Yesterday, Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch complained that News Corp.’s content was being “stolen” by search engines like Google and Ask.com, and hinted that as soon as all his publications go behind a pay wall, he would force Google to remove them from their site’s directory.
And even though it makes little to no sense to take links to your pubs off of Google, today the giant corporation is playing along, telling Murdoch he is free to leave whenever he wants.
Google’s statement, from AFP:
“Publishers put their content on the web because they want it to be found, so very few choose not to include their material in Google News and web search. But if they tell us not to include it, we don’t…If publishers want their content to be removed from Google News specifically all they need to do it tell us.”
Google said its news listings service and web searches were a “tremendous source of promotion” for news organizations, sending them “about 100,000 clicks every minute.”
We do see Murdoch’s point though. Although The Wall Street Journal currently exists behind a pay wall, readers have been bypassing it by typing the first sentence or headline of a WSJ article into a search engine and clicking on the link. No one wants to lose those 100,000 page views, so the content that you’d normally have to pay for can be accessed through a search engine in that way. That’s not the same as “stealing” content however, and Google’s response is a challenge issued: If you don’t like our services, feel free to leave at any time.