Newspapers, wire services, online publishers: It’s all war

Publishers like AP etc etc are asking for a revenue share from Google, bloggers and aggregators. But then Google,bloggers could also come back and ask the publisher to share revenue from the traffic generated by them (Google). There is no end to this sharing business.

If a publisher doesn’t want Google to benefit from their content, all they need to do is block Google (and other search engines) from indexing their site (thru’ robots.txt). Needless to say nobody will do that, everybody wants the traffic from Google! If search engines did not exist surfers wouldn’t even be aware of the existence of many articles.

Fair Syndication (URL now goes to a different site) has been trying to mediate between the online players.

Aggregators Are Good

Many online publishers are upset with aggregators. They don’t like them including snippets and linking to the orginal story. I came across “Why Newspapes are Dying (” from an aggregator. If not for this aggregator I doubt I would have read this article.

80% of Newspapers To Die

In a recent discussion it was told by end of 2010 80 percent of US newspapers would shut ( A very scary phenomenon for the Print industry.

Newspapers are seeking bailout from US Congress but US Congress is refusing to help.

Newspapers, however rare and financially weak, can adapt and ultimately conquer the threat posed by the Internet, the Justice Department’s Carl Shapiro told a House panel.

“We do not believe any new exemptions for newspapers are necessary,” said Shapiro, an assistant attorney general for economics…(source )

Various Media Players Need To Co-Exist

There have been articles about newspapers shutting in US. Many felt Print was pretty much dead and everyone would move online. They have been wrong. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which published its last edition on March 17, was knocked off the list of top 30 newspaper Web sites in March, according to the latest figures form Nielsen Online.

This clearly shows we need Print and Online. At least that is my personal choice. For many things I do, I still prefer the newspaper. For other things it would be the internet (PC) and lately I get local information on my mobile (internet). I cannot survive with just one medium – I need all.

What is the solution? Innovation

The main problem, newspapers are not willing to innovate or not accepting internet as a serious alternate medium. Many newspapers blame Craigslist for their death. Time Inc has come up with a novel idea, something like the offline version of RSS feeds – users can select whichmagazines/sections they like and you get a mashup of all those articles in snail mail. I think it is pretty cool. The article says few things did go wrong, so what? I am sure they will keep improving at a fast pace and do everything they can to make it a success.

A startup, Attributor,  helps publishers to identify who is copying your content (unauthorized) – two things can happen once you identify the abuser – you can them to remove your  content from their site or use Attributor’s technology to do a revenue share with the sites who are using your content (with your permission).

Attributor plans to make its technology available free of charge to publishers that sign up to the program, hoping to generate more business for its subscription products that give publishers data about the sites using that content..More

We would love to try out this product on Indian languages. Many of our articles get duplicated on blogs.

My View
There are good and bad aggregators. I am all for “good” aggregators (e.g Huffington Post but few don’t like it). And yes, I want them to make money too, otherwise what is their incentive.

If the aggregator can summarize my entire article in less than 100 words and the reader feels there is no need to visit my article then the fault is not with the aggregator but with ME. Either I am taking a lot many words to convey my message and/or except for the 100 words that was summarized by the aggregator everything else I have written was nonsense.

Personally I would like quality bloggers and aggregators to use part of my content and link to me. But yes, there are may abusers who copy the entire article and don’t even give credit to the original publisher.

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