sell them to whom I wish for whatever price I can negotiate.

Sorry, but your steadfast loyalty to Google is really straining your usual sound logic on this one.

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