Internet Changes the Rules for Content Sharing
Still, savvy Web publishers say its the original content positioned around the aggregated content that keep users coming back. And, unlike with print, Orum says there really are no competitors online. "If you’re worried about (competition) in the Internet business, you won’t be in business very long," he sayd. "Anybody can aggregate, but you can’t just aggregation for the sake of it. You have create a level of original content around that." Despite content with competitors, Orum says traffic on Games.net has doubled over the past year.
With Time Warner as a parent company, CNNMoney.com has the advantage of aggregating content not only from CNN and Money magazine, but from its sister publications, Fortune, Fortune Small Business, and Business 2.0. But even with the competitive advantage, CNNMoney.com vice president and executive editor Chris Peacock says the site still uses the occasional wire story from Reuters or the Associated Press. "For the stories we post from the wires, we generally put our own headlines on them, our own stamp on them," he says, "the way we put our stamp on any story we put on the site. And it is packaged in a way that gives you a sense of the brand as well. Let’s say it’s a news story Fortune has done previous work on, we’ll package the wire story with the stories we’ve done."
American Business Media Chairman Gordon Hughes says cooperation is key to the future of b-to-b media. "All we want to do is encourage the people we represent to share best practices," he said. "The b-to-b arena was started on a cooperative basis so there’s that fundamental tradition."
To make itself stand out, Games.net offers unique video content, game trailers and downloads, interactive blogs, and feature stories, Orum says. "It’s shedding that old print mentality and embracing the kind of approach where you take the commodity, which is the aggregated content, and build a community around it," he says. "You can’t just have a message board anymore, it’s got to be more than that. You’ve got to allow your audience to comment on stories, provide interesting profile pages that they can use, create a forum for them to submit and ask questions, let them write user reviews. If you can do that, it’s a big win for publishers."
Likewise, CNNMoney.com offers its visitors unique content, including audience targeted features, video segments and blogs. "When you talk about multi-sourced aggregation, blogging is certainly part of that," says Peacock.
For more on sharing content with competitors, see "Sharing with the Enemy," in the August issue of Folio: magazine.