Re: Self-Syndication

From: Michael Martinez <>
Date: Tue 22 May 2001 09:18:36 -0500


>Content syndication is so cheap that it
>hardly pays anyone.


>(Large Content Syndicator Name Deleted) charges the
>portal I used to work for over $10,000 per month for a
>content feed. That's hardly "cheap".

I can get syndicated content from dozens of feeds for
free. I call that cheap. I'm talking news stories,
feature articles, headlines, movie reviews, etc., etc.
All professional quality. All distributed across
thousands of Web sites (which is why you won't see most
of it on my own sites).

I look at potential sources of syndicated content every
month. I only select content relevant to my domain
(science fiction, fantasy, history, mythology, news) that
looks unique and interesting. "Unique" means I haven't
seen it splattered across other people's sites yet. I'll
either stop updating or take down content that ends up
syndicated to death. That's why I like self-updating
content. At least it stays fresh, even if people stop
looking at the page because they are seeing the same
stuff elsewhere.

Of course, a lot of large commercial sites are being
charged for content that the rest of us don't have to
pay for. That's a concession I should have made


>Even major news sites which have
>other revenue streams have been scaling back on staff
>or shutting down operations completely over the past
>six to eight months.


>90% of people doing self-syndication will NOT succeed
>at it - but not for any of the reasons you outlined.
>The main reasons will be that their content is of poor
>quality, or there is too much in the way of similar
>content being offered elsewhere for free. There is a lot
>of stuff on your site that could be fed remotely to
>other fan sites and either drive traffic or be a source
>of revenue for you. Don't go after it - (shrug) - it's
>your loss.

Most of the people who don't write well enough to get
paid aren't being paid. Hence, their syndication efforts,
if any are making them (and I've only seen a few who are),
are limited to their own distribution networks.

The majority of original content on my site is written
by me (outside of what's posted to the forums, of course).
I would have to to constantly update remote feeds and I
just don't have time for that. But I doubt anyone would
pay for most of it, since my news articles eventually get
reposted or duplicated on other sites. I already write
essays for another site, and have republished some in a
book that is selling well, if not burning up the besteller
lists. But then, I didn't set out to make money off what
I write. That's not a loss. It's a gain.


>Newspapers on the other hand make a pretty good game out
>of cobranding and syndicating their content, because
>that was built into their world-view to begin with.

If that were really the case, the major newspaper sites
wouldn't be cutting back on their staff or shutting down
their online operations altogether.


>how is the average business
>supposed to create syndicated content?


>Most small businesses have someone on staff who can write
>passable copy. If not - they can hire a good freelance
>writer or content producer. It's not rocket science.

I've worked with a lot of small businesses. As a
computer programmer I worked for several value-added
resellers. I installed and maintained software in many
of the kinds of businesses that now have Web sites. They
didn't have staff writers or people trained in creating
content. And I've also worked for a company that had its
own PR specialist. She did her best to make the product
announcements sound newsworthy, but they wouldn't have
been salable. And though the company had programmers
and marketers writing articles every three months for a
magazine it published, I doubt many people would actually
have paid for any of the marketing content or feature
stories. The technical articles we wrote, yes, people
would have paid money for those.

But I'm pretty sure the local hardware store can only tell
you how to hammer a nail so many times. Really good
do-it-yourself articles are being published in several
magazines that the hardware stores often sell over the
counter. If those magazines aren't putting content on
the Web, it's doubtful that most hardware stores could
afford to pay the freelance writers for the rights.

The same problem exists for the power tool industry, auto
repair industry, etc., etc.

You're right about one thing. It's NOT rocket science.
It's basic economics.

Michael Martinez
 Science Fiction and Fantasy
  Visualizing Middle-earth, a book for all Tolkien fans

Received on Tue May 22 2001 - 09:18:36 CDT


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