A Web.2 business plan for publishers

A Web.2 business plan for publishers: Formerly of IDG and now of Yahoo, Matt McAlister presents a provocative outline for a Web 2.0 business model for traditional publishers.


“Every publisher has 2 primary assets: audience and content. The more valuable of the two is the audience, so you have to be more careful with that piece. But the content is something you can exploit in this new world in some interesting ways that shouldn’t be too scary.”

Matt details some great ideas which may sound radical to some, obvious to others. I hope they’re obvious to the publishing folks who read the rexblog. If not, one day they will be.

Some of his points (which he explains in much greater detail):

  • If you look at the core of your content, the thing that differentiates you from everyone else is the data you have on the things that you cover.
  • Publishers need to package the core items in those important and unique data sets into normalized and usable XML databases.
  • You once thought the feature story or the comprehensive review was your most important content item. No longer. The name of the object you’re covering is what you need to build this database around.
  • When you have your data organized, post it publicly. Post it as XML. Let people take it. Let everyone take it…even some competitors.
  • Publishers think of their readers and their advertisers as 2 different customer sets. There’s a new one you need to serve – republishers. People who use your content and republish it (tools providers, bloggers, bigger publishers, etc.) may become useful sources of revenue.
  • Matt also has great advice for win-win revenue models for sharing advertising revenue with “republishers.”

  • Package your ads with your content. Advertisers can reach wider audiences, probably highly engaged readers. If you’re short on page view inventory, then this is a great way to open up more inventory to drop in more ad impressions.
    Share revenue earned from use of your content. If you are making money from the ads then kick some of that back to your republishers. If they are making money from having your content, then have them kick some cash back to you.

  • Many great thought-provoking ideas are contained in Matt’s post.

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