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Is advertising dead? or How, I learned to stopped worrying and learned to love the future of marketing

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:

  1. Putting together links to other’s content that I may not otherwise have found; i.e., aggregation and/or distribution
  2. Providing context and analysis around the items that she links to, interpreting it with insight and style; i.e., aggregation and/or creation
  3. 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.

Tim Peter is the founder and president of Tim Peter & Associates. You can learn more about our company's strategy and digital marketing consulting services here or about Tim here.

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  1. Here I was feeling so lame about only getting link posts out, and then you write this. Thanks!

    I was thinking about the same things ever since reading Jeff’s post and the related ones. Fascinating stuff.

    I like “Lifestyle 2.0.” That’d make for a great blog title. Maybe I’m too into the 2.0 thing, but it seems to capture a real shift in how individuals can make use of technology.

  2. Thanks, Anne! “Lifestyle 2.0” is yours if you want it, especially since you inspired the notion. I kind of think of you as the post-modern Donna Reed or something: super-mom aided and abetted by technology!

  3. […] Last week I wrote about the new “2.0″ version of content value chains. Interestingly, Yahoo’s Terry Semel claimed today that they see their role as just an aggregator, (their words, not mine). What I find most interesting about this is that Mr. Semel says the company doesn’t have a point of view. Now, as companies look at how they contribute to the value chain, shouldn’t they have a point of view? Admittedly, I’m taking the comments out of context, but smart marketers need to have a point of view. As I stated at the time, “aggregators need to offer value or suffer disintermediation.” Media derives from the Latin root for “middle.” The Web enables consumers to get to companies directly and (ideally) easily. The Web enables consumers to get to consumers directly and (relatively) easily. The only point in being the medium, being the man in the middle, is if you add something to the mix. Yahoo, other companies seeking to aggregate, and those marketing folks who need to sell them really ought to consider what their point of view is. Stand for something. Or get out of the way. […]

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