The entire readership of this blog emailed me about the story that the Associated Press may try to charge a fee for their displaying their news content early. (Thanks, Mom.) At first, this seems dumb – trying to delay access to online content sound like trying to put toothpaste back in a tube – once it’s out, it gets everywhere. But this is less about re-inventing content distribution than it is about recognizing what AP CEO Tom Curley calls an “enviable moment.”
A year ago, relevance meant the top result on a Google search – and doing whatever Google said you had to do to make that happen. In general, that’s still true. But since Microsoft is serious about making their Bing search engine a serious competitor to Google, that means that both Google and Bing must be more mindful of that their search results deliver content which is relevant. If Bing’s news aggregator is posting AP stories before Google News, that’s one more reason for users to move over.
For the AP, it’s not a long-term business strategy – but it is a chance to take advantage of a brewing search war.