Rupert, meet Reality. Reality, meet Rupert.

rupert_murdoch_tokyoRupert Murdoch’s rantings are so out of touch that they’re bordering on lunacy, or, at a minimum, stupidity. He’s mad that his old revenue model isn’t working anymore. Maybe, Rupert, that’s because we’re in a new era and people have changed their minds. It has nothing to do with search engines being kleptomaniacs. It’s people doing what they do..finding the easiest path to information. This boat has sailed, dear Rupert. You can jump up and down and stamp your feet, but the only people to really get made at are your readers. They’ve found a new way to get information, and unfortunately, it bypasses your monetization model. You are no longer in control.

Murdoch’s answer is to throw a subscription model in on all his publications and stop Google and other engines from indexing it and “stealing” his precious content. Hmm..let’s see now. The entire world navigates through search. Every day, billions of eyeballs go to Google seeking content. You have content. So what do you do? You lock Google out. And you try to lock customers in by hijacking their wallets and leaving them no choice. Let’s recap: Lock the world out and lock your customers in. Isn’t that what East Germany tried to do with the Berlin Wall? Let me know how that works out for you Rupert.

Murdoch’s not alone in this. Wall Street Journal editor Robert Thomson took Google’s Marissa Mayer to task for encouraging digital promiscuity. Apparently, Google has built a virtual “red light district”, threatening the stability of the sacred union of readers and struggling publishers. Again, maybe it’s because the readers aren’t finding what they’re looking for at “home”.

This denial of a dying industry is nothing new. History has repeated itself over and over again in discontinuous shifts in the marketplace. Yet somehow the behavior of the terminal industries never changes. George Bernard Shaw nailed it a century ago:

” If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience.”

I guess it’s understandable, really. We’re looking at evolution and when the environment shifts, dinosaurs can’t suddenly decide to become gazelles. Somehow, it helps to rant, rave and rail against the unfairness of it all. Oh..and perhaps it’s also beneficial to call the gazelles names like “kleptomaniacs”.


Techdirt has a gritty little post showing all the Murdoch owned sites that “steal” content as an aggregator. So, apparently it’s okay to be parasitic as long as you’re on the right side of the relationship.

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