Microsoft Paying Sites To Pull Their Content From Google?

This is interesting:

“The next battle in the search wars could be over access to news content. The FT reports that Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT)—which has made increasing the market share of its Bing search engine its top online priority—has reached out to “big online publishers” in order to get them to pull their sites from Google (NSDQ: GOOG). Among the parties currently in discussions with Microsoft is News Corp. (NYSE: NWS), which has very loudly threatened to block search engines from crawling the content of its newspapers.

Unclear how far along these discussions are, although TechCrunch also reported a week ago that Microsoft had a meeting with representatives from top British papers, including the Financial Times, about giving their content “premium positions” on Bing.”

First of all, I would like to say that I disagree with any attempts to manipulate search rankings by inorganic means, which looks to be happening here.

Secondly, I am a fan of both Google and Microsoft.  I use Google products extensively, and I’m continuously impressed with the company.  Though I rarely use Bing, I would consider myself a Microsoft supporter.  I have an Xbox 360 and a Zune HD and I regularly defend Windows, including Vista which I use every day.

I’m also a fan of competition.  Google is great and their search rankings are excellent, but it’s always good to have options.  Bing’s growth will force Google to work harder and overall improve search for everyone.

However, the idea that money – not content or quality – will determine search ranking is disturbing.

It seems as though we’re on a slippery slope towards paying for ranking, which I definitely do not like.