Paid for newspaper content, blogs and search.

Tom Harris, MP is musing about how newspapers charging for online content will effect bloggers:

a staple of political blogging is the external link to a news site. Guido has his “Seen Elsewhere” widget and almost all of the PoliticsHome homepage is links to features and news articles in the dailies.

What happens after all these newspapers start restricting access to paying customers? Will bloggers have to assume their readers are subscribers to the external sites we link to? Those who regularly include links in their Twitter feeds, or who regularly follow such links, will face the same problem. As will those who rely on Google Media Alerts to flag up news articles on specific subjects.

Tom’s thinking of this as a potential problems for the bloggers.  However his last sentence above shows how much of a problem it is for the newspapers.  If the system they use makes people  reluctant to link to their website, then surely the newspapers site will be less likely to show up in search.

Other newspapers writing freely and openly about the subject will get the links, as will other blogs, as will people like politicians who’ll be saying their own things on their own sites.  The New York Time’s David Carr hinted that people will be bookmarking new news sites, but the links problem is surely even more fundamental. It is the start of a spiral of decline, isn’t it?

Of course Murdoch and his team may have had a uniquely brilliant new thought about this and the paid for content problem.  A cunningly brilliant  idea that hasn’t yet occurred to the tens of  thousands of people who’ve been worrying about this for many, many years.

If they have then that is content I would pay to read. Once.

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