Google News business model: It’s being discussed all over the place, so I feel somewhat after-the-fact making an observation on the Wired.com Media Hack column about the “problem” Google has if it ever tries to monetize its 3-years-old, but still in beta, Google News.
As it turns out, however, Google has a problem that is nearly as complex as its algorithms. It can’t make money from Google News. So while other online publishers like Yahoo News and MSNBC earn tens of millions of dollars in revenue each year and continue to grow, Google News remains in beta mode — three years after it launched — long after most of the bugs have been excised. The reason: The minute Google News runs paid advertising of any sort it could face a torrent of cease-and-desist letters from the legal departments of newspapers, which would argue that “fair use” doesn’t cover lifting headlines and lead paragraphs verbatim from their articles. Other publishers might simply block users originating from Google News, effectively snuffing it out.
While I’ve blogged on the topic of how publishers view Google as a threat, the “Google can’t make money from Google News” argument is lost on me. It makes about as much sense as an argument for why Google can’t make money from its front page because there are no ads there also.
The logic that concludes that ads on Google News will lead publishers to sue Google may be legally valid, but I’d bet Google News delivers a significant percentage of the eyeballs those publishers are monetizing (finally) in other ways, or directly from Google’s AdSense program, causing them to be hard-pressed to bite that hand.
Furthermore, every time I use Google (which is often), that brand is jammed into my face which is saving Google untold tens of millions of what I believe are called “equivalency advertising dollars.”
Those six million unique users a day fondling that Google brand and using Google as the doorway-of-choice into all that news “content” seems like a business model to me. Especially when it helps lock down a billion dollars of advertising being purchased on Google from a gazillion small business owners who don’t read Wired.com.
Suggested next assignment for Media Hack: Why the cable industry can’t make money from C-Span and what they should do about it.
rexblog bumper music: Ain’t That Good News (The Persuasions)
How much is that magazine in the window? New York Dog magazine goes on sale Friday.
Quote from the new magazines’s website:
“Combining biting humor, some of the city’s best writers, great photography and a lavish look most women’s glossies would die for. The New York Dog Magazine is an upscale magazine with attitude – catering to one of the fastest growing markets in the country.”
Okay. I confess. Those who know the lofty position maintained by the canine member of my family could make a convincing argument that I am a part of that fast growing market.
Free Martha update: AP reports that Martha Stewart will be spending her prison time in a federal prison in Alderson, West Virginia, not those facilities speculated earlier that are in Connecticut or Florida. A reminder, before you start thinking West Virginia-hillbillies, remember it’s the home of the Greenbrier. Here’s what AP says about the prison:
The West Virginia prison, nicknamed Camp Cupcake, opened in 1927 as the first federal prison for women. It was the vision of Eleanor Roosevelt and Mabel Walker Willebrandt, the first woman appointed to run federal prisons. The facility is set on a hill in a rural area. There are no metal fences surrounding the camp. Inmates have fixed schedules and must work, but free time can be spent playing volleyball, softball or tennis, or doing aerobics. Billie Holiday, Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, a member of the Manson family who tried to shoot President Ford, and Sara Jane Moore, who also tried to kill Ford, are among the facility’s alumnae.
Limited collector’s edition post: Sony Online Entertainment is working with the publishers of PC Gamer magazine to create Sony Online Entertainment Worlds, a “limited collector’s edition magazine.” Which means I now have a new ambiguous term, “limited collector’s edition magazine,” to use for a custom magazine that apparently (the release appears to “write around” the magazine’s planned frequency) only comes out once (or, as we custom publishing insiders call it, a “one-off”) but has “regular” columns and features.
(Thanks Eddie Rider)
Custom publishing update: Short story (second one) in the NYT about Bergdorf’s “magalog” (which is an old term but seems to be morphing into a catch-phrase that means customer magazine. However, I would argue the newsstand magazines Lucky, Cargo, et al, are more “magalogs” than the Bergdorf magazine, but I digress). For the record, the article makes it sound like the Bergdorf magazine is new, but it’s been around a while.