How Dare You Make My Content More Accessible!

from the missing-the-big-picture dept

There are a few interesting arguments going on in the blog world lately, and while not all of them are directly related, there's a common theme. Services that are trying to make certain websites more accessible are getting slammed by bloggers who are accusing these services of "stealing" content or (my personal favorite) leading to the "loss of potential revenue." What it all comes down to is (oh no, not this again) money and control. It may sound familiar to those of you who have been following the mess that is the entertainment industry, but now that some bloggers are looking to make money, the same disease is happening there. Here are two quick examples. A service called Skweezer is trying to make websites easier to view on mobile devices by "skweezing" out extraneous content on the fly. Here's Skweezed Techdirt, for example. For mobile users, this is pretty cool. They can see the sites they visit without the slow downloads. Of course, sometimes this means without the ads, as well -- and that's got some bloggers screaming away. In another example, a legal blogger has demanded that web-based RSS aggregator Bloglines remove his RSS feeds from their service, because Bloglines is expected, at some point, to put targeted ads into the service. Both of these are cases of myopic decisions that are likely to do more harm than good. The reason these offerings exist is that they help more people access the content in question. If people are using them, that means the sites in questions are lacking a feature their users want. These new services have come to the rescue -- but, like with the music industry, the content owners simply freak out, rather than (a) being happy that someone has done the hard work for them or (b) offering a similar service themselves. The response, of course, is that it's not just about these services making content easier to access, but the fact that they're also adding their own ads -- leading to the inevitable charge of "profiting off the content of others." Of course, that's wrong. They're not profiting off the content of others (if they're profiting at all). They're profiting off of the ability to provide a useful service that makes your content more valuable to the end users. Why aren't these same people freaking out that Google indexes their site, makes it findable and (gasp! oh no!) puts text ads along the results page? If you hadn't figured it out by now, the name of the game is providing what your customers or readers want or they'll just go elsewhere. If a site won't let me view the content in the best way for me, then why should I bother visiting it at all? In the meantime, we're happy to get as many visitors as we can here at Techdirt, so if you prefer to read us via Skweezer or Bloglines or some other service that makes it easier, please, go right ahead. Thanks to the folks at Skweezer, Bloglines and others for making our content more accessible to people in formats they'd prefer.

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  1. icon
    Mike (profile), 19 Jan 2005 @ 10:13am

    Re: yer kiddin' me, right!??

    The problem is, if I have content, that I make money on with either advertising or in some other method, and some other site takes that content, strips my ads, and puts in their own, then I lose that revenue.
    Sure...I get more publicity, but if there's very little difference between getting MY content from ME or getting it from THEM...why would they even bother coming to me? Hence, I lose my rent.
    Of course, if you COULD find a way to drive those people back towards your site somehow, then sure...but I can totally see why people are complaining like this as turning that extra publicity into revenue isn't always easy or obvious.

    If you're the original provider of the content, why WOULDN'T they go with you? Most people prefer to go to the actual source -- unless someone else is providing your content in a better format, which means you're not doing a good enough job marketing to them.

    Anyway, I don't believe the phrase "lost revenue." Lost revenue is a choice. Lost revenue is a marketing mistake. It just means you didn't convince someone to spend on you instead of someone else. If people are going somewhere else instead of your site, then *you* failed to get them to your site. Don't blame the competition for being better than you.

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