Mistaking Content For Services Again

from the keep-it-straight... dept

The NY Times is running an article about how the return of internet advertising, combined with the highly sought after demographic info of those who play fantasy sports games online means that the entrance fees are getting pushed down, as advertising or indirect business advantages are more than making up for the difference. For example, Best Buy is now offering a fantasy sports service for free under the belief that it encourages users to watch more television, in which case they’re more likely to want a newer, better television — possibly from Best Buy. While that may seem like a fairly weak connection, if they do sell a few more TVs maybe it pays for itself. However, my real issue in mentioning this article is that it (once again) confuses content with services. The beginning of the article keeps talking about how fantasy sports leagues are one of the “success stories” for paid content. That’s incorrect. No one signs up for a fantasy sports league for “content.” All of that content is available for free. They’re signing up for the service of organizing it and letting them manage the teams and communicate with others in the league. We’ve pointed to this confusion many times before — and it’s important to make the distinction, because too many sites think these things mean they can charge for online content, when most of the success stories online are companies charging for services.

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