Google, publishers find agreement

Alisa Roth Dec 2, 2009
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Google, publishers find agreement

Alisa Roth Dec 2, 2009
HTML EMBED:
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TEXT OF STORY

Kai Ryssdal: Now for the latest installment in the continuing battle of paid versus unpaid content on the Internet. Late last month, News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch accused Google of making money off News Corp.’s content. Actually, he accused Google of stealing that content and making money off it. Then he threatened to pull the Wall Street Journal and other publications from Google’s search index. Today, Google decided to play nice — sort of. Marketplace’s Alisa Roth reports.


ALISA ROTH: Go on Google News, and you’ll still be able to find stories from all kinds of sources. And you’ll still get a free peek at sites, even ones that normally charge. What’s new is that publishers can now limit how many times a day — five — you can click on their sites without having to register or subscribe.

HEATHER DOUGHERTY: I think that’s a very good kind of peace offering, almost, between Google and the newspapers.

Heather Dougherty is research director at Hitwise. It studies Internet users. She says Google is…

DOUGHERTY: Showing the newspaper industry that they do want to work with them and not just disintermediate them.

Some publishers, most notably Rupert Murdoch, complained Google is taking advantage of their sites by offering paid content for free.
The fight over paid content online has been going on for years now. Companies have been trying to figure out what users will actually pay for. The Wall Street Journal site, which Murdoch’s News Corp. owns, is one of the most successful paid content sites out there.

Greg Harmon is CEO of Belden Interactive, a consulting firm for news providers. He says Google’s new program is yet another test of how a paid content model might work.

GREG HARMON: No one knows, Google doesn’t know. Mr. Murdoch doesn’t know. Nobody knows. And that’s kind of the whole challenge of paid access in general — will it work? Have no idea.

He says it’s all going to shake out over the next year or two. In the meantime, paid sites like the Wall Street Journal could get a few more subscribers.

In New York, I’m Alisa Roth for Marketplace.

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