Rupert Murdoch is pursuing his plans to charge for his news content, and will turn his back on Google's news spiders and other aggregation sites.
Typically bullish, Murdoch sees no need to be associated with Google and has even said that he will block its spiders from accessing his sites as he moves into charging readers for his content.
"The people who simply just pick up everything and run with it steal our stories, we say they steal our stories - they just take them," he explained. "That's Google, that's Microsoft, that's Ask.com, a whole lot of people ... they shouldn't have had it free all the time, and I think we've been asleep. I think we will [block Google], but that's when we start charging."
Not shirking from controversy he even called other news sites 'thieves', adding that they would be in for a shock when he removed their ability to read and re-publish his stories for free. Citing the BBC he added, "We're better, they'll have to spend a lot more money on reporters when they can't steal from our newspapers."
This may sound like King Canute-level madness and ill-advised determination, but there is method behind News Corp plans to change the way the internet works.
Murdoch thinks that his readers will be happy to pay for his content, and it is only these readers that he is interested in. With only a finite amount of advertising to go round, Murdoch is happy to rely on these micropayments to keep his news sites ticking over. The WSJ online already offers a scaled down version or paid for use; in this case you have to be a subscriber, and others are set to follow.
That's all well and good, but it doesn't leave much room for growth, particularly when you remember that it is unlikely that web users will even be able to discover the sites in the first place. Banning Google's spiders from accessing his sites, will also ban possible readers, and with competition everywhere this could prove to be very dangerous.
Plans have already been delayed but Murdoch hasn't changed his mind. The question is, will he change the nature of the internet? So far bosses at Google are not concerned. Speaking last month to a broadcasting conference, Eric Schmidt, Google chief exec, said that the paid for model had not proved itself because of the available free alternatives.
"So my guess is for niche and specialist markets ... it will be possible to do it but I think it is unlikely that you will be able to do it for all news," he added.
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