Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Gawker and Yahoo will syndicate no more...

This is old news - I saved it as a draft until I had time to get to it. Gawker and Yahoo are ending their syndication deal: "We're letting our content partnership with Yahoo lapse. The bald truth is that the deal, which we announced in November, garnered way more attention than we expected, but less traffic. "

For those of us who are very interested in how syndication works online, this is significant. To me, the underlying syndication model has always been:

a) I provide you really interesting content,
b) you provide me space on your site and access to your users' eyeballs
c) my great content keeps your users happy and brings you more users,
d) the eyeballs you're giving me access to allow me to sell embedded advertising, increase my brand, or do what ever else I'm trying to do with my content. And money balances it all out (if access to your traffic is more than my content warrants, I pay you... and if my hot content is more valuable than your real estate, you pay me.)

This model will work well for video, and audio too. After all, audio and video has been syndicated successfully offline forever. But I think that text is more a medium to be bought and sold with links than with syndication. Not because it can't be syndicated (look at the AP!), but because the return just isn't good enough for either party. This deal gone dead is more evidence to support that assertion.

It's also further evidence of a real problem for the big boys like Yahoo! and MSN! (I think MSN is planning on adding a ! this fall, as part of MS's Zune strategy). The internet is getting narrower and nichier, and they're as b r o a d as they can be. MSN can't have a Rocketboom style news show even though it would fit in great with their style because as soon as they put a face up there, no matter what the face looks like, it's narrowing their brand and alienating their customers. This puts these big branded bohemoths at a disadvantage when competing with a company like Amazon or Google, aggregators that are focused on facilitating the niche.


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