Monday, May 08, 2006

Creators and Aggregators- Part 1 the Creators

No comments :
For the last 7 years i have worked for a premium content aggregator. sure we do more then just aggregate content -we categorize it - we archive it - we mine it - we build many tools for users to get to it using search, push and discovery technologies- we let enterprise applications serve it up to their users - plus we help our customers 'figure it out' with their content through advisory services- we do lots but the driving force is the content we aggregate and the huge value we add through our post processing to normalize and add metadata- to get the right information to the right person in the right context at the right time.

there is a lot going on in the 'marketplace' of content creators and aggregators that is of much interest to me - why?:

  1. Because i am participating
  2. Because it is an established service whose model is shifting- and so must the traditional content creators and aggregators
Saturday i was gathering my thoughts for this post and some work that i am doing around information delivery and mobility- and ended up running down to the library to get Howards Rheingolds 'Smart Mobs'- published in 2002 since my original copy had been passed on- i know i was looking for something that reminded me of this topic. Rheingold talks about the then new social phenomenon driven by the collision of computing and communications in mobile devices such as digital cell phones and handheld computers. Scanning certain chapters was very useful for various projects i am working on around mobility but what i was looking for was the following straight from the first chapter:

"because it used the same wires, the telephone was originally seen as merely a speaking telegraph, but it turned out to be something entirely new. The same mistake is already being repeated with the Internet. Many people expect the mobile Internet to be the same as the wired version, only mobile, but they are wrong...Instead, the mobile Internet, although it is based on the same technology as fixed-line Internet, will be something different and will be used in new and unexpected ways." - Tom Standage, "The Internet Uthethered"

As an analogy to the 'new' content creators (bloggers <> journalists) and aggregators (web 2.0 applications <>traditional aggregators) i thought is was an interesting way to look at it. I simply don't think we can look at the phenomenon of bloggers and web 2.o social 'news' applications in the same way as the traditional business (media) because they will also be used in new and unexpected ways. (although of course in this paradigm it is the media that is trying to catch up with the technology).

I have no answers right now only thoughts and a feeling of excitement as we work through how this is going to impact the enterprise and the providers. There is TONS of commentary about these subjects but here are some of my thoughts:

The Creators:

I have searches saved on various blog search engines with a keyword 'factiva' so i can see what other bloggers may or may not be saying - no different then if i was at a bar and overheard a conversation between two factiva users- i would tune in and try to participate. (yes i would be that annoying person who would probably talk to you).

A couple weeks ago a saw
this post in which a blogger asked about syndication opportunities for their blogs into traditional aggregator services like Lexis/Nexis and Factiva. Last week week Pluck released BlogBurst. Here is a description from TechCrunch "The basics: BlogBurst is a service that takes pre-screened, categorized blog content and pushes it to mainstream publishers for a fee (charged on a CPM basis). To see an example, go to the Sf Chronicle Travel Section and look for the "A Travel Blog Posts" area on the page. BlogBurst helps these mainstream publishers add more targeted content to their sites at a much lower cost than producing the content themselves. Bloggers benefit from extra exposure - each piece of content includes a prominent link back to the bloggers original post, a linked icon/photo and a byline."

This type of 'self ' publishing through a syndicated marketplace will certainly be disruptive to the main stream media especially journalists who are under contractual obligation. It will however give more voices an opportunity to share their knowledge and be compensated for it. And of course you ask- but who becomes the 'editor' or judge of relevance/accuracy. i don't know- how will technology impact it? and can we leave it with the readers?

Another thought from Rheingold's book that i agree with:

"Many-to-Many media confer a power on consumers that mass media never did; the power to create, publish, broadcast and debate their own point of view. Newspapers, Radio, television audiences were consumers but Internet audiences were "users" with powers of their own. The most important question about this new wrinkle in power/knowledge is whether it sets the stage for counter-power...or whether it is yet another simulacrum, s simulation of counter-power that really doesn't change who has all the chips"

...Like if Pluck got plucked by one of the media companies

Last year Factiva formed a partnership with Intelliseek (now part of BuzzMetrics) to add consumer content from blogs to Factiva's existing content aggregation services. Factiva receives up to 700,000 blog posts a day and indexes between 100,000 and 200,000. Our customers are asking for it and they want us to add that extra value so their user's experience is not disruptive.

Now i know i don't need to tell you but i will point out the following on the top of my blog site
"The opinions expressed on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent those of my employer."

No comments :