There is a lot of cynicism about the Future of Media in the press, particularly in the journalist community (who clearly have a lot at stake right now).
For example, a mainstream media brand like Newsweek describes Mark Cuban's proposal to "Kill the Aggregators" as a "radical plan to save old media" and Michael Wolff calls Mark Cuban "A Big Fat Idiot."
To be clear, I think Mark Cuban's objective is correct - Old Media, importantly the writers, editors, should get paid for the content they create. Wolff may be correct that the answer is not "Kill the Aggregators!" This is hardly a radical innovative solution. But, I don't think Wolff calling Mark Cuban a "Big Fat Idiot" contributes anything to the discussion.
These (ahem) thought leaders (after all, they get many more hits than I do on their websites) could be contributing to innovation in the marketplace by shining a light on the possibilities. I was relieved to see Seth Godin admit that even though positive thinking is more likely to deliver results negative thinking is more fun.
When I hear "old media" complain about aggregators "using" their content and aggregators gloating about how much traffic they send back to the source, I say all this chest beating is distracting them from hearing "opportunity" knock.
Each side has something of value to the other (content and links or marketing, respectively). "Old" media wouldn't care if aggregators weren't attracting an audience. So clearly, aggregation has value for the consumer (which makes sense when you consider that information is increasing exponentially and the # of waking hours in a day are still the same).
Where value is created there's demand. Where there's demand, there is an opportunity to charge money for it. So don't saying NO! like some French taxi driver. Let's get on with getting to the bargaining table and start negotiating the value on content and the marketing value of the traffic aggregators send back to the original source - old media.
Why? Because the sooner we assign value to content and the marketing value to links and develop a "frictionless" transaction system or currency (a la Easy Pass) to account for it, the sooner the value of digital content will go up to consumers and they will have a way to participate in this market and the demand for content and links will continue to grow.
The sooner we start designing a universal currency for the internet (here's a start of an idea), the sooner we will all benefit.
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