This reads vaguely like my post about the distribution/aggregation/creation issue, though better thought out and a deeper exploration of what networks look like in the future. And while I agree that a lot of questions remain unanswered, I don’t find this particularly worrying right now. In fact, it all seems vaguely familiar. Anyone remember the “deep-linking” lawsuits of years gone by?
Right now, we don’t know what the model is going to look like. But unlike the past, we have been down these paths before and I think we’ve learned a bit about how to work together towards models that make the most sense. Partnership is definitely cheaper than litigation. Case in point: I got to Jeff’s intelligent and well-considered post from a link on Anne 2.0, one of the brightest voices out there. Anne is both a content provider, an aggregator, and a distributor. I go to Anne’s site pretty much every day because she serves all three of these roles wonderfully. She provides value by:
- Putting together links to other’s content that I may not otherwise have found; i.e., aggregation and/or distribution
- Providing context and analysis around the items that she links to, interpreting it with insight and style; i.e., aggregation and/or creation
- Writing some deeply thoughtful pieces on technology, family, work, and life, (I’d call it “Lifestyle 2.0,” but I can hear the groans already); i.e., content creation
My point here is simple: Anne is a network. She deserves some share of the goods from Jeff, just like Jeff deserves his share, too. But where Jeff stands to win is that I found his site interesting enough to add to my reader, so I’ll be back. Anne’s vig (whatever it may be) serves as commission or a finder’s fee. If Jeff manages to win my loyalty separately, I’ll go back to him pretty regularly, too, which is where he’ll make his money. Advertisers need to recognize that each part of the network is entitled to their share, while aggregators need to offer value or suffer disintermediation (to bring back another fun concept from Web 1.0 days). Bottom line is that all boats stand to rise with the tide. Standing around worrying about who deserves the biggest share of the water ignores the fact that we all stand to win so long as we bring value to the mix.