Mark Cuban runs a pretty interesting blog called Blog Maverick. He posted an article a few days back saying that he felt News and similar companies could look at charging for content and put forward his own advice on the matter.
His first point was “Block aggregation sites that point to your content.”
The conventional wisdom suggests that all traffic is good traffic. Every page view is more money. Why not take it ? Because its limited and you aren’t selling it.
The value of the traffic sent by most sites is minimal at best.
More likely, in this economy, you are not selling 90pct of the inventory [aggregator] sends you. Heck, you aren’t selling a big chuck of the inventory that you get on your sites anyway, so the marginal value of the traffic sent by [aggregator] might be about zero.
His argument is interesting and worth a further look. Basically what he is arguing is you block any aggregator apart from the search engines. He references sites like Drudge, Newser and HuffPo that he feels are direct competitors to news sites like the NY Times etc.
What would happen if the SMH, The Age, NY Times, Guardian etc one day said to an aggregator – you know what … stop sending us traffic and aggregating our content? The downside for the publishers would be small … the downside for the aggregator is potentially significant.
What is the upside for large publishers from aggregation financially? Cuban’s argument is a small amount of traffic they probably can’t get a decent yield on anyway. I’d argue this is true.
Why is it that the most hyped and valued media businesses are ones that don’t create content but rely on content and content creators to survive? Facebook/YouTube/Google/Twitter etc.
Not saying I agree with Mark Cuban but it’s worth a thought.