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.

Filed Under: monetizing content, plagiarism, scraping, syndication
Companies: fair syndication coalition

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 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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