The News-Google War (so-named by me because of the confusion of the phrase Google-News), is a well known battle between the big newspaper conglomerates and Google. The strangeness of the battle lies in the fact that the News conglomerates are both the customers and enemies of Google, a position that you would think would give them a lot of clout. And so they were hoping…but it is turning out that Google is not to be halted in its march towards Monopoly, and not only have they fought against some of their biggest sponsors once – now they are doing it again.
The reasons behind the war are many. The first battle, The Battle of Content, (emphasis on first syllable), was waged mainly in the US, by the big newspapers who were feeling that their news was being devalued, and plagiarised, due to dissemination from listing in Google. The rub for them was, did they want to block Google from their site, and thus lose millions of visits? Obviously they didn’t.
With newspapers across America being shut down, due to not being financially viable, it quickly became apparent that the business model of the newspapers was becoming obsolete, and they had to take a page out of Google’s book and move to the future. What they need to do is redefine their business strategy to encompass the threat of plagiarism and free views.
In Australia, the second battle has begun. The Battle of Real Estate.
Google has recently released Google Maps for Real Estate, where you can use the Google Map programme to search for listed properties. This development immediately raised alarm with News Limited and Fairfax, who run the domain.com.au and realestate.com.au websites. The new Google Maps application is direct competition for their real estate websites. Google creates its map listings through a free service available to all real estate representatives, including individual landlords.
Following its introduction, both Fairfax and News Limited have independently announced they would be reconsidering their generous spends on Google Ads. The biggest consideration for them would have to be the sacrifice of the large amount of traffic brought to them via Google.
While the news giants are complaining about this new development, real estate vendors and consumers seem to be considering it a good move for them, providing more information, and breaking down what was almost a duopoly in the online real estate market. It is another marketing venue for small providers, much like Google Adwords, where they can compete with the bigger players on a more even playing field.
However, the dangers of the new service will rise if it isn’t controlled properly, for example, by spammers or disreputable real estate agents and landlords. Also, the ever-present threat of the Google monopoly is a worry, if it discourages development in any of the areas it competes in, or renders it not financially viable to provide services which might otherwise be useful for consumers.