Monday, December 7, 2009

Eventually Nothing Free On The Web

The web has been a valuable tool. Need information for a school project, search the web for free. The result - the end of Encyclopedia sales. Want to listen to music or purchase an album - result - the closing of music stores like Tower Records and HMV. And seeking articles on news and current events or perhaps just a little gossip - result - the collapse of magazines and newspapers.

Well the last group is fighting back. "Consumers will soon have to start paying for news and entertainment they have become used to getting for free on the Web as media firms face the reality that advertising can no longer foot the bill." And Google, with a need to keep their suppliers happy, may help. "Web search leader Google has promised publishers ways of earning advertising revenue alongside news stories, but most big news organizations scoff at the idea that such ads are enough to fund the production of quality journalism." Is it enough?

Search is a funny game and Google, while the current leader, isn't the only game in town. Will Bing, Yahoo, and others follow or will they revolt and find alternative ways to give consumers the search results they need. Or will we eventually move down that slippery slope and find ourselves getting only a couple of lines from an article before being force to "subscribe" in order to see the rest of the story. It seems to be working for The Wall Street Journal" and Murdoch may force this move on its other media properties. Or be proven a genius and others will follow.