I read a good piece over at Sacrilicious Marketing about how over the past few months there’s been a lot of pushback from news organizations (particularly those owned by NewsCorp) against search engines like Google who are linking and indexing their content, making it easier for regular folks like us to find information that is current and relevant to our search queries – and it got me thinking.
NewsCorp threatened to de-index all of its content from Google and Bing unless they were paid for it. Old Rupert (amongst others) is trying to usher out the era of the free web…. and it looks like it worked. Both Google and Bing paid up (how much, I don’t know).
Major labels like EMI have also removed the music videos of their artists and restricted embedding, moving them to their own site Vevo (with the help of Google) instead of having them just run on YouTube. They want to be paid for the views or move to a platform that has a business model in place that works more in their favor, much like the major TV networks did with HULU. There’s a brilliant piece on this from the band OK Go.
Now the New York Times will be putting up a pay-wall in 2011. The details are sketchy as of yet, but it looks like it will be some kind of metered system.
I don’t know how this is going to play out. It does seem like the era of completely free content may be coming to an end, and that sucks because what makes the web so amazing is that free sharing of content and the speed at which FREE can travel. On the other hand, it IS their content and these companies can do whatever they want with it.
But should larger sites be able to demand payment from search engines to index their content? How does that cost then get passed on to users? Will they also demand payments from ISPs next, since that content gets pushed through their data pipes? Isn’t that just cable with text? I get worried that content will become too restricted and that the byproduct of that is a world where MY internet is different from YOUR internet (I know this does already exist to some degree – just ask China).
What do YOU think? Are you willing to pay for content from some of the major news organizations if you consume it online or will you just go somewhere else? What about the implications for net neutrality? Hit me in the comments, if you please.