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February 09, 2005


Ben Smith

Pete, you nailed it. Producers will always end up with the shorter end of the stick. Take a look at any other industry. Producers need, and end up dependant on, the "services" of a few to market their poduct. Let's face it, producers make the content, which costs nothing to create (a commodity in my book), and the servicers are just adding value. They will always be in the best position, because they can pick and choose, the producers cannot.

Good stuff, keep it up.


>> Now, I don't think the idea is stupid. I do think
>> that Jason is pissed that Mark Fletcher didn't give
>> him the time of day. I also think that there is reason
>> for Jason to be pissed, given that if bloglines did
>> deliver ads against his content, that Jason's business
>> model would be shot to shit. But, as someone that doesn't
>> get the time of day from a lot of people that I'd like
>> the time of day from, I say that Jason should get over
>> it. And since business models are shot to shit everyday,
>> advertising by aggregators might be something that
>> weblogsinc should consider a possibility.

Uhhh... so if someone starts email people stories from the New York Times every day and selling ads around the content the New York Times should just "get over it" -- are you serious about that?!

Just because RSS is new doesn't mean that the rules of business/law go away. Putting ads--or targeting users--around a feed that is provided for non-commercial use is breaking the law and we would treat it like such. Just like other publishers have defended themselves. People made services like the email scrapper I discussed above--and they got spanked big time.

This is not a matter of Mark not giving me the time of day--trust me I've got some bigger contacts--it's about stopping people from creating illegal and unethical business models. That's my role in the blogosphere... we see the problems before most people because we have 71 bloggers getting paid and over 100 active advertisers. We are nipping this stuff in the bud so other bloggers and publishers are protected.

2. There are merits to a web-based RSS reader, just like there are to web v. client side email/IM/chat/sales software/etc. I'm not saying that the web-based stuff is a bad business--I'm saying any RSS reader business is not a standalone business with the exception of enterprise software plays like Newsgator.

>> What if bloglines shared revenue with bloggers? (I
>> know this would drastically reduce the margins that
>> Calacanis/Stowe/Denton could demand with their offline
>> ad sales efforts, but the rest of us probably would
>> appreciate it.

Actually, we would welcome and are working on a solution like this. Provided it is a) optin (not opt out) and b) in the 80-20 range we would do it.

More to come... thanks for the thoughts.

best j

peter caputa

I should have left out the "time of day" comment. I was inferring that you should get over that.

I was not inferring that you should get over them serving ads on top of your content.

Good luck with trying to get an 80/20 revenue split from all of these aggregators, over the long term. I don't envy your position.

I think that there should be a wider conversation that is OUT IN THE OPEN about how to solve this problem.

Publisher opt-in is a reasonable demand and seems like the right thing to do. I look forward to an aggregator launching something like that. It seems that that would be an excellent opportunity for launching another ppc network, or for extending a current network's inventory very quickly.

The work that overture and feedburner are doing seems like a step in the right direction for that.

Maybe, weblogsinc should start/endorse an rss ad-network that shares $ with the publishers and the aggregators.

I am also suggesting that with the knowledge that bloglines has of user's reading habits, that they might be able to serve better ads than you do, because of the aggregate data. For example, I read blogs on marketing and I read blogs on social software. The aggregator knows that. You don't. Therefore, they know my aggregate interests better. So, for behavior targeted ads, these guys have a leg up over the publishers. Also, they have an idea of what the people that read me - read too. So, ad targeting could be done based on the density of a social network. Imagine that a company could publish ads with customized marketing copy according to the conversation that we were having. Therefore, as a reader, I would welcome ads delivered while I read feeds in my aggregayor from the aggregator. Because they will be more targeted.


>> Maybe, weblogsinc should start/endorse an rss
>> ad-network that shares $ with the publishers
>> and the aggregators.

I could see that happening.

Noah Brier

Hey Pete,
I think you got it perfectly. The problem is from the publisher side, not the consumer side. I agree with you, contextual advertising in Bloglines doesn't bother me one bit and I've always thought it was going to be there revenue model. As I said over on my site, if Bloglines started selling against Engadget and Jason pulled Engadget, I'd stop reading the site, not stop using Bloglines. (Just for the record, I really enjoy Engadget and it would be a real shame.) The other thing is that the advertisements within the Engadget feed wouldn't go anywhere. Is the problem Jason has specifically with selling against one of his blogs? Or selling advertising against the user profile that Bloglines has? Because while he may have some control over the prior, it would seem to me that he can't really control the latter. GMail essentially sells ads against anything, including pay-to-recieve newsletters, and people don't complain.

It's very interesting stuff. I've written a bit about it myself over at my site: http://www.noahbrier.com/archives/2005/02/bloglines_adver_1.html

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