Search Giants Google, Yahoo Pitch Publishers -- The Printed Kind

PHOENIX, ARIZONA -- Senior executives from two of the nation's leading search engines declared their companies had no intention of competing with magazines on Monday, using their visit to the American Magazine Conference to reach out to magazine publishers with offers of cooperation. In addition to disavowing any role in content creation, Daniel Rosensweig, COO of Yahoo, and Tim Armstrong, vice president of advertising sales for Google, both said magazines weren't doing enough to leverage online search for their benefit.

"We would rather partner with amazing content providers" than get into the business of content creation, Rosensweig reassured the audience. Of course, magazines may build new Web features with Yahoo's help--but the ownership will still reside with the magazines. Likewise, "we will invite users to create content either in existing environments or new environments that we create for them," Rosensweig said, but ideally the user-generated content associated with magazines online should boost traffic to magazine content, not compete with it. "People want editors in the world," Rosensweig added, affirming the value of another print medium--newspapers--for their "analysis of what's going on, the deep understanding."

Google's Armstrong struck a similar note, saying "Google doesn't create content--it's not great at creating content." Like Rosensweig, Armstrong emphasized the need for magazines to make better use of the Web, noting that many publishers didn't know that much of their content is still not accessible by Google's spiders. Many magazines have big a Web presence, but because much of it is inaccessible to search, their traffic remains low. Here, Armstrong said, "You can use search engines to close the gap between your brand and your traffic." Armstrong also said Google is working on a certification program for content from established, well-known sources that will help boost its search ranking.

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