The companies behind search engines sometimes try to attract more traffic by advertising. Establishing a partnership is another strategy, as is improving the actual search results. Microsoft might be ready to try something a little different, however, as a new report’s indicated that the company is interested in making Google’s results worse.
Remember the days when arguments about search engines centered on the size of their indices? Well, according to Matthew Garrahan and Richard Waters, Microsoft does. “Microsoft has had discussions with News Corp over a plan that would involve the media company’s being paid to ‘de-index’ its news websites from Google,” the pair reported.
They then continued, “Microsoft has also approached other big online publishers to persuade them to remove their sites from Google’s search engine.”
This idea seems plausible enough, given that Microsoft has a history of paying for users (think of its popular and long-running cashback program). There’s also the simple fact that Microsoft, with its market cap of $263 billion, could possibly outspend Google (which has a market cap of $181 billion) if a bidding war erupted.
What’s more difficult to say is whether the idea is any good. There’s no word on how much money News Corp. and other publishers would receive, and it’s anybody’s guess how many searchers would switch engines to retain easy access to their content.