Why the WashingtonPost.com is “giving away content”

Why the WashingtonPost.com is “giving away content”: Matt McAlister blogged the “open content models” session at the Syndicate Conference and has some great points from Jim Brady of the Washingtonpost.com related to their encouragement of developers to “remix” the content found on WashingtonPost.com and its RSS feeds. (Previously on rexblog.)

Key points as blogged by Matt:

But what’s the business model? There are many opportunities in this model including:

  • Customer acquisition. Distributing links to your stuff is going to yield new customers who might not otherwise know you exist.

  • Retention. If you are the dominant source for a particular type of content, then people will come to you when they need that content or similar content.

  • Branding. Your brand gets distributed with your links. And the mashups may leverage your brand to validate the tools they create using your content. Again, your brand becomes associated with the utility of the content.

  • Partner Loyalty. Or perhaps it’s more like partner lock-in. Once a partner figures out how to do something successful with your content, the switching cost to another similar content provider will likely be too high.

  • Cost Savings. Washingtonpost.com doesn’t hide the fact that they intend to use some of the ideas the evolve from the mashup partners. They get free product development this way.

  • Distributed Ad Revenue. Washingtonpost.com does not allow anyone to make money from using their content, but they could. If there was a partner doing something smart that they liked, they could run advertising on that site together and share the revenue. This is how you break out of the online revenue cap problem that many online publishers are facing.

  • I can think of other “monetizable” results of giving away content that includes links back to WashingtonPost.com, but the most obvious one left out is: Google Juice.

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