Friday, September 23rd, 2011

"Syndication" and the Shoddy Currency of Linkage

My article about Business Insider has already had more than 3 times as many pageviews as Business Insider sent me since 2009.Fri Sep 23 16:09:36 via Twitter for Mac

We wrote here a year-and-a-half ago about the new use of the term "syndication." While that used to mean "getting paid by publications to reprint writing," it has now come to mean "not getting paid by publications to reprint writing." We wrote that some "sites, which make a good deal of money, now are trying to have two tiers of writers. There's the ones they pay (some well, some less well) and then there's everyone else, who now they don't pay at all." Instead, you get paid in a link.

Now, here's an analysis by Marco Arment of what being "syndicated" in this way has meant to him—specifically, syndicated by Business Insider, which just took in $7 million in additional funding this week, which is, in my modeling, about $6 million more in funding than a healthy editorial property should be taking on. But Marco, who's the developer of Instapaper, publishes his work under a Creative Commons license, so anyone can "syndicate" his work just with credit. His conclusion was that this syndication process was worth pretty much nothing to him. And then… Business Insider syndicated his critical post. And then they took it down. UPDATE: Pop some popcorn, because Business Insider swipes back! God, what did we used to do for fun before all these people and their WEB DRAMAS? I mean, probably we bought books at local bookstores that are going out of business.

4 Comments / Post A Comment

jfruh (#713)

"Now, all that said, we have a question for you… Instapaper is built largely on scraping the content of publications like Business Insider, BusinessWeek, or the New York Times. You take long form content, strip it of ads, then serve it to the reader in a nice clean format. It's awesome! We love Instapaper. (Heck, it's on the front screen of my iPhone.) But how do you reconcile accusing us of mass republication with the fact that your business is built on mass republication? Especially since there's a reason BusinessWeek, et al chop up their stories in pages, and you want people to do 1/3 as many clicks, which hurts impressions, which hurts revenue."


lbf (#2,343)

@jfruh yeah. i'm no insider into any kind of business and don't know these people, but yeah, i read "who's the developer of Instapaper" and went "REALLY? THAT GUY IS COMPLAINING?"
His criticism of the way BI looks and works is legit, though. That website would shit into my eye sockets if it could (and advertisers asked them to).

joeclark (#651)

Yes, but, Mr. SICHA, since you got things so terribly wrong in your previous post about Instapaper, what are we to make about this particular post, with its tiny added value?

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