ABC defends its use of paid Google search after criticism it damages commercial rivals

abc-logo1Public broadcaster the ABC has defended its use of paid Google search to boost its news website traffic after an article in the Australian today accused it of “spending tens of thousands of dollars to damage its commercial media rivals”.

In an opinion piece for Mumbrella, Leisa Bacon director of audience and marketing at the ABC argued the broadcaster was simply taking advantage of a new form of marketing, adding it had an obligation to make sure its content was seen by as wide an audience as possible.

The article in the News Corp Australia title this morning criticised the ABC claiming this week it had “outbid its commercial rivals to buy the term ‘Gough Whitlam’ to ensure stories on its website ranked ahead of those by outlets such as News Corp, Fairfax Media and the television networks”.“All media outlets market their content,” wrote Bacon. “The digital space is no different. This is simply the newest marketing arena. At the ABC we invest in creating strong, distinctive, Australian content and we want that content to be found by our audience.”

The Australian’s article also said the ABC outspent all but one other news service on search engine marketing in August, helping it to rank as the nation’s fourth most popular news website.

Bacon argued search was “critical” to navigating the ABC’s content, and said The Australian’s estimate of $10,000 being paid by the ABC was incorrect, with the true figure being around $1,000.

“The ABC has a rich archive of content built over many years, across all our platforms. It is of great benefit to the public to be able to access this material. In a digital environment, search is critical to help navigate this,” wrote Bacon.

Nic Christensen

Read Bacon’s full opinion piece here.


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