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New Consortium Says If Others Can Monetize Better Than We Can... We Deserve Their Money?

from the please-explain dept

We've pointed out in the past how silly it is to be worried about various spam/scraper sites that take content from sites (including ours) and repost it on their own. Those sites never add any real value, but just repost the content. They get no significant traffic and retain no real audience. They tend to come and go pretty quickly. Worrying about them is a total waste of time (time that can be used making sure your own site is more valuable). Yet, apparently a group of publishers has put together a "Fair Syndication Consortium" that has decided that rather than go after these sites directly, it will simply try to get the ad networks that serve ads on such sites to hand over some money to the original content creators. As far as I can tell, that's basically the content creators saying "well, if others can monetize our content better than we can, we deserve some of that cash."

That makes no sense to me. If you can't monetize your own content better than other sites, you don't deserve to be in business. If other sites are actually getting traffic and ad revenue that you think you deserve, it means you're doing a bad job giving people a real reason to visit your site and to interact with your community. Simply demanding money from the sites that have done things better makes no sense. Of course, the reality is that most of these sites haven't done things better, and don't make any money. So the whole grandstanding seems rather wasted effort.

Focus on making your own site worth visiting. Stop worrying what others are doing with your content.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Rob R., Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 5:37am

    GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME

    This is yet another example of the new American dream. Entitlement.

    I'm too lazy, stupid, inept, or just pathetic, so you need to just give me what I want. I don't care if you worked your ass off for it, give it to me cause I want it and you have it.

    That used to be called robbery. Now it's a right?

    Sorry, all you entitlement losers can blow me. For free.

     

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  2.  
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    Capitalist John, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 5:37am

    I love it!

    I'm a stage hypnotist... so, by that philosophy, I should go to every comedy stage hypnotist who books a show in my area and tell them I want a cut, because they could market their shows in my own area better than I can!

    That's awesome! Now, if only I could patent it... =)

     

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  3.  
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    mrshl, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 5:50am

    That's a bit of muddled thinking isn't it? As you admit, these sites 1) don't add value, 2) aren't actually monetizing content in a way that's BETTER than the creators, since you acknowledge these sites don't make any money. Publishers are making some, just not enough to be profitable. If by better, you mean the splogs are profitable, I guess that's true. But they're illegal free riders, so they're profitable by definition.

    Individual splogs aren't making much money, of course. But if there's an efficient way to collect monies from Google and Yahoo, the aggregate amounts received could be substantial.

    I think you've been a bit of a knee jerk here. Assuming the consortium can reliably, and automagically, identify splogs (as they've been doing), and the obvious legal kinks can be worked out (perhaps through ToS amendments), this approach seems like a clever, market-based approach to the problem in which interested actors are using incentives to set private policy that maximize wealth, without the kind of rent-seeking activity that would result in a tax.

    In this approach, as I read it, it sounds as though both the splogs and Google would retain some of the revenue. Is that the way you read it as well? If so, it sounds much more realistic than the harebrained schemes we typically hear from wronged publishers.

    As a loyal Techdirt reader, I admit I'm skeptical of the usual attempts to collect what's "rightfully" owed, but in the case described, the rights are clear and the means are potentially quite efficient. There's the chance this program could morph into a behemoth that bludgeons fair use. But that, to me, is a separate issue.

     

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  4.  
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    Tgeigs, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 6:04am

    "automagically"

    I LOVE that word. It makes me think of a H. Potter carbine repeater pistol or something...

    It contains a fifty curse clip able to "newt" over thirty people in a crowded area in under a minute...

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Overcast, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 6:15am

    If other sites are actually getting traffic and ad revenue that you think you deserve, it means you're doing a bad job giving people a real reason to visit your site and to interact with your community.

    Yes - thank you, it's called competition. All the patents, trademarks, copyrights, and intellectual property rights in the world won't ever make up for a product's marketability and value to the customer.

    I wonder - how many patents are out there for devices that no one would ever care to use.

    And you're 100% right - you know, oddly, it was like that with news for me. I'd go to this site and that site... and most of the articles were from the AP or Reuters anyway - so... I just started going right to those sites and skipping the middleman. Patent/Copyright/Fair Use aside.

    Of course now; I think I've wizened up a bit and found most of the real news worth reading isn't "published" by the "official" news sources anyway. Of course; I'm pretty cynical...

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 6:32am

    Re: Mrshl's comment

    I agree with Mrshl's comment. Suppose I am getting 90% of the traffic and another site is getting 10% by doing nothing but ripping off my content and supplying a different set of keywords and ads. There is nothing really wrong with wanting a piece of that 10%. The really big danger in this is that this program would grow into a monster licensing agency that ends up keeping all of the money as a "service" to content provider.

    Most modern businesses see anyone using their content as stealing. The above 90%/10% argument would make perfect sense to RIAA-style businesses, and in this case they would probably be within their rights. However, there is another way that they should look at it. Suppose they have 1000 visits per hour. A ripoff site pops up and starts drawing 100 customers per hour. The question is, does the original site keep pulling in 1000 customers per hour? It is very, very likely that the ripoff site is drawing from a very different pool of customers. Let's say that this isn't the case, and the original site's users drop to 950 per hour (in other words, 50% draw off). If the original site was better, then most of those customers should come back, so we are back up to 990. Some of the people who are drawn off will actually discover the original site and switch over there, so this actually results in 1015 visits per hour. That is a win for the original site because the ripoff site has been advertising for them. Now if the original site gets worried about the ripoff site and says "We need to improve our site to hold off the competition" their readership increases well above their original 1000 visits. Perhaps I am living in fantasy world on this, but it seems to me that sites like Techdirt have done quite well with it.

     

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  7.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 6:51am

    Re:

    "I wonder - how many patents are out there for devices that no one would ever care to use."

    Far too many.

    "I just started going right to those sites and skipping the middleman."

    That's part of how I found Techdirt. I chose to keep coming here because they provide the anonymous posting.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 7:02am

    "If you can't monetize your own content better than other sites, you don't deserve to be in business."

    fine for sites like techdirtbecause even if others did take your content (and you give no evidence !) the value of your site derives from the others who provide comments and lure more eyeballs.

    Unfortunately if you puteffort into the actual content as othere sites do, and someone takes it then they have taken the part you want to monetize. When other people take this content they generally don't actually try to monetize it, but just use it to attract attenion to other things that can be monetized.

    If someone actually knew how to monetize actual content (including music) they would make a fortune, unfortunately no one does, the industry is in trouble and the Masnicks and their ilk blog around the confusion and monetize that,but if someone solves the real problem you'll be out of business.

     

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  9.  
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    chris (profile), Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 7:07am

    Re: "automagically"

    that term is stolen, someone needs a cut of your money:

    http://www.catb.org/~esr/jargon/html/A/automagically.html

     

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  10.  
    icon
    MadJo (profile), Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 7:12am

    Re:

    Wait, hold on.. you are saying that this site doesn't put effort in its actual content? Either you are a troll, or you are delusional.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    lulz, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 7:30am

    Re:

    Two things.
    1) There's a big long key on your keyboard. It's called "the space bar". You should use it.

    2)"Unfortunately if you puteffort into the actual content as othere sites do, and someone takes it then they have taken the part you want to monetize."

    So, you're saying... don't put effort into your content because if other sites take it they're taking your money-- but wait!

    "When other people take this content they generally don't actually try to monetize it."

    So they want to steal your content because it's woth something. -- Buuuut wait!

    "just use it to attract attenion to other things that can be monetized" And "If someone actually knew how to monetize actual content (including music) they would make a fortune, unfortunately no one does"

    So they want to use stolen content to make money on something they don't know how to make money on?

    Think on it.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    bigpicture, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 8:25am

    Re: GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME

    There's another way to describe it. "Unbridled Greed" and "Corruption" from the top to the bottom. And they are still wondering why the economy tanked? They still think the economy runs on Greed, and to hell with honest deals and value.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 9:38am

    Re: Re:

    If you trying to monetise the content, and someone takes it you've got a problem !. The fact that techdirt doesn't care shows they don't monetize the content, instead they monetise the responses from you and me and since we always put it directly here other sites can't erode the business model.

    Think on it.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Sneeje, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 9:51am

    Re: Re: Mrshl's comment

    Except that the implicit assumption is that there is a defined 100% that is split among participants, which is entirely wrong.

    You get some traffic and they get some traffic--there is probably some relationship between those eyeballs, but I would be willing to bet it isn't simple or even able to be described.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Sneeje, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 9:58am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, and your problem is that you have an ineffective business model.

    Take another example... if you try to sell a physical product that is easily copied... you will not be successful if you focus on the product itself--you focus on the brand or continuous innovation right? That's why more expensive brands still sell successfully in grocery stores next to generics or low-cost brands. It is because people perceive some other value in the product beyond the price-point.

    The same applies here--if you produce online content that is easily copied/used/stolen/whatever, and try to compete solely on that basis, you will fail.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Rafael Junquera, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 10:10am

    Advertising is the key

    I agree that you should focus on your own site, specially if you are the one providing value. However, if your content is being updated somewhere else for free, and lets say, 10 sites replicate you own website with your content and content from others, they can spend their time negotiating better advertising deals with agencies because they do not have to worry about producing content. So while you are working hard to create attractive content, others use it to monetize on it, thus doing a better job at attracting money because they have more resources than you on the selling side, while offering exactly the same type of content.

     

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  17.  
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    Mike (profile), Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 10:23am

    Re:

    Unfortunately if you puteffort into the actual content as othere sites do, and someone takes it then they have taken the part you want to monetize.

    First, we put a tremendous effort into the content here. It's rather insulting to suggest otherwise. If we didn't put effort into the content, then why would anyone come read it.

    And it's not about what anyone *wants* to monetize. It's about what you can monetize.

    When you say things like that, it's like saying, "well, I built this cardboard box. It took me a long time, and I want to monetize it by selling it for $60,000." You're trying to market something no one will buy.

    No one cares about what you *want* to monetize. They care about what is actually monetizable.

    You seem to have a lack of understanding of basic business models, and you cover it up, every day with insults directed at me. Is that really the most efficient use of your time?

    If someone actually knew how to monetize actual content (including music) they would make a fortune, unfortunately no one does, the industry is in trouble

    Someone obviously hasn't been paying attention. Lots of people have figured out how to monetize content, and more money is being made today doing so than ever before.

    But some anonymous guy can't figure it out so he likes to attack people who explain it to him.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Dudchucker, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 10:48am

    Not with you on this one

    I normally agree with TechDirt's conclusions but I whoeheartedly disagree on this one. Take the phrase "if others can monetize our content better than we can, we deserve some of that cash." It doesn't matter how well someone is monetizing whatever content. If they didn't create it or legally acquire rights to it, they shouldn't be allowed to divert whole chunks of income away from those who DID create that content or legally acquire rights to it. In the music biz, someone can record and sell a previously-distributed song that I wrote without getting my permission BUT there is a compulsory that forces them to pay me a portion of the profit they make by doing so. Maybe that's what we need, a statuatory literary compulsory rate?

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 11:53am

    Re: Re:

    "First, we put a tremendous effort into the content here..."
    I didn't say you put in no effort, but to claim it is a "tremendous effort" is flattering yourself !.

    "....It's about what you can monetize."
    You obviously missed the point - techdirt don't monetize the content you create, but the content other people contribute.
    If someone aggregated your content and other better stuff, and allowed comments the way you do you would not be saying "Worrying about them is a total waste of time...".

    "When you say things like that, it's like saying..."
    I'm saying no such thing, which you would have understood if you had put in any effort at all!.

    "No one cares about what you *want* to monetize." well you do if you want to e.g be a musician and make your living as a musician (and you don't want to be a marketing guy or a blogger because you want to be a musician).

    "Lots of people have figured out how to monetize content, and more money is being made today doing so than ever before." well that depends how you measure it, but there is no dispute that lots of content industries are in trouble.

    "...so he likes to attack people who explain it to him."
    I didn't attack you. You like to flatter yourself !!.

     

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  20.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 22nd, 2009 @ 11:09pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I didn't say you put in no effort, but to claim it is a "tremendous effort" is flattering yourself !.


    No. I work 18 to 20 hours a day. I do a ton of extra research and talking to people, reviewing content. If you don't think that's a tremendous effort, then I don't know what to say. It's rather insulting that you think I don't put tremendous effort into this site. If you don't like it, go somewhere else.

    You obviously missed the point - techdirt don't monetize the content you create, but the content other people contribute.

    I'm not sure what you mean at all. What do you mean we don't monetize the content we create? We absolutely do.

    well you do if you want to e.g be a musician and make your living as a musician (and you don't want to be a marketing guy or a blogger because you want to be a musician).

    You are a very confused individual. We've shown exactly how musicians are making money, even if it's not getting paid directly for the music. That's the same with written content. You can monetize the content even if it doesn't mean getting paid directly for the content.

    I didn't attack you

    You come here every day and make false, inflammatory or insulting comments directed at me (referring to me as "the Masnicks" which is insulting and wrong).

    The fact that you appear unable to comprehend basic economics is your loss. But, please, don't waste our time.

     

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