There has been a lot of talk lately about Rupert Murdoch’s move to remove News Corp publications from the Google index. Much of the online community is calling him a crazed fool, but what if he is on to something and paving the way for others to follow suit on way or another.
In fact, for one of his publications, the Wall Street Journal, striking an exclusive search deal with Bing would not be a bad idea. According to Compete.com, WSJ.com receives the majority of its traffic from Bing already, roughly 18.75 percent, and another 6.3 percent from Yahoo which Microsoft will soon take over anyway. Google only provides about 11.5 percent of the total traffic going to WSJ.com
With the combined traffic from Bing and Yahoo, striking a $50 million search deal with Microsoft and only forfeiting about 11 percent of its traffic may not be such a bad idea after all. In fact Hitwise.com, which estimates that Google delivers about 26 percent of WSJ.com’s traffic, says that the majority of search terms that are driving traffic to WSJ.com through Google are navigation searches (i.e. The Wall Street Journal, WSJ.com, WSJ) and those searches should stay intact even if News Corp blocks Google.
With Murdoch’s plan looking like it will be very profitable and successful, other publishers are thinking about the idea of blocking Google as well. Could this be the beginning of the next era of search wars? We have always heard about news outlets getting exclusive interviews and what not, but what about exclusive indexing by search engines?
If exclusive indexing rights catches on search engines might seem more like television networks in the near future. Much like how people choose their favorite channels based on the programs it shows, people will choose their search engines based on the sites that it indexes. Engines will be fighting over sites like WSJ.com and Bloomberg.com so they can display their exclusive content.
However, with the number of big players in search is quickly coming down to two with Bing taking over Yahoo, and exclusive indexing is against Google’s mission of providing people with the most relevant content available. A few major sites may jump ship to Bing and ask to be removed from Google’s index, but people today are smart enough to find what they want anyway and Google still controls over 60 percent of all search engine traffic on the web. Google has already stated that they have no problem with removing WSJ.com from their index, or any other News Corp site for that matter.
WSJ.com is a rare anomaly on the web where it receives more traffic from Bing than Google, and if Google loses this small percentage of sites from its index it should have very little effect on its traffic anyway.
However, Bing is making a lot of noise in the search engine world an looking to have a 20 percent market share of internet search, providing that the Yahoo deal goes through, and it shows no signs of losing popularity. The next age of search may have just begun, are you ready?
Search Wars: The Fight for Exlusive Indexing by The Web Squad is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.