You Can't Take The Paper Out Of The Newstand
The discussion in the tech/media blogs this weekend is Rupert Murdoch's comment:
Ian Betteridge has a good post on this and says:
I agree with Ian that Rupert is as smart and sophisticated as they come and he has thought this through. But unfortunately for Rupert and News Corp and other newspaper owners, you can't take your toys and go home on this one.
News Corp can easily block Google from crawling its pages at the WSJ, NY Post, and elsewhere. They can also sue Google and litigate for a rev share or whatever else it is that Rupert wants from Google.
But here's the thing. Google is distribution. It is the newsstand. If Rupert or any other newspaper owner chooses to take its content out of the Google index, there will be plenty of content left that can take its place.
Look at the top of the page on Google finance right now:
On Friday, an asian online games company called ChangeYou went public here in the US and had a very successful offering. This is interesting to me on many levels as you might imagine. Google shows three stories on the ChangeYou IPO; the lead story from SeekingAlpha, a story from Forbes, and a story from the FT. Note that there is no story there from the WSJ.
And I could care less. I had the option of all three links and I selected the SeekingAlpha link. SeekingAlpha is a network of stock bloggers. It is slowly but surely building a brand as a trusted source of stock news and opinion.
Google is not News Corp's problem. Their problem is us. We know a lot. But we don't own a printing press. And that's a good thing. Because printing presses are expensive. But we do own a computer and many blogging services are free. The explosion of "user generated content" has created some very compelling news services in all sorts of verticals. Not just tech, but finance, fashion, music, travel, lifestyle, and on and on. And there are a bunch of companies like Seeking Alpha that are aggregating up the best user generated content in verticals and creating awesome news, information, and entertainment services.
Steven Johnson, the popular author and founder of our portfolio company Outside.in put it very well in his keynote at SXSW last month.
What’s happened with technology and politics is happening elsewhere
too, just on a different timetable. Sports, business, reviews of
movies, books, restaurants – all the staples of the old newspaper
format are proliferating online. There are more perspectives; there is
more depth and more surface now. And that’s the new growth. It’s only
More perspectives is the most important thing of all. News and information content is becoming much richer and better. And that is Rupert problem at the end of the day. It's not that he can't compete with Google. It's that he can't compete with us.
Fred, it doesn’t matter if Google “goes around” blocks because eventually, it will be forced to modify its own behaviour as it is simply growing too destructive. You always treat every new media happening as if its some unalloyed good — it’s not. Eventually, there is a pushback, and pushing back isn’t ‘conservative”, it’s progressive, in keeping the values of openness that in fact Google claims it serves.It’s good that Rupert Murdoch is pushing back on the destructiveness of Google which has killed the newspaper, not only its business model, but its role as an intellectual institution, and substituted it with mindless linked search returns from Wikipedia, and mindless blogs. It’s *very* good that Murdoch is pushing back on this.And if he keeps pushing back, along with others, Google will find that its own model reliant on massive linkages to sell its ads distributed across web pages begins to suffer. And that’s a good thing, because Google is too big and powerful and too destructive of others’ businesses and their intellectual institutions.Already, Twitter Search is a competitor to Google as people start moving searches to Google. And Twitter, starting last Friday, now blocks you from reading content of people who block you but are still public, i.e. not locked (you can still use Google news reader to follow them, but it’s inconvenient).This type of filtering of news into friends groups, even by public figures, is what essentially newspapers could start to do a larger scale to fight back against Google. Video sites could start doing the same thing.Steven Johnson is wrong. Proliferation alone doesn’t bring quality. It brings confusion. Special friends networks can’t fix that. There needs to be curators, curators emerge, and curators need to get paid. There will be a drive back to filtering and friending in ways that then ultimately cripple the open society of the Internet (like the blocking functions of Twitter accomplish already) but then restore curation.Google is not a newstand. If it were a newstand, it would pay to place its news kiosk on the street and pay for the batches of newspapers it distributes. Google doesn’t do that. It demands free bandwidth from ISPs and free content from online newspapers and sucks all that up for free in order to sell its own ads and profit from them. If Google were just a search service, that might be tolerated. But Google isn’t really a search service. It’s an ad agency that benefits itself first and foremost.Your “us” is a tiny minority of technocrats. I don’t belong to this “us”. I’m happy to have newspapers solve the problem of Google selling its own ads on the free content of newspapers by having the newspapers both block Google and charge me for content.Why do you believe that Google gets to take the content that people have already placed ads against on their websites, and resell that for free for its own ads?
My take on Fred’s posts are that he doesn’t “treat every new media happening as if its some unalloyed good”, I think he treats it as an unalloyed “fact”, and tries to think from that spot forward. Of course, not speaking for him. Eager to see his response to your excellent argument.
This is great fodder for our upcoming meeting over coffeeIt’s a good debateBut I am not focused on google actuallySomeone will usurp them eventuallyI am focused on the democratization and commoditization of content creation and publishingIt’s happening and its inevitable
I would also like to see ‘democratization and commoditization ‘ of the content discovery services.
Digg, Reddit, Techmeme, Popurls, FriendFeed, Twitter, StumbleUpon….need I go on?
Inevitable maybe, but quality content from trusted sources is going to cost a lot money to produce for some time.I also do not think creation and publishing are linked.Publishing gets commoditized easier, but even there I think expensive technology prevents it for a long time (Kindle, iPhone, etc. are 1st generation publishing devices for the purposes of this converstation).Some verticals of content creation can be democratized easier than others but even Wikipedia depends on (and demands) trusted sources which are pretty much old media companies when not scientific journals.The thought experiment is pretty simple: At the same moment fire all reporters and editors across old media and take all of their created to date IP offline. Most blogs die almost overnight, Google News becomes pretty useless, and a big part of google.com searching goes away and this assume you give everyone who wants a press pass to whatever they want to report on.I am pretty sure the world would hardly miss a beat if Google was shut down today (though let me get my email off their servers first).The AP should fund a study of how much UGC is really AP and other old media IP holders content just echoing or used to create new bastardized IP that makes money with Google ad words.This is the same thing retailers are killing themselves with by lying down and taking it from suppliers. Retail can control a big chunk of online spending if they wanted to act a group and refuse to do business with manufactures who allow sales online – the as a group is key here. It would take a year for the balance to tip back into their favor but it would tip – far more money flows through retail than online.The savings to consumers of the online delivery model is short lived in the grand scheme of things. Again a simple thought experiment shows the light – do we really want to live in a world where everything is delivered by a UPS truck or vacuum tube – including root beer floats? So currently all Amazon is doing for consumers is saving some (including me) a few dollars while creating a poorer world for everyone else in the long run. I am not sure that is democratization – capitalistic destruction for the sake of feeding the capitalist machine sure, but it is folly to confuse Democracy with Capitalism.
Prokofy, I know that English is not your first language, but, “it doesn’t matter if Google “goes around” blocks because eventually, it will be forced” seems to misunderstand what Wilson is saying here. It is not that GOOG will “go around” anything, but that it will simply remove the News Corp content from its index thereby depriving News Corp of the audience that GOOG is capable of delivering.Further, “If it were a newstand, it would pay to place its news kiosk on the street and pay for the batches of newspapers it distributes.” 1) In the US, placing a kiosk does not always incur a cost other than paying for the asset itself; it is city specific. 2) GOOG pays for the servers that crawl the web, and the bandwidth required to serve the content snippets.Continuing, “[Google] demands free bandwidth from ISPs and free content from online newspapers.” By that “logic” anyone that produces content for online consumption “demands free bandwidth”, which I think most would agree is pure rubbish.Finally, I have never seen a full article reproduced on a GOOG property; they are just snippets, just like ALL the aggregators I utilize. I’m not sure why you choose to focus on GOOG other than their size or a lack of comprehension on your part. How about Digg or Techmeme? Both of these sites clearly make $ by providing content that they themselves did not create.
Word. There’s a parallel conversation over at Jeff Jarvis’s Buzz Machine. Curious what’s your take on him and that whole WWGD kerfuffle, Proko.Now I really do have to go get ready for my sister-in-law’s surprise party. I highly doubt that she’s reading this.
I agree, the snippets of news you see in Google are like the hints at front page of a newspaper window you see in a newspaper vending machine. To read any article you have to link to the site providing the news.What Google is doing is providing a real time table of contents to the news of the world. They aren’t providing content.As of now I still trust (if disagree with) the WSJ above most other news sources. If they break ties with Google, I’ll have to find someone else to trust, and I’ll be a lost customer forever.Remember, many readers of the WSJ are not MBA types who consider it the only way to be on the same page as all the other MBA types. Some of us have real choices.
Um, English is my first language, big guy but I’m also fluent in Russian.We may find that if Murdoch makes good on his threat that it turns out it doesn’t matter.In the U.S., paying a kiosk certainly DOES cost something and you still have to pay for the papers.GOOG pays for its costs for its own crawling. That’s like saying any business pays for its own machines. But it then expropriates the property of others for free. And indeed, people DO demand free bandwidth (that’s what the net neutrality scam is all about — it should be renamed “net consumption”).We’re discussing Google here. Digg and Techmeme use the same expropriation. Making money on content you didn’t create, having people’s value accrue to only a few big companies — that’s communism, which quickly makes use of oligarchs. “We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us.”
Actually I was hoping we would talk about a closed approach to creating content versus an open oneGoogle is a red herring in this discussion
No it’s not. It’s the most powerful and richest search engine, and access to content depends on it — but it doesn’t pay for the content it uses for free to sell its ads. That’s wrong.
Right but my point is that there are plenty of others out there (me included) who will step into the bargain that the newspapers seem like they don’t anymore
Profoky, it is quite telling that you have only found the ability to refute my one assumption (about your 1st language), so obviously you realize how silly your argument(s) are.”In the U.S., paying a kiosk certainly DOES cost something and you still have to pay for the papers.” I just checked for my city, and there is no municpal “tax” per se, just the costs to process the paper work. Obviously the physical kiosk is not free, and the corresponding items in the analogy would be servers/ bandwidth.”But [Google] then expropriates the property of others for free.”Are you not aware of Robots.txt (I use it)? How about DMCA? These work well, and GOOG does follow them. So, it is the choice of the content producer (at least with regard to GOOG).”…people DO demand free bandwidth”Um, I pay for every piece of bandwidth that I consume (mobile, office, and home), and if I choose to visit GOOG sites or any other site, I should be able to do so.”We’re discussing Google here.”As Wilson notes, Google is a red herring (an indication of how far you have been backed into a corner).
Um, do I need to go over this again?You have to pay for kiosks. A lot. Do you live in Podunk?http://wirednewyork.com/for…And…You have to pay for the papers that you will resell? You left that part out.Paying for servers and bandwidth isn’t paying for content, it’s just paying for servers, like an office building or a printing press.DMCA is not a solution. Robots.txt isn’t used by newspapers, although…they might start, soon!You pay for your pipe to Google. You pay for *part* of what the bandwidth is. The bandwidth that is required for the search isn’t something you pay for.No, I’m not backed into a corner whatsoever. But it’s customary for people like you living in the tech magic circle to think that. Projection much?
lol, let’s keep the personal attacks out of this, if ya’ll want to drop some hate then hate on the folks who made 9/11 an inside job.– kid mercury, official AVC bouncer
and “us” means the whole world too, not a western-centric view of what is important. A more international view, combined with a hyper-local real-time view, will continue to evolve media past the Murdoch line. Murdoch may have thought it through, but the whole “scarcity” value model of media…gee whiz we’ve been talking about the uselessness of that since 1999 and the music business. And – sign of the times – Google has even more resources to fight litigation than he does to pursue it. It’s not like the RIAA suing some kid.Actually, maybe it is. Same ultimate result likely = terrible press (/irony) , broken model unintentionally transparent and flailing.
Global “us” for sure. That’s a big big deal and a huge challenge for China and others who rely on scarcity to govern
Fred, you don’t speak on behalf of any “us,” as you imagine. It’s this hubris of the technical elite with the California ideology that they go around the world “seeing inevitabilities” and “destroying institutions”.In fact, what Fred represents is a very Western-centric view of the world.Media *is* scarce — it’s people’s labour, and good media, investigation of stories, following stories, speaking truth to power, etc. — these are all scarcities, and they all need to be paid for. Diluting them endlessly on mindless blogs and pretending that freebies take the place of this curated culture just reveals stupidity.I think it might be instructive for you all to have all your free lunches cut off for a week. See how long the blogs last without any mainstream media news sources, which you’ve helped destroy with your ideology.
I have never said I speak for anyone other than me. This blog is my truth and mine only. You represent your truth. We all have our say. To suggest that I am pretending to speak for anyone else is wrong.And I pay for my lunches.
Did you forget the royal “we” you used in your original post?”It’s not that he can’t compete with Google. It’s that he can’t compete with us.”I’m not “wrong”. I’m reporting on what you yourself wrote.BTW, you’ll have to buy me coffee!
I am happy to buyI meant “us” as in us bloggers
Prokofy – shorn of all of their pseudo-intellectualism and semi-veiled insults, your arguments actually have a grain, and I mean grain, of truth. Editorial oversight is an important component of any institution that purports to present fact over opinion. And counting Diggs, links or any other crowd sourced metric is no substitute for the editor’s blue pencil. However, you do yourself no favours by presenting your arguments in such a hysterical and, quite frankly, impolite manner.Fred: there is only one truth – it’s just not knowable yet.
Er, I’m not “pseudo-intellectual” or “semi-veiled” if I *push back* against the sort of pseudo-intellectualism that you find in the slams on me here.My arguments have considerably more than a grain of truth.My arguments aren’t “hysterical” or “impolite”. They’re just arguments. Your gang is so used to living in the tekkies’ magic circle that it comes as a rude shock when somebody refuses to believe what you say, doesn’t find your arguments persuasives, and simply says “no, it’s not that way at all”.Deal with it.
== “Your gang is so used to living in the tekkies’ magic circle that it comes as a rude shock when somebody refuses to believe what you say, doesn’t find your arguments persuasives, and simply says “no, it’s not that way at all”.” ==Well, in the interest of appropriating content created by others, below please find a snippet from a convo on NPRs On The Media regarding “The Echo Chamber Effect” to which you refer. Lee Rainie directs the Pew Internet and American Society Project.== “BROOKE GLADSTONE: A worry that’s long plagued media watchers – like me – is the echo chamber phenomenon in which likeminded people huddle in bubbles in the blogosphere where they never have to confront a conflicting opinion or unwelcome fact, where in defense of the dogma of the tribe, moderates are sidelined and extremists exalted.Rainie conducted a study of people’s politics on the Internet during the 2004 presidential campaign. He found that the echo chamber phenomenon is a byproduct of human nature, not the Internet. The Net merely amplifies what’s worst and best in us all.LEE RAINIE: One of the surprising things we found in that survey was that those who are the most technologically adept and those who are the most engaged with information actually are not in the echo chamber pattern; they are actually seeking out and finding out more arguments opposed to their views than those who are less technologically adept and less interested in political information.BROOKE GLADSTONE: Wait a minute, wait a minute. You have just blown my mind. [LAUGHS] So what you’re saying is that regardless of their political persuasion, the more comfortable they were in cyberspace, the more likely they were to know views across the spectrum and views other than their own.LEE RAINIE: Right. They essentially behaved like information omnivores. They were soaking up all kinds of information in all kinds of ways. The people who worry about the echo chamber worry that people are going to narrow their universe, as information becomes more voluminous, that people, just as a coping strategy, will only look at the stuff that agrees with their point of view and only deal with the people who support their ideas.But, in fact, these omnivores, in particular, the most technologically adept people, are, you know, scanning every horizon they can, and they can’t help but bump into stuff that doesn’t agree with them.” ==I actually was going to put this under one of Fred’s “Hey isn’t this great debate” entries, because we are those omnivores. That’s why we are learning and contributing and spending our valuable time typing away in our parents’ basements.I’d very much appreciate a virtual group hug. This is getting a bit nasty.
I don’t need any virtual group hugs. And it’s war, in case you haven’t noticed, and it will be fought.This isn’t an artifact that is “only” of human nature because the echo-chamber effect has unquestionably worsened due to the amplification of the Internet.Read the comments on the New York Times articles, often absolutely appalling. But they are only a tiny percentage of readers who post, most lurk.
war? fought? really?not for nothing but this has been going on for years and years.And the new york times is more often quoted and used on here to stir debate than it is slated. Fred quotes it all the time.its only when Friedman ( pops up with a piece of tripe) – and gets a well deserved smackdown.http://www.nypress.com/arti…
Rupert is as smart and sophisticated as they come? I could think of many who get the contours of the new media landscape much better.He’s very successful, but he makes huge mistakes often. He overpaid for Dow Jones, the LA Dodgers, and MySpace.
i am actually reading his biography right now – interesting chap.
I don’t think he overpaid for myspace
Fred, you are so right on this. These guys need to deal with the fact that distribution was always a key part of their business, and it just got a whole lot cheaper, with much lower barriers to entry. The game has changed, and there’s no going back.The real problem with the newspaper business model is cost. E.g., the NYTimes spends $200m/yr on their newsroom, with an editorial cost somewhere north of $2,000/story. They were able to extract this from readers and advertisers when they had a near-monopoly on distribution. With open distribution, there’s no way they can get that kind of revenue.US newspapers grew up under monopoly conditions, and the habits are just baked into how they do things. There was a great quote in the Economist last week from Ann Moore, CEO of Time, Inc. who said, “Someone’s got to pay for the Baghdad bureau.” Umm, no. We don’t have to pay for your bureau if we can get the same news cheaper from someone else. American media types seem to assume their own existence, and expect the world to fall into line.Meanwhile, The Economist itself uses a lot of cheap stringers, typically paying around $300/story, but it is perceived as a very high quality news source. Now that distribution is near-free, I think we will see many, many high-quality sources develop, with all sorts of editorial models, but with a common theme of much lower cost structure.Most (but not all) of what the NYTimes does can be duplicated at a fraction of their costs. We need to figure out how to preserve the public good parts that can’t be financed under new models. But there’s no point in trying to preserve the old model wholesale. It’s on its way out the door, fingernails clinging, but inevitably out the door…
$300 for an article in the Economist? Perhaps on the planet Zorg…But that’s the whole point isn’t it? You can write what you like on the internets, without any editorial staff casting a critical eye on your content.I agree that newspapers have to re-think their model, but we should be under no illusions that crowd sourced news and analysis is a full substitute for professionally produced content.Edit / Afterthought —————————–Ironically Fred himself criticized Techcrunch, a *professional* blog, for starting the GOOG/Twitter rumour without properly checking their facts or, in other words, upholding the standards we take for granted from a serious news provider.
OohGood 2nd to last paragraphReblogging it on fredwilson.vc
This quote is interesting on a bunch of fronts:”It’s good that Rupert Murdoch is pushing back on the destructiveness of Google which has killed the newspaper, not only its business model, but its role as an intellectual institution, and substituted it with mindless linked search returns from Wikipedia, and mindless blogs. It’s *very* good that Murdoch is pushing back on this.Its totally absurd to hold a newspaper out as an intellectual institution and then cast the entire web as ‘mindless’. what this sais to me is that you both fear change, and lack even a rudimentary knowledge of how to gather parse and filter the content you wish to consume. I just don’t understand this. i get to consume the most fantastic news every morning from some of the best journalists on the planet. journalism has been atomized and you clearly cant figure out how to gather the atoms you wish to consume.and the line that google is not ‘search’ is astonishing – the very fact that it IS search allows it to be an Ad network.you would probably do good to follow jeff jarvis on this subject – he is a great journalist – you also may want to read his most recent book.in the mean time – i looked at my local paper while grabbing coffee yesterday, and was confronted with this:http://www.boston.com/busin…how ironic.
But, Fred. Of course we, the “tiny minority of technocrats” have a printing press. It’s your blog, my blog, all them blogs and all the other user-generated content all over this great big interwebs of ours.Prokofy might think it’s a lot of noise, and that’s fine. To each…It’s not for nothin’ that Cluetrain was formulated as 95 theses nailed to the front door of the internet. Most historians see the Protestant Reformation as a direct result of the (for then) cheap and open method by which a tiny minority (the literate) could publish information, including and especially the Bible in translation.In this context, News Corp looks a lot like the Catholic church. An old-guard institutions that is poorly prepared for a rapid and permanent shift in a new direction. Obviously, the Catholic church is still in business, as will be some number of current media companies. Heck, I’ll even go out on a limb here and predict that News Corp will be a survivor.But they will give up and never retake vast amounts of territory in the marketplace to upstart bloggers and who knows what else that’s coming in the future.I gotta go. Mom is yelling at me to take out the garbage and cleanup my “suite” in the basement.
The idea that something is ‘inevitable” belongs to the pseudo-science of Marxism. The only thing that is “inevitable” is death.Jaron Lanier is correct: the Internet is free because engineers decided to make it that way. Because of their ideology about freeness. And now we see the results.Fred isn’t reporting on “inevitabilities” when he is who he is — he is calling them as he sees them *and helping to make them happen* using his position as an influence, like Clay Shirky or any other “thought leader” especially with those able to buy or speak at prestigious conferences, etc.Fred, if you’re serious about “democratizing” media you’ll have to think about the problem of how all your “democrats” merely block people or create filtering mechanisms and that merely dumbs down discourse.Murdoch will be a force to conjure with if he gets started on this, and that’s a good corrective to Google’s bolshevism in expropriating all the content and then selling the rope to hang the capitalists on its own ad system.Er, I don’t fear change. I run a critical blog. A lot of the content on the Internet *is* mindless. Andrew Keen is right. There’s nothing wrong in making a judgement about this. Newspapers are right to have editors.Google supports its business — its servers enabling you to search for free and become unwitting or witting eyeballs for ads — through its ad agency. Google is an ad agency with search as a loss-leader. This can’t last forever.
I think you hit the wrong button on your internet machine, ‘cuz this doesn’t seem like a reply to mine above. But I’ll respond to you because this is an absolute gem:”… Google’s bolshevism in expropriating all the content and then selling the rope to hang the capitalists on its own ad system.”As a dyed-in-the-wool dot commie, I could not have put it better myself. I hope you don’t mind if I quote you left, right and center, painful pun intended.
Um, sure, go ahead and quote it, but don’t forget to read the history of what comes next — and how ultimately, your friend Lenin failed, and the USSR collapsed, but not without causing the mass murders of millions.
The Catholic Church is still going strong. Now…how many Protestant splinters were there? How are they doing? This is one of those Clay Shirky anti-Catholic memes, that this “printing press revolution” somehow “destroyed” the Catholic Church. Huh? The Church used the printing press to print the very indulgences that in fact critics like Luther rebelled against lol. It continues to have influence to this day. How’s Lutheranism doing? Er, why is a news company that is a business like a spiritual non-profit organization anyway ?
Catholic Church as a non-profit?!?!?! LOLZ. Another gem.C’mon, Prokofy. You’ll have to go down to NYU to argue with Shirky. I said what I said very carefully so as to avoid that kinda thing. I have a hard time believing that you can’t grasp a simple analogy between the Mainstream Media (who will be playing the role of the Catholic Church, maintaining a tightly controlled monopoly) and the bloggers (who will be playing the role of the Protestants).How’s Lutheranism doing? A hell of a lot better than it was during the Peasant Wars.
And I’m here to tell you that this tired, facile, Clay Shirky meme of the Catholic Church=evil empire that refuses to “evolve”=mainstream media versus Protestants=good guys=new media is a) anti-Catholic b) wildly incomplete c) horribly forced d) not true.Again:1. The Catholic Church persists, and took advantage of the printing press just like anyone.2. Shirky and others using this analogy have a strange obsessive need to bang on organized religion, particularly *this* organized religion, when they could be banging on, oh, the Ottoman Empire or Islam with even more of a valid analogy. But that would be politically incorrect, eh?3. These “good guys” aren’t so good. They’re destructive. What they created in opposition/inplace of Catholicism, you might say, is just a lot of splinter groups that don’t add up.
Whoa.this is positively comical.”these good guys aren’t so good. They’re destructive…….”Please i cant wait – please compare the destructive nature of Protestantism with our beloved Catholics.
Maybe it is because organized religion is the root of all evil in our world
sigh…he is not the only guy on the planet spewing this lunacy. There us a guy in the UK that I have taken in front of the woodshed.http://www.ravinglunacy.org…
devil’s advocate – Google may be the newsstand, but just because you publish something, does that mean you give the newsstand unlimited free rein on which articles to distribute, how to present them and monetize it, without recourse or negotiation?The ‘Seeking Alpha’ example is instructive. They’re trying to be sort of the Huffington Post of finance. But the content is uneven at best. They grab authors’ entire articles and post it – sometimes disregarding niceties like advance permission and notification. Many of the authors may like the exposure, but others don’t like to lose that much control or be published in that context. Occasionally they seem to have attributed articles to the wrong author, causing much embarrassment. In one case they tried to name a section ‘The Big Picture,’ which just happened to be the brand of one of the best-known financial blogs.So I’d have to ask how you would feel if they created a section called ‘A VC’, or started reprinting your stuff in full or editing/combining posts, or erroneously printing others’ stuff as your own? Would you feel maybe you should have some control over the way your content is excerpted, distributed, and monetized, and some recourse if your brand and business are negatively impacted?http://globaleconomicanalys…http://www.ritholtz.com/blo…http://bigpicture.typepad.c…
They did exactly that. and I love it. Free distribution. I sometimes get as many comments on my posts at seeking alpha as I get here. My only beef is they don’t sync the comments with disqus so we can’t benefit from all that insight.
fair enough… but if the content was your only source of revenue/equity/branding, then I suspect you might be more wary of losing that much control (not to mention potential revenue)the system should align the interests of content generators, users, aggregators and distribute the spoils fairly … the stock price of Google vs. media companies and their impending demise might lead one to wonder if there’s some imbalance here.And even if Fox is a cultural disease, replacing it with SeekingAlpha is no improvement. Leeches just kill the disease and the patient too.
If the monetization is expressed directly in the content object, it should not matter where it goes and who takes it there (within reason)http://www.avc.com/a_vc/200…
People are skeptical of the threat of user generated content. I understand the role journalists play in areas like politics and deep investigative reporting of companies. However, when it comes to just about anything else, I’m really starting to rely on blogs and other content sources.Why? Because reporters tend to be experts on reporting, not experts on any given subject area. As someone with a scientific background, I have a list of people I’d trust far more than the NYT or the WSJ about the intricacies of technology. We all read this blog because Fred and any number of contributers here know more about specific areas of the economy than any reporter from the WSJ ever could.I realize that there is a difference between news and reflection upon news. However even the choices about what is news and how it’s being presented directly impact the news gathering process. (Why is the G20 front page news and the Congo is on page 16?)I’ve always been interested in reading and interacting with experts. The newspaper itself is actually a barrier to such interactions. Blogs allow for a different type of deeper communication. And they’re not necessarily an echo chamber. Or without new facts.
I think by characterising reporters as tending to be “experts on reporting”, you’re tarring all professional media with the same brush. Funnily enough, I wrote a post earlier today about this very topic (http://www.technovia.co.uk/….Basically, in a lot of “niche” media, the tradition has been to hire people for their enthusiasm and passion for the subject, not because they are professional journalists. That’s because journalism is a skill you can teach. Passion for a subject, on the other hand, can’t be trained into someone.
Ian,Wonderful blog post. Interestingly, by reading your post, I got the inside scoop on the magazine industry in a way that I never would have by reading a reporter writing about the magazine industry.I think there certainly are reporters who are passionate policy wonks. And there are certainly reporters who have a primal desire to “get the truth out.” These people are wonderful and they possess skills not found in the general population. But unfortunately, a lot of reporting is more about being a “business expert” or a general “science expert” and these are the stories that really bother me. Because the person writing the story is not the expert on exactly what they’re speaking about and they very often get things wrong. And these types of stories tend not to have the same journalistic integrity as investigative journalism.Health stories are amongst the worst. It’s as if most journalists doing health stories have no training in understanding the limitations of journal papers (or even worse, conference talks.) Things are reported as facts when they are very much up in the air. I think that people like Sandy Szwarc at Junkfood Science (http://junkfoodscience.blog… offer far more insight than almost any normal health reporter. That’s the advantage of getting to learn from a very narrowly focused expert.It’s also where traditional journalism has failed.
This was supposed to be a reply to ProkofyThe proliferation of information distribution is what is destroying the old model. Substitute ‘The Internet’ for Google in your argument and it makes sense. The problem is the internet isn’t a company, it’s a technology and it has evolved into a low-cost, low barrier to entry content distribution platform. It’s interactive, it scales well and it’s real-time.Contrast that to a medium that’s expensive, one-way and time delayed and you can see why the shift is happening. It’s not about Google vs. Murdoch, it’s about the control of information sourcing and delivery and how that control is transferring. The internet breaks down the wall endemic in information publishing, i.e what is fit to print and what isn’t and while a certain amount of fact-checking is necessary to provide accuracy and prevent misinformation, the time is passed where information is curated and presented by an elite class that disseminates only what it thinks the masses are ready to hear or capable of understanding for the twin goals of power and profit and I think that’s a good thing. Other avenues of profit will materialize, if the newspapers are nimble enough to adapt they will survive, otherwise they will fail. It’s the way of the world.
The Internet is a bunch of companies, including Russia, Inc. and China, Inc. Google dominates it. Google is the biggest threat to Murdoch — and actually visa versa, because Murdoch could decide to block Google, and it may turn out that it doesn’t hurt his properties like everyone imagines, because he will tell people to search on Twitter lol.The problem with the model of breaking down this elite class you loath so much is that now, instead of that visible and knowable — and accountable — elite class, we have a secretive, unaccountable elite in the likes of the hidden Wikipedia editors with their arcane procedures, including edit bots.The failure of newspapers harms civil society and business. If you can’t see it now, you will when you see these “profit models” that you fictionalize never emerge. You can’t get something from nothing.
The information curator is currently neither visible nor accountable. The newspapers print what they deem fit but what you never know is what they don’t print or why; it’s completely discretionary. They then profit off of the distribution of carefully selected information and to this point they did so in an almost monopolistic fashion. The failure of civil society will come when we acknowledge that there is only one, or a handful or people, who are authoritarian enough to provide information to others, that change will usher in the society that Orwell so brilliantly described in “1984”. I’d prefer it didn’t happen.Back to the business angle; Google isn’t the threat you think. Twitter, Facebook, Digg, and any crowd sourced/social networking site has shown that. The position of trust has shifted from the anonymous yet renown anchor on TV to the peer group of your friends and your friend’s friends. Why should I trust the guy I’m never likely to meet rather than the people I speak with all the time? One source I must assume as authoritative based on inherited trust, the other(s) I can interrogate and debate and are trusted because I trust the people first, which leads to trust of the information.This is why Bit.ly can be huge, if you can diagram the collection of monkeysperes that make up the internet, you can target them and once that happens you can profit. The old ways are just not good enough anymore, if the best parts of them are to survive, the worst parts need to be ditched.
exactly.Prokofy – you might want to go over and read some material by Umair Haque.
Um, been there, done that. No thank you.
I knew that was going to be the response!
The worst thing about Umair Haque is not only that he is a cultic freak, you can’t criticize him without fanboyz screaming that you must only engage in “constructive” criticism.
He makes me thinkSo do you
i don’t agree with alot of what he sais. I really dont agree with his finance 2.0 approach.
Most of the readers on this blog don’t agree with a lot of what I have to say eitherBut if I make them think, then something good has happenedI don’t agree with most of what Prokofy has to say and sometimes he pisses me off, but he makes me thinkAnd that’s why he’s very welcome here
Maybe you need to just look at…the bylines? The mastheads? Which is something you can’t do on Wikipedia.What you’re failing to realize is that we are already WELL on our way to 1984. Wikipedia is constantly being rewritten, just like Winston did at his job:There are a tiny handful of people making most of the pages and even tinier number making the editorial decisions at Wikipedia.http://secondthoughts.typep…Google has an unconscionably huge hammerlock on search and ad revenue from search in all kinds of ways with all kinds of tentacles.
oh dear.tectonic shifts in search are around the corner. Why do you assume that because they have this ‘stranglehold’ on content today – that this will be the case tomorrow.if i have heard it once i have heard it a hundred times from people like you – Whinging about infringing rights, or blown up business models. Its called innovation, and yes it is disruptive. But siting Orwell or Lenin is totally absurd.so no haque for you – then try Kurtzeil on publicness.
“There are a tiny handful of people making most of the pages and even tinier number making the editorial decisions at Wikipedia.http://secondthoughts.typep…… ” – and citing sources and having their biases pointed out or clarifications requested.Look, no source of info is ever 100% accurate, not the encyclopedias of yore or the Wikipedia of today. The key difference with Wikipedia and most information on the ‘net is that it can be challenged for bias and authenticity immediately and if not on the originating site, then elsewhere in the cloud. Those challenges don’t fall on deaf ears, on the contrary those challenges reach the very same people who would consume the information in the first place, alerting them to the possibility that the source is contaminated.In the old word of information, it would take an entire year to get an encyclopedia revised and weeks or months to have a newspaper article revised, and then the correction is often printed in the middle of the paper, well away from the page one prominence that the initial article received.It’s funny that you continue to blast Google for the same thing the newspapers have done profitably for years; aggregate information and sell ads to the consumers of said information. Reporters don’t create the news, they report it. You can look at Google in much the same way, they don’t create the internet or the news, they just aggregate it, report it and sell ads against it. They will be successful as long as there is a demand for their product, the same way the newspapers maintained their success for only as long as there was a demand. Google will, one day, have to adapt or perish. That day may be sooner than we think or further away, but in any case they are a business, same as any other and they will only survive as long as their product is useful, same as any other.
This thread is just getting too hard to long and search so I will wait for the next blog entry that is relevant or post on my own blog.Wikipedia has some HORRID built-in problems that you seem impervious to seeing that are far, far worse than the standard default bias of any source. For one, it is near ubiquitous with its mediocrity and biased by turning up first in Google. One hand washes the other there.Newspapers are right and good to aggregate information and sell ads and live from ads, subscriptions, and kiosk sales, providing a product that everyone values. It is key to the success of many other businesses.What does Google do? It a) mainly makes money for itself, and all the other people hanging off the ad agency biz are at best a tiny handful of wealthy sites at the type, say, a TechCrunch, and enormously long tail of little guys. b) it destroys other businesses — that’s not something that can be said of newspapers, unless you count newspaper reporting about corrupt businesses; c) it grabs content for free (remember the subject of this blog?!) and resells it, without paying the cost to access it.Ugh, trying to compare human beings who go out and search for news and interview people and make cold calls and use their skills to investigate with some robotic crawling spider — ugh.There isn’t a “demand” for the product of Google. There is a “default” to the product of Google. It’s “there”. We’re call compelled to use it. The same tekkie-wikis that bitch all the time about Microsoft’s monopoly and the PC and rant about Linux and opensource never, ever complain that Google has a monopoly on search. Ever. Now…why is that?
What’s an edit bot?Has someone finally beat the Turing test and decided to keep it quiet?This is big news.
No, rather old news:http://en.wikipedia.org/wik…More and more, you see their “handiwork” and the arcane wikinistas arguing about them.
From your link:++Some examples of bots are: * User:SmackBot – corrects ISBN numbering, adds a date parameter to maintenance tags, adds missing reference sections and a variety of other tasks * User:Cydebot – generally carries out tasks associated with deletion * User:WP 1.0 bot – works with the Version 1.0 Editorial Team * User:OrphanBot – removes a particular set of images from articles * User:SineBot – signs comments left on talk pages * User:ClueBot – reverts vandalism * User:CorenSearchBot – checks for copyright violations on new pages++No TrotskyBot then?
Mlloyd, you nailed it. Although to me this is painstakingly obvious, others require careful hand-feeding. I wouldn’t waste more time trying to explain it.
I couldn’t think of anything interesting to add, so went to Google and found it. Here is an excerpt from America’s Library (for school kids). Excerpt and link:The First Transcontinental Telegraph System Was Completed October 24, 1861The Pony Express was outdated by the telegraph system, which was outdated by the telephone system, and now we have the Internet. Ask your family what they think is the fastest form of communication today and discuss what might come next.http://www.americaslibrary….
FunnyColbert started out his interview of Biz Stone by quoting the first words transmitted on the telegraph
Lenin said that in a revolution, the first thing you have to do is seize the telegraph post. That’s not necessarily progress. It’s just propaganda.
That’s because he was drunk.
As an illustrative plug, we’ve got the leading network for professional blogging of sports at SB Nation. Over 200 different sites, running on a common platform, but each covering a different professional or college team, league or sport from the perspective insightful fans. Our traffic growth is accelerating dramatically and while it primarily comes from direct navigation, we are increasingly discovered via search, twitter or sports verticals like Yahoo who want to make our content available to their broader audiences. The WSJ wrote an article on the trend of companies like ours and and Seeking Alpha last month: http://bit.ly/siep8
If I were Rupert, instead of bitching about google, I’d be buying seeking alpha and SB Nation and a bunch of other similar companies
Murdoch’s never been shy of acquisition when it comes to online. His earliest one was way back in 1993 – Delphi, the online service which was one of the first to offer connectivity to the Internet for consumers. He’s also had some smart advisors on the way (including Clay Shirky, of course, who consulted for Murdoch in the 1990’s as I remember).He’s not bitching: it’s just business. Never forget that 🙂
Good. That’s where this debate should be settled. In the market. Not the courts I hope
great post Fred. Agree with everything you say, which is rare for me.
Damn, I screwed up. I try to put a “mike won’t agree with this” in every post 😉
don’t sweat it boss. we all know that you’re still the better blogger, the top dog up in this piece!
This is Fantastic Fred – and you’re spot on – and the natural model of supply-demand means that everything moves to the lowest cost anyway – free. Clearly new models are needed, we’re in the middle of a transition because we are witnessing a clash of industries that were not designed to work with the systems in place in a modern world. There will be a balance eventually. Google is hardly the bad guy here.
I have always wondered if we can make just a little bit of information available to google, and not all of it, like a digest, not metatags.I can sound too old school, but to certain degree I guess that we all are allowing google to grow too much. Now they are facing a copyright agreement to gain access to all sorts of books. If information is power, google will become too much powerful. They are also starting to look like a monopoly.I love a lot of their services, don’t get me wrong, but Google is indexing and mapping all! All by the same company. And surely they can control what they serve. So it gives me some goosebumps to see just one company devouring it all. So Murdoch hit a spot there.
Thanks for your post. And don’t be so apologetic. Oh, and BTW, welcome to being the only other female on this thread — it’s so typically filled with swaggering male tekkies who enjoy the idea of something strong that they can identify with utterly trashing and destroying something that is in a weakened position. Despicable.
There’s a few women who participate in this community, but I wish there were more
“…it’s so typically filled with swaggering male tekkies…” I think you’re wrong. While I haven’t been as active as a commenter on this thread as I’d like to be (offline life makes its own demands), I have in the past commented, _not least because it is such an open, inclusive board_. And many times Fred has responded directly, invariably in a way that made me feel welcome and part of a trusted community. I really, really value that. (Thank you, Fred.)[**] It’s very different from what goes on in some other online communities.Re. “…utterly trashing and destroying something…” I’ve never seen that happen here. I’ve seen assumptions questioned, I’ve seen questions raised, I’ve seen topics elaborated. I have never seen “utter trashing” or “destruction.” [** =edit/addendum: there were responses from the others on occasion, all male, invariably on point and not destructive.]I guess we see what we want to see…
But I could use a few more female voices YuleThanks for being one of them
True, there could and should be more. Don’t know how many times I’ve gone over that territory of trying to figure out where we all are, and why we’re not here, but I still don’t have an answer. I see it locally, in my real-life community, too.
Yes, just a few. Any more might be terribly threatening!
Fancy meeting you here.
Hi John! 😉
I believe the issue here is not necessarily Google v. Murdoch, or new media v. old media, or “professional” v. user generated content. Those positions have atrophied around dopey slogans like “information wants to be free” (which was followed by “it also wants to be expensive”…).There seem to be two types of media at play here, and each is fighting for the money to finance it.”Primary media” or “primary content” is researched or written by a person (sometimes within an organization, like a newspaper). It represents a unique piece of information, point of view, or expertise. Its value might be from its timeliness (e.g. “breaking news”), persuasiveness (e.g. opinion), or knowledge (e.g. finance or science writing), among other things. Until recently, the traditional media has dominated the creation and monetization of primary media, mostly because the means of production and distribution require large organizations for financing. However, thanks to the magic of the internet, it has become much cheaper to produce certain kinds of primary media, and distribution can cost almost nothing.”Derivative media” relies on primary media for something to write about. Aggregators, scrapers, and news search are the most extreme type of derivative media (they couldn’t exist without primary media; they derive their value from its existence), but there’s a large gray area of blogs that are derivative of primary media to some extent. A Seeking Alpha or Business Insider article that simply reposts the meat of a WSJ article and says “Hmm, isn’t this interesting?” is derivative in a bad way; a post by Henry Blodget setting that article in a larger context or analysis informed by his experience and expertise is derivative in a good way.The thing is, primary media needs to get paid for somehow. Newspapers and most traditional media make lousy protagonists in this argument: their monopoly status for so long has made them fat, lazy and arrogant (as businesses). Yet there is a critical mass of primary content there that is essential to civic society, derivative media, and simple transparency that it’s irresponsible to say, “something will replace these dinosaurs.”
I think what the Huffington Post is doing with respect to financing investigative journalism is instructive in this regard. I am a market oriented thinker. I believe the market will figure this out.
Yes, except that Huffington Post, at its worst, simply expropriates content (and page views, and advertising dollars) from primary media–like at their Chicago site (http://bit.ly/7EJx)–weakening a better, “more primary” source so they can put a fraction of those dollars toward their own primary content creation efforts.Most primary media is like the plankton in an ecosystem–easy to ignore or take for granted, but the system collapses without it. Derivative media needs to figure out the care and feeding of that building block for their own good.
That is trueBut this is capitalism we are talking about hereNot many are doing and of this for the ‘greater good’ including the newspapers
That’s why I said, “their own good,” and also why I said it’s hard to sympathize with the newspapers. Their methods of production are too expensive for 90% of the content they produce. However, that content is the foundation for the derivative media, who can’t exist without the primary media’s work product.
I don’t agree that the content in the blogs is derivative mediaI tweeted about roger ehrenberg’s post on the bailout this morningThat post is not derivative in any way and is superior to anything I’ve read in the wsj in a long time
That’s an example of “derivative in a good way” or “primary media”–the distinction I drew above.
Great post, Fred. Newspapers can’t turn back the clock. While they want to point the finger at Google and craigslist, there are many other reasons for the declines in the newspaper business: * Consolidation among key advertisers. There used to be three or four different department stores in each major city, all of whom advertised in the paper. Now they’re nearly all Macy’s, reducing the number of potential ad buyers. The same has happened in the banking industry where many regional banks have been gobbled up. Many of the ad buying decisions that were previously made at a local level are now consolidated as well. * Demand for trackability. Advertisers and their agencies increasingly want to know how their ads are performing and newspapers don’t provide the level of tracking that online sites do. The key classified verticals — homes, autos and jobs — all have trackable online options. * Rise of information technology. Businesses can get to know their customers much better due to advances in computer technology. The airlines, banks, hotels, department stores and grocery stores I do business with know my buying habits. They can use that data to create targeted offers that will appeal to me. Harris Teeter, a regional grocery store chain, sends out an e-circular that highlights the items customers have bought in the past. These personalized offers can be delivered for little cost. * Competition from their own suppliers. Newspapers have long been aggregators. They get a lot of their content from other providers. Instead of relying on a newspaper for Dilbert, I can get it in my email every morning from the syndicate that distributes it. And because color is free online, I get full color seven days a week. * Rise of user-generated content. Anyone can be a publisher these days. Twitter is stealing mindshare 140 characters at a time from newspapers. It’s not just Twitter, of course. Many of the same experts that newspapers rely on to provide the content for their stories are bloggers as well. Although the average quality of news in newspapers is likely higher than the average quality of an article in the blogosphere, there are more experts in the blogosphere than there are in newsrooms. * Increasing cost of commodities. Producing and distributing a newspaper is very expensive. Subscriptions don’t cover the cost of newsprint and fuel. While these prices fluctuate, the general trend line is up. To cope with these increasing costs, newspapers have raised their subscription rates, further depressing the circulation that advertisers count on. * Increasing environmental consciousness. Consumers are increasingly going green and newspapers are no friend of the environment. Trees are cut down, turned into giant rolls of newsprint, shipped across country where massive energy guzzling presses print on them and are then distributed every morning by trucks. Then they have to be disposed of. (See my earlier post on hotels going green and requiring opt-in to newspapers.) * Decreasing density of newspaper subscribers. As a kid, I used to drag a pile of newspapers around in my red Radio Flyer wagon, going door-to-door delivering the paper to people’s doorsteps. With the decline in subscriptions, you really can’t do that anymore. The unit cost of distribution goes up as there are fewer subscribers. It also makes the paper less convenient: rather than getting it at your doorstep, it might be in a box at the curb. Getting to your laptop doesn’t require getting dressed and going outside.This is pasted from my blog post on the topic. The full version, with links, is here: http://blog.agrawals.org/20…
Google and craigslist made a big heist, yes.Online newspapers made a bad judgement call back even in the 1980s when they let the idea that computing costs dictated the need to provide news for free. It shouldn’t have.Er, there has always been an easy way to track advertising in newspapers: sales in that area lol.The fascination with the average user-generated content dims quickly.
There’s no heist involved in craigslist. They took something that newspapers were vastly overcharging for (classified ads) and made them free (with the exception of a few categories). The scarcity and the cost of distribution that newspapers relied on to value the classifieds went away with the advent of the internet.Newspapers did try to charge for content early on — I worked at Star Tribune Online back in 1994. We were hamstrung by a POS distribution system called Interchange. Others offered their content (for rev share) through AOL.
No. They overcharge themselves by comparison to free neighbourhood shoppers, which they killed off too by being online.Of course it’s a heist. It’s a deliberate destruction of private property. Fueled by prostitution, BTW.I’m all for Craigslist. I even got a job through it once. But…it’s a cultural wasteland. It’s destroyed the Village Voice more than it destroyed the Times, but it destroyed both ultimately, and didn’t leave a worthy edifice in its place.Sooner or later, somebody pays for everything that is “free”.AOL had the right idea. It will be back. Content producers need to get paid. They will push back.
== “AOL had the right idea. It will be back.” ==Wow. Well that would be quite the comeuppance. But, I’ll keep acquiring GOOG and leaving TWX on the table.
what is so wrong with at least entertaining the notion that the value destruction of those pieces of the Voice that you held so dear, may actually reappear or reconstitute or even evolve.I can site many examples of this ‘community’ void (that in some case i agree was taken) beginning to reconstitute itself.
Journalists and commentators and investigator reporters need to be PAID. Nat Hentoff at the Voice was PAID. The ads PAID FOR his salary, which probably wasn’t very high.Communities are a dime a dozen. They’re all over. You make them easily, you don’t even need the Internet, but of course any group is enhanced by the Internet.But a newspaper with news and coverage of communities and politics — that isn’t something you just “reconstitute” like frozen orange juice.Craigslist isn’t a community. It’s sterile, ultimately. It merely has ads, and the wacky things people write on the ads which is a kind of tabloid mini-newspaper all its own (Craig Newmark doesn’t get it when I call him a news outlet). But that’s not the reporting or the commentary of the voice. It’s just weird little micro-commentary. Sheering the news and views off the ads as Craigslist, and then killing the newspapers with that model, then enabling only a few people (like Craig) to get rich of it — that’s not a liberal democratic economy, that’s a communisty system with an oligarchy, like Russia.Who gets paid from Craigslist? Craig. And some people who get jobs from the list or sell stuff — but then, they’d get the same thing from their shopper or the Times in the end (you have to paw through a zillion US army ads and junky telemarketer jobs to find anything in many categories, something you don’t have to do in the Times classifieds).But with the NYT or any paper, it’s not just Craig that gets paid. The company can then meet some of its costs.The worst thing about these models is then to see people like Craig (and you, Fred) stumping off then to “reorganize” or “destroy” society’s institutions by your lights. Like Craig flapping on Twitter that Huffington is “saving” journalism because she’s putting a $1.7 million infusion into her left-wing blog and tarting it up with some “investigations” that will surely tilt to the left.
ok i am beginning to peel this onion of yours back. lets start with the voice as you have explained above.You miss the voice because it seems to me you miss ‘the entire package’ of what you would call professional reporting on communities, politics, classifieds and so on all in one place. Holding a product in your hand that a group spend their working week composing and compiling gives you a sense of security when combined with your built up trust for its authors coming from years of consistent quality journalistic execution. Is that fair?My dad loves his paper and i think that these are the reasons why.So now all this is gone and its replacement are disjointed microbites of sometime news blurbs who’s semantics have been removed. The glue that gave you the voice semantic – that ultimately endeared you to it is now absent. I can see that. I can especially see that if a persons understanding of technology (and more recent technology like RSS and so on) does not allow them to begin to re-patch this semantic back in a meaningful way (i don’t think this applies to you).Whats more entire swaths of the old institution are now being put out in the junkyard – the 5 or 6 unions representing print workers, entire classifieds departments – all the way up and down the distribution chain (drivers, mechanics and so on) are being hung up to dry by this uncoupling of these great institutions.but lets break this down before you rant on about accusing people like ‘us’ of destroying society, culture, community and the such. Last i checked a good journalist knew how to write, a driver to drive, and an editor to organize. these fundamental competencies are alive and well – they just don’t exist anymore under one umbrella because innovation has driven them apart. I read more great and wonderful journalism today online than i ever did when i picked up my morning paper. I seek out better deals from a wider audience and potentially better job opportunities through the use of better tools – and i don’t have to wade through the SWM seeking tricks in the park ads to get there.how exactly does that not improve my life?But what i still really don’t get with your position is this:Just because it was printed in the NYT means that i have to trust it? just because this editor sais so, its right? let me ask you whats more orwellian – all the news thats fit to print controlled by a room of editors (and don’t tell me about Murdoch and his agenda i grew up in London and had a front row seat to his editorial shenanigans) or freeing the news in a way that allows me to review FAR FAR greater context from a far wider audience in a far more efficient manner.Yes there may be transition – that might involve lost jobs, less context and a loss of a sense of community – but writers will still write, and drivers will still drive – and they will do that free and clear of the old way. A way that is broken because it did the very things you claim the new world is doing – like control (see murdoch and the editorial war room) or pricing (see why market forces exploded the classifieds model).at the end of the day its all moot – as the control has already moved and this train has left – as someone else mentioned – just ask rupert to block google – see where that gets him.
Did you read a lot of Derida and Chomsky in college?
not a single word of either
If you didn’t read Chomsky, etc. you still somewhere/somehow basically absorbed this Marxist meme about “the bourgeois media” being somehow some sort of “evil”.You also along the way absorbed this arrogant and superior posture that purports to “analyze and penetrate” to what “the news business actually is” as if applying the typical Marxist “critical” analysis.You try to attack a person for pointing out the obvious — that the news is a mainstream, valued product that helps civil society and commerce — and make it seem like they are “insecure” and “clinging to the security” of this “illusion”. In fact, however, you’re on Planet Whatever with this perspective, as most people simply appreciate what a newspaper is, hard copy or online, and use it every day, even taking for granted that it will “keep coming”.There’s also an illusion that there is some sort of “glue coming unstuck” because this or that newspaper failed (interesting that they tend to be the liberal and left newspapers, eh?) Maybe all of them will fail but…they didn’t yet. And meanwhile, they move on, they adapt, they try different things, and your notions about them are merely your notions, hardened in the past in some sort of wacky sectarianism.Unions and jobs began being dislocated 40 years ago during the move from “hot type” to “cold type” as they called computers back then. You were likely not around to remember this, as my father’s friend went from having a successful job selling “hot type” to having to drive the news delivery truck, and then lost even that job. I have been around to see many foreign news bureaus shut down and the news hole for foreign news simply shrink to almost nothing, with many papers taking only AP wire stories. This sector has been “in transition” and dislocating for ages.This idea that we can’t trust Bill Keller, managing editor of the Times, to tell the story, is one of those silly notions of the sectarian left — or wherever you are hanging your hat, it’s not clear. Of course he and the rest of the people in the operation can be trusted to tell the story. A room full of editors is in fact a great institution. They are skilled, practiced, experienced and they think about these things all day. Do you? No. There is nothing “broken” about this except your own perception of it. Your favourite media snacking devices in your readers or Twitters or whatever all have paths that lead back to this room full of editors — and give me THIS room full of editors ANY DAY OF THE WEEK over that unskilled, inexperienced, sectarian, unaccountable bunch who run the Wikipedia operation.Rupert may very well block Google, or think up something else. Like AP. It’s war, it needs to be fought, and that’s a good thing. Maybe we will come out with something better than the communistic destruction that the Internet engineers brought us with their utopian visions which have ultimately only destroyed value, not created it.
wow.sounds to me like its a generational thing now.i think you need to face up to the fact that people younger than you will consume their news in a very different way to that which you are so nobly defending.And yes they will all fail. right or left. because they didn’t move on, they didn’t adapt – that is a load of utter tripe. just yesterday the radio’s here in boston were buzzing on about the globe. One former reporter even said that their gravest mistake was ignoring boston.com and what it represented – until it was and is, now too late.
Hey Prokofy – you’re a card alright. Surprisingly for a translator, you’re amazingly profligate with your words. One of my best friends is a translator, but his communications would put Twitter to shame. His unconscious mind translates everything he writes into $$ signs – and if he ain’t getting paid for the copy, then he sees it as a big waste.Anyway, as unlikely as it may seem, I agree with you. Analog dollars really are being turned into digital cents. The market is now used to free, but free (apologies in advance) comes at a cost.That cost is professionalism. Whilst I don’t deny that many bloggers can contribute immensely to certain debates, and that their authority is not in doubt, they remain, alas, gifted amateurs.Just a you wouldn’t fly in a crowd-sourced airplane, or live next door to a nuclear plant designed by a bunch of bloggers, you really wouldn’t want to get your *news* (not rumours!!) from anything other than a professionally run news room.I think things will change. Free has been overdone. The internet will become like TV: ad funded for those who can either not afford, or have no interest, in paying for the net equivalent of HBO.
OK – i agree on quality – but i can still find it cant you?
Mark,This debate applies to much more than news and analysis. Think of any product that can be distributed in digital format. We are in the midst of an amazing upheaval – but, (cough) Prokofy is right – at the end of the day somebody is going to have to pay the ferryman. And I don’t think long-term it can be AdSense.Check out this:http://www.vanityfair.com/p…And tell me whether any blogger could have produced something of such complexity and wit.Journalism is a profession. End of.
I think Michael Lewis could easily produce something of such complexity and wit if he chose to blog. So could John Heilemann and Kurt Andersen and Steven Johnson. Most of them (other than Steven) choose not to blog. But if they did, they could do it and, I think, earn a nice income doing it too.
That’s not the point. Paul Simon sings just as good at a benefit concert. I can only talk about Micheal Lewis (having read a few of his books) – he left Solomon’s because he felt his vocation was to write. Write! Not work out how to maximize his PageRank. Could Hemingway have been as blogger? Or Kerouac? Let alone HS Thompson?I don’t know the answer to many of the questions raised in this discussion. But there’s a lot of “Brave New World” bravado – when, in reality, people really don’t have a clue how things will pan out.As always, however, it’s great that you initiate and promote such interesting debates.ps. the linked article is a fantastic read.
great read. thanksthis is not about journo’s its about distribution.this is a good read toohttp://www.nypress.com/arti…
Thanks, Taibbi is excellent. I thought his explanation of CDO’s in Rolling Stone recently was spot on.I know the discussion is about distribution, but my point is that the new model leaves fewer resources to attract and reward the likes of Lewis and Taibbi.
boy – it seems this discussion is now everywhere. Rupert got alot of conversation going on this.your point is valid – there was another discussion about the implosion of other ‘distribution challenged’ old economy businesses (see car industry) and how these lost jobs would be replaced. I dont see it. It does get me concerned.
…crowd-sourced airplane, or live next door to a nuclear plant designed by a bunch of bloggers…But think about open source software. The basis of it and still a lot of the product itself is crowd sourced, just among a highly-qualified crowd. If you don’t know about Intelipedia, it’s a crowd source for, you know national security/criminal intelligence. Again, not your average crowd. (They presented at Enterprise 2.0 last year. Total. Rock. Stars.)I wouldn’t dismiss this idea so quickly….you really wouldn’t want to get your *news* (not rumours!!) from anything other than a professionally run news room…Who here is actually around newspapers a lot? Who’s in PR? For many communities, the local daily is not the awesome resource that it is for, say, New York. It’s a lot of the wire service and it’s a lot of press releases. They tend to cover events after rather than before, like reporting on a city council meeting after it happened, rather than before to inform citizens so they could participate. You know, that whole democracy thing they’re always on about.In fact, a specific example in the CT Post (Fairfield County = advertising) was mentioned yesterday at that birthday party. By the president of a newspaper services organization. Much of the New York DMA has mediocre local coverage.Further down the food chain, say, Pawtucket, RI like on family guy, it’s just a joke. I routinely scoop my local. Have you heard about the I-95 bridge there that’s weight-restricted down to horse-and-buggy? This post is – and an email to make sure they knew – is what started it all. The fishwrap didn’t pick up the story until the RIDOT issued the first restrictions in a press release. And investigative journalism? What the hell is that?The newspapers are flabby and slow and weighed down by ridiculous debt. And before you dis tiny papers, my local was bought by “a Radler”. (Yes, content stolen from the Chicago Reader.)”A gifted amateur.” I like that.
I’m not defending newspapers (or printed media in general). Much of it is bloated, self-serving and mediocre. It is right that the industry be forced to adapt.Notwithstanding my comments regarding crowd sourced airplanes, I’m not dissing the blogging community. I get practically all of my tech news and analysis from blogs, for example.My main point is that quality needs to be paid for. It’s interesting you mention OSS, because the community is still figuring out a truly scalable open source business model.What I’m basically saying is the free/ad funded model will lead to lower average revenues for all involved, and, net of the admittedly lower distribution costs, will still leave less money to reward talent.It’s the same story for musicians, with the difference that journalists don’t perform live.
Do we think there is an answer to the “how do we get paid” in the ‘earned media” model?
I haven’t contributed so far to the debate here on ‘earned’ media because I don’t think I really get it. This is my fault and not yours – I definitely need to think about it more. However, since you asked, here are my half-baked thoughts:My initial reaction is that earned media doesn’t scale.When I was a nipper I bought the first album by U2 (October). At the time nobody had heard of them and so I was a U2 evangelist, receiving in the process not inconsiderable kudos from my school friends. Skip ahead two years, and even the squarest squares were into U2. So what did I do? I did what every other self-obsessed teenage musical snob does: I found some other fantastic band that nobody had ever heard of to follow.At the beginning, I used to post on Techcrunch, but when it got it really popular I stopped. I’m beginning to feel the same way about Twitter (sorry).The Taco Truck is earning media because it’s new and different. If McDonalds were to adopt the Taco Truck model then people would soon get bored with the whole concept.I think the idea of earned media is valid for start-up or niche businesses – which I suppose is the whole point. If I understand your view of the future correctly, you see value flowing from a limited number of monolithic enterprises to a large number of much smaller, agile businesses. In this context, the whole notion of Super Bowl ads does, indeed, make no sense.As to whether there is an opportunity for other similarly agile companies to come in and offer earned media services (which I think was your initial question) – well I just don’t know.It’s almost as if we’re going through a reverse industrial revolution – where notions such as economies of scale, purchasing power, etc are being turned on their heads.A little bell keeps going off in my head which is telling me that this crazy revolution which is unfolding all around us just doesn’t make economic sense. In other words, analog dollars really are being turned into digital cents. It’s like anti-capitalism (which is not the same thing as communism).So I’m slightly wary of getting too carried away with the revolution. As the once enthusiastic marchers in St Petersburg found out to their cost, change is not always for the better.
You are like me, always looking for the next thing, never satisfied for the current thingThat’s a great trait but it makes us early to arrive and early to leaveWhich is not always the best way to invest in and exploit trendsI’ve worked hard to get to parties later and stay later
It’s not the average UGC that mattersIt’s the best UGC and there is a lot of it and growing every day
This is a great summary of the challenges of the print side of the newspaper business
Fred, I think we should distinguish between types of news. In this context, there are two types:1. Easy stuff: Stories that the “media savvy” subjects of the story want told.2. Hard stuff: News the story subjects don’t want told, or where the subjects aren’t media savvy enough to put it out there. Most often sole press source.Tech press generally, along with anything where there is a Press Release, or a news conference is #1. And frankly thats not news, it is information. It isn’t pure noise, but it isn’t #2 either. If there are 30 reporters in the room, the “content” created by each is pretty much worthless, by your own standards. Everybody’s got it, so yep, it can and will be found everywhere.#2 is the kick ass stuff we long for, it is hard news, it is exclusives, and bloggers generally as a class haven’t come close to figuring it out. Niche verticals or not.This isn’t about newspapers, in the paper form, it is about paid staffs of local reporters tasked with ferreting out local stories. Local events will always matter to us more. And they are often sole source by feature of geography.Finally, one qualifier, it is about gatekeeping exclusives, so that when you have one, only certain paying customers get to know about it, and have time to make use of the information to their own benefit.
There’s a lot of “kick ass stuff” being done in tech, politics, and finance in the blogsThe other verticals will follow
They’ll only follow, though, if there’s a business model to support them. The question is whether, with Google taking the lion’s share of ad revenue in *every* sector, such business models can exist.I think that’s an open question, and without access to some pretty detailed traffic and ad-revenue analysis from popular sites, I think any answer is going to be guesswork.
Making money in the new model requires a radically different cost structure. I am sure that techcrunch, gawker, allthingsD (a wsj owned property), and many other blogs make money
Here’s where I believe you’re confusing the issue. TechCrunch, Gawker, allthingsD and many other blogs are primary media of a new sort. They do have a different cost structure and exploit that to make money by challenging the traditional primary media (e.g. print media).The issue in your original post is about derivative media, particularly the kind that sucks the ad dollars out of the air for primary media by repurposing it without adding much value to it.
From my time in the search business, I guarantee you that GOOG is not making a whole lot of money on the search terms that drive traffic to Rupert’s news properties.The guys who should be complaining are the Travel, Dating, and Finance companies because that’s where the bulk of the search revenue comes from. But they are too busy counting the dollars from the traffic that GOOG sends them to worry about it.Online newspapers suffer most from not having targetable content to monetize. What ads are relevant to a story about Obama giving a speech in Germany? And as Fred points out, they also suffer from losing traffic to formidable competition in the form of user generated sources.
That’s a very good point, Dave, but I think you’re missing part of the picture. When the search does, in fact, match up to something on a news property, who gets the first bite of the cherry on serving an ad up? Google does, of course.Effectively, Google is ensuring that it has the first and best opportunity to serve up a relevant ad. The price for the traffic that it sends to a site is having prime position for an ad. To use an analogy from the print world, it’s like an ad agency offering to distribute your magazine for free, as long as they could have the inside front cover ad slot (the highest-yielding space in a print magazine).Even if the search volume on appropriate terms isn’t high, it’s still getting that first bite at the cherry.Of course, from Google’s perspective there’s nothing wrong with that – in fact, its entire business model is based on it. But it effectively means that it’s using content as the carrot to get the customer’s eyeballs, while paying nothing to the content provider. Quite why anyone would imagine that the content provider wouldn’t want an in on that rather sweet deal, I don’t know.People need to remember, this is all business, not religion. Google is company, not a tribe.
Ian – this is a great discussion but I would argue that google pays for the content with the traffic it drivesI challenge the wsj to turn off the google traffic.Then we’ll see what really givesI am no google fanboy. They are dangerous if left uncheckedBut let’s fight them on a playing field that’s based on the realities of the market instead of wishes for a bygone day
Exactly. The point to keep in mind is that without understanding the behaviour of search-related traffic to the WSJ (or anyone) we can’t really know if Google is a positive or a minus for Murdoch’s balance sheet.
how much traffic does google drive to WSJ? seriously, I’m ignorant – is there any public data on this?
Comscore could tell you
Firstly, I think Ian’s comment is exactly spot on (and what I came away with from reading Wolff’s biography) – I believe there is an agenda behind Murdoch’s comments.Robert Thomson’s (editor-in-chief of Dow Jones/managing editor of The Wall Street Journal) inflammatory quotes in today’s Australian goes to further that:”There is a collective consciousness among content creators that they are bearing the costs and that others are reaping some of the revenues — inevitably that profound contradiction will be a catalyst for action and the moment is nigh…There is no doubt that certain websites are best described as parasites or tech tapeworms in the intestines of the internet.” http://www.theaustralian.ne…At the same time copyright collection services are coming in from the side attempting to stake out space.I’m expecting moves and flexing in this space. No I don’t think they’ll abandon Google as it drives impressions, but I think WSJ with it’s quasi open depending on whether you come in directly or not is smart. There are plenty of aggregators coming into the space that basically use other site’s content to serve the whole story without even driving traffic – these are Thomson’s tapeworms.In terms of Murdoch’s (or other media properties) real competition being user generated content I think it comes down to compelling content. I can’t see myself replacing my reading of the NYTimes, The Australian or WSJ entirely with user generated content any time soon. I value what I get from reading them and it’s something that I often couldn’t get elsewhere whether that be exclusives, investigative pieces or otherwise. Those are things that are hard to get without brand, journalistic nouse or money behind you.That said I also won’t stop reading the blogs like yours as I find it has compelling (but this is key here – different) content to the news sites. I enjoy reading your opinions and those of my fellow readers that comment.Out of anyone Murdoch gets content, whether that be Fox (I’m not praising it, just saying he understands it’s audience), The Daily Telegraph, The Australian, The Times or The Wall Street Journal. Compelling can be in the eye of the beholder, but it definitely isn’t regurgitating press releases or echoing news that’s everywhere else. The media properties in danger are those without compelling content or without enough cash in the kitty to hold them through an advertising drought whilst still keeping on producing compelling content (I dearly hope NYTimes has enough cash in the kitty).Last thought in reply to Dan: I don’t think Murdoch overpaid for Myspace or Dow Jones. He’s strong on strategic plays. Google ad deal aside, the Myspace deal played a big part of changing the perception that News/Murdoch didn’t ‘get’ online – it was transformative. In terms of Dow Jones, one only has to look how heavily Murdoch is driving the WSJ brand into Asia/the rest of the world to see he gets it and is leveraging the formidable WSJ brand to the hilt.
I stopped reading the wsj years ago and it has not cost me at all. I do click thru occasionally to a link I see on a ‘tapeworm’ thoughIf it were not for the parasites, I would never read the wsj
Your loss. Seems like an ignorant practice.
Ignorant practices are good for the ignorant. We like them.
Newspapers are addicted to pageviews. The only advertising they are able to sell is based on as many impressions as they can get. And so Google news isn’t going anywhere soon, because it delivers impressions, and a lot of them.Eventually, as the newspapers adapt, they’ll learn that they need to make money on their regular audience, not on the random people who visit once. They’ll learn to sell this audience to their advertisers and advertisers will learn that they don’t need to reach millions of people, just the few who will buy their services/products.At that point, the newspapers won’t need google news and maybe won’t need Google at all… and we’ll have a nice fight on our hands.Until then, the addiction to google news, digg, etc will only get worse for the newspapers.
Adaptability seems to be the undercurrent in this discussion, or lack of it, rather. The game is changing, whether its right or wrong. As bad as piracy is, it happened, and the music business failed to adapt. Saturn had the perfect opportunity to innovate and deliver a fuel efficient car, but because they were so tied up in the current way of doing business, they got lapped by the toyota prius. Now, all of these newspapers still have some brand and cache left, but instead of fighting to keep things the way they are, they should adapt, embrace the new model. They still get serious traffic. Why don’t they just figure out a way to integrate blog and user generated content, as long as it’s properly sectioned off or marked appropriately? Instead of fighting google, make themselves the aggregator. there is no good reason why wsj can’t do what seekingalpha is doing, other than hubris and stubbornness (and those aren’t good reasons, if you’re keeping score). This feels like when the British used to line up in combat, and were so angry at the Americans for running around and shooting from behind trees, and the British kept shaking their fists at how the Americans weren’t playing by the rules.
spot onadapt or die.i still read the globe – i just read it at Boston.comwe saw this with the music business – people taking their ball and running home – that ended in the control freaks suing the industries customers – a likely outcome in this one too.
It’s always great to make judgements on when *other people* and not yourselves can “adapt or die”.Did YOU do anything to “adapt or die” today? Maybe you aren’t exempt?And you may well be wrong. There’s quite the backlash against the entire Freetard Republic mentality these days, and the music business is actually doing just fine selling music instead of just letting it be stolen. Not over yet. Not by a long shot.AND you don’t get to determine what evolution is or does. It’s beyond you. Stop pretending you can see long swathes of history or the future. You can’t.
“music business doing fine” – ????”evolution” – you are reaching now. you actually feel the need to smackdown that comment i made?hmm lets see – no i dont have a f**kin crystal ball. it was a figure of speech. If you need help with that go read on wiki.
Great analogyIt’s been done to us too, in Vietnam and Iraq and afghanistan
There’s a very fundamental problem for the newspaper industry if they go down this path: facts cannot be copyrighted. It is and will remain perfectly legal to summarize a news story.Here, newspapers are in a worse position than the music industry was. In music, it’s the expression of content that has the value. And those expressions are subject to copyright. In news, the primary value is in the facts.
Jumping in late here but I wonder if Murdoch’s comments are being too narrowly viewedI think he was talking not about News Corp, but about all companies like News Corp, all companies who create original reporting and content (versus those who simply aggregate and distribute same, e.g. Google)so i think murdoch’s point was/is, if all such companies banded together (legally?) then all the aggregators would simply have little if anything to aggregate link to. and then what would happen?also, fred, your example doesn’t hold up in that scenario — Of course, WSJ would go away, and so would Forbes. But likely so also would SeekingAlpha — it does a great job (I love that site!) offering blog-like opinion nd research pieces. But as for news, it is an aggregator. And of what? Big surprise, traditional news organizations like the WSJ, ABC, MarketWatch, Forbes etcIn any case, I for one hope Murdoch and others do pull up the drawbridges — this debate has been going on for sooooooooooo long (15 years and counting) that the only way to resolve it is for the big content/news producers to actually try to band together and either force the aggregators to do some kind of payments or revenue share, or else lose the argument once and for all, and either continue in their businesses with razor thin margins or quit
This statement is so wrong steve”then all the aggregators would simply have little if anything to aggregate link to”Traditional media probably creates less than 10% of all the content on the web and probably less than 50% of the quality content
Ok I stand correctedBut then, again, I hope murdoch et al raise the drawbridge and lets all see what resultsOtherwise this debate simply continues ad infinitum
I sort of share you hopesBut that will cause them to become irrelevant online and shortly after irrelevant everywhere
C’est la guerreBut at least this age old debate with all the ensuing flaming rhetoric willfinally be resolved
danny sullivan said i better than me: “this debate is ancient and seemingly neverending. time to put up or shut up”http://daggle.com/090406-22…
And you know where danny thinks it will end up
I’m less convincedBut I’m wayyyy ready to find out
I think we already know.What percent of internet audience is on so called “quality sites”And what is the shape of the audience curvesTake these pages our of search and the decline will be even more dramatic
I think we already know.What percent of internet audience is on so called “quality sites”And what is the shape of the audience curvesTake these pages our of search and the decline will be even more dramatic
I’m waiting for the Watergate Web moment, where investigative journalism takes off on the Internet. Will it be Huffpo or one of the other players out there? I think it will be someone new and scrappy and you will see investigative journalists abound…and everyone will contribute. A million Deep Throats. Imagine the impact on government and corporations.
I feel it happening in tech already
Fred,I think the phrase is “I couldn’t care less.”Unless you meant that you could.
Good catchMaybe it’s a Freudian slip
It seems to me if that most of the bloggers and UGC depends on the core news services to spark the creation of content. If the core news services would work together they could get a handle on this. Not a perfect one but a much better one then they have now, at least as good as the music and movie business has.
Not so much in tech nowAnd less so in finance
Prokofy, strongly suggest you read “Here Comes Everybody” by Clay Skirky. Newspapers are not a necessity…JOURNALISM is a necessity. Newspapers are a happy accident that lasted for hundreds of years and thus became an institution that some think HAVE to exist. THey don’t. They can be replaced by something. I say they are an accident b/c at one time, if WalMart wanted to place a print ad the newspaper was the only option. The paper then used the revenue from that ad to fund the Baghdad desk. Walmart had no interest in funding the Baghdad desk but the paper was the only option. With the internet, there are other options and the newspaper revenues have dried up. The decline and obsolescence of the newspaper industry was inevitable from the dawn of the internet age. Those stubbornly holding onto it are no different from the scribes who kept hand-writing books long after the invention of the printing press.Not familiar with the scribes…for hundreds of years they held long-esteemed positions within the clergy. Their primary skill was the ability to read and write. They used this to produce hand-written books. However, when the printing press was created anyone with one could do in a few minutes what it took days for a Scribe to do. Overnight they were rendered obsolete. Yet, they continued to exist for decades after the printing press.THose trying to hold onto the newspaper today are the scribes of yesterday. The digital revolution is indeed a revolution because long-existing institutions (like newspapers) will be rendered obsolete. What will replace them? Who knows? Today it is easy to see what life was like before and after the printing press….but the transition took over 100 years. We are in a time of transition…revolution. And…in any revolution there will be losers.
Hey Fred, I thought it was a great article and I love visiting your blog to see whats new. Keep up the great work! cheers!