Google and News Corp. do need each other

When a media industry insider last week floated the idea of an exclusive deal to list News Corp. content on Microsoft’s Bing search engine, stiffing Google in the process, it drew some predictable responses. Bloggers and technology analysts crowed that Rupert Murdoch, News Corp.’s septuagenarian chief executive, had conclusively proved that he just didn’t understand the internet. Some people in the newspaper business said hooray for Uncle Rupert, standing up for the value of old-fashioned content and telling the geeks with their algorithms to get lost, reports The New York Times. Google, meanwhile, made the reassuring noises it does anytime anyone raises the possibility that its goals, and those of the media companies whose content it indexes, might not be 100 percent aligned. Google said it provided news organizations’ Web sites with 100,000 clicks a minute, every one of which "offers a business opportunity for the publishers to show ads, win loyal readers and sell subscriptions." That is debatable, for the recession has exposed the folly of the idea that huge volumes of online traffic automatically translate into significant new ad revenue.

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