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Rupert Murdoch to remove News Corp sites from Google, institute paywall

There's been talk in journalistic circles for months about News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch's plan to start putting the company's web sites behind a paywall. In other words, you might not be able to access news content from FOX, Sky Network, and dozens of newspapers including The Wall Street Journal, Barron's, Marketwatch, and The Sun, without paying.

The move already strikes some as a bad idea since it could essentially drive potential readers to get their news elsewhere. After all, on the web, information is always just a click away. But theoretically if News Corp can offer readers exclusive content that they won't find anywhere else, loyal readers might be willing to pay up.

OK, so that could work... but Murdoch's latest idea sounds like business suicide: He wants to remove News Corp content from Google's index. In an interview with Sky News Australia, Murdoch said that search engines are essentially stealing News Corp content without paying for it -- and that he plans to remove the corporation's web sites from Google's index.

While Murdoch claims that he doesn't see much value in searchers who often come to web sites without becoming repeat visitors, he's pretty much just plain wrong. Search engines pretty much make the web go round. If Google wasn't the dominant force in search, another company would probably rise to the challenge.

Back when there were only a few hundred web sites worth visiting, it might have been easy to find what you were looking for through old fashioned bookmarks and links. But today users rely heavily on search engines to find information, and web sites rely even more heavily on search engines for traffic and for revenue. Because who's more likely to clickon an ad? Someone who bookmarks your page and comes to it every day and has a pretty good sense of where the ads are on the page and how to ignore them, or someone who was searching for information about cheap automobiles and then came to your auto web site that also happens to have ads for good deals on new and used cars?

Still, Murdoch says he'd rather have fewer people visit his sites, but pay for it. It's possible that Murdoch is bluffing. If not, it should be very interesting to see what happens to News Corp's revenue when the paywall goes up and the sites are removed from Google. If the company winds up making more money than it does today, I'd offer to eat my own hat... you know, if I wore a hat.

You can check out the Sky News interview with Murdoch after the break.

[via The Inquisitr]

Tags: news, news corp, NewsCorp, rupert murdoch, RupertMurdoch, search