Sunday, May 07, 2006

Just Syndicate, OK?

In my last post, I talked about one potential evolution of syndication, today I want to talk about another.

Here's a comment I got a few days ago from Gregor Clark:

I'm definitely intrigued by this idea of syndicated content's relationship to new advertising models, but still - someone still has to *subscribe* to an RSS feed, right? You still have to advertise your content, to some extent. Am I missing something?

Thanks, Gregor, for pointing out what I think it an important distinction. In the post he was responding to, I was talking about syndication not as a direct interface with an end user, the way we normally think of rss, but as a means of distributing your content across the web - placing your content pipeline in places on the web where your audience already spends a lot of time.

Where is this technology already available, easy and free???... YOU TUBE of course.

You Tube allows anyone to create an imbeddable player that will play a set of videos in the order you determine, updated as you add new content. They call the feature "playlist" and it's revolutionary.

It means that anyone with valuable content can have an instant network that can be syndicated by pasting a couple of lines of code.

This is a true broadband channel or network. It means you can take your content to your audience so they can find it along the way, as they explore the web.

It's taking your content to the mall and setting up a kiosk, rather than building a store on a dirt road and waiting for traffic to come to you.

This is a win win situation for content producers and web property owners. The producers put their content in front of the audience, which means any advertising model they employ will be more lucrative. The web property owners (who are in the business of creating traffic) benefit by providing valuable content for their users, which means more traffic that stays put longer.

Let's take an example - The Gaping Void. Hugh's "cartoons drawn on the backs of postcards" have made his blog a Techonorati Top 100 powerhouse.

Lately, he's been trying to put together a widget linked to his rss feed, so you can syndicate his postcards on your website. As soon as he puts together one that works on blogger, I'll put it up on my site. I think his cartoons are great, and I want to share them with my readers. Good for me - treating my readers right, good for him - more people see his cartoons.

That's why I've said that advertising for content is becoming obsolete. The whole idea behind advertising is to put up a virtual billboard in places where your audience is already going, so they know to visit your content. But when your content is as portable as an ad, why put up the billboard - just put your content there.


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