I just came back to an old debate in new journalism: Is it fair that people generate traffic from other people’s work and journalism.
The Huffington Post and Business Insider are the poster children but I’m sure there are many more.
I love this piece by Brian Morrissey from DigiDay which includes this paragraph on a simple piece they conceived and wrote that Business Insider was able to hijack:
This hit home recently. On Friday, we did a somewhat silly Friday feature on digital executives “then and now.” One photo in particular, showing an emo teen version of Tumblr exec Rick Webb, piqued interest. Business Insider took a screenshot of the before-and-after shot, copy and pasted a paragraph, and then slapped on a sensationalist headline and called it a day. The author linked prominently to Digiday in the quick-hit post. The result: It generated 224 pageviews for the Digiday story. Along the way, BI banked another 1,500-plus pageviews — and that many “welcome ad” impressions along with multiple banners and a “native” video ad. Meanwhile, Digiday’s original post — thought up and executed by our staff — got 2,500 pageviews. Is this a fair trade?
The full conversation that went on between Henry Bloget and Brian Morrissey is really interesting from a future of the industry POV. And Paid Content did a nice write up.
Given that the cost of generating a reblog post is so minimal, it isn’t a suprise everyone is reblogging everyone’s work. And given the distracted nature of the end reader who is bouncing around the web based on search links and social mentions, there is little loyalty to specific news sources curating content.
So for the moment everyone will be “news hijacking” as I like to call it. Until people get tired of sacrificing time to random content and start choosing specific sources for their content.