Corporate Eye

Will News Corp and Microsoft Bing Change the Future of the Internet?

Earlier this month, I published a post about News Corp’s plan to block all of its content from Google searches.  Considering that Google controls more than 60% of online searches, that sounds like a crazy idea.  Now, it looks like News Corp has a different idea that involves partnering with Microsoft to provide News Corp content through Bing.

Crazy?  Or the first step in redefining the Internet?

The debate is on.

According to The New York Times, News Corp. and Microsoft are discussing a deal wherein Microsoft would pay News Corp to exclusively provide its content through Bing searches.  Currently, Bing controls less than 10% of online searches.

News Corp leader Rupert Murdoch has made it no secret that he plans to find a way to monetize his company’s online presence.  Having a search engine pay for exclusivity is just one step I assume we can expect to see from News Corp.  The question is whether or not anyone cares from a consumer perspective.  The world of publishing has changed significantly and offering content exclusively through a single search engine doesn’t sound like the best option for News Corp.  However, if the move does mark the first step in redefining online content distribution, then I think the issues go much deeper than consumers are likely to realize in the short term.

I think it’s safe to say that if News Corp. successfully strikes a deal with Microsoft, other news organizations will want to follow suit.  Afterall, they want to find ways to monetize their online efforts, too.  The challenge for companies like News Corp may be competing against citizen journalists and the social Web where information spreads faster and farther than ever before.  It’s not enough to just provide news anymore.  People can find that anywhere.  Today, news is a commodity.

Brands that are likely to withstand the growth of the social Web and content sharing are the ones that find ways to let their content spread and build relationships with consumers by adding value.  Hiding content through exclusive deals runs counter to the lifeline of the social Web.  As consumers, we can only hope that the openness of the Internet doesn’t change, but from a corporate perspective, it’s a matter of making money or dying.

The question remains — which company will step up to the plate and find the magic ticket to meeting the needs of both sides of this debate?

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as MSNBC.com, BusinessWeek.com, TodayShow.com, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.
 
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