Print piracy costs much more than music piracy…but its an opportunity

The RIAA and to a lesser extent the MPAA would like us to believe that every song or movie illegally downloaded equates to a lost sale for that product. Of course that is not true.

Many of us have illegally downloaded songs, CDs or movies that we never would have purchased, but were curious enough to sample them because it was free. Inturn many of us have also purchaseda product that we never would have otherwisepurchased had we not decided to sample it first through an illegaldownloaded.

Arguments are made to both sides of the balance sheet, but the inescapable truth is that not every illegal download erases a certain sale.

Its different for written,copyrighted content on the Web.

Today, any and every single website can gain revenue for every pageview and every click generated by a page supporting Adsense, Yahoo Publishing or any of the other competitors. For small and unknown websites, we may be talking only a $2 CPM, or less than .2 cents a page view, but the inescapable reality that every page view lost because content is stolen and posted on an unauthorized site and read in full, is money truly and actually lost by the content creator.

If I were to copy and paste the entire NY Times article that I referenced in my blog, that would have been stealing. There is no hypothetical loss involved. Its not a “maybe a lost sale “, like the music or movie industry. Its a loss of real money every single time it happens. I dont know what the NY Times earns in PPC or CPM priced ad revenue per page, but how ever many people clicked through, that earned the Times their money.

If I had cut and paste the article, and someone had come to and stayed on the page toread the article, I would have gotten paid my share of the CPM paid for ads on my blog. The Times would have lost themoney of those who wanted to read or sample that article. That would have been wrong.

Which leads me to the point. The entire content industry is missing a unique opportunity to eliminate most content piracy and more importantly, togenerate a whole lot more revenue by offering revenue sharing. If the NYTimes, to use them an example, were to offer 50 pct of the revenue generated from traffic deliveredbyaffiliated websites, not a single website with half a clue would steal your content. Instead, every blogger, splogger and small content creator would look to find ways to link to your content and drive you traffic. Companies like LinkShare offer revenue sharing programs for product sales, why not offer the same for advertising sales ?

Rather than trying to find ways to push people to adsense or yahooPPC ads, websiteswould work to create traffictorevenue sharing sites instead. Why ? Because if someone on my site clicks on a google text ad, thenI get paid once. For one click. One and done.

If I get paid for the traffic I send as someone navigates through your site, I get paid by the CPM for page views generated by the user I send, plus my share of a PPC exit click through if there is one.

Then of course there is rich media. Audio and video CPMs are huge these days. There isnt enough inventory to match the demand from advertisers. Splitting rich media advertising revenue could mean a huge payday for all involved.

Given that the destination site, in this example the Times, probably has more depth of content than an individual driven website or blog, the chances of an extended number of page viewsand multimedia views that the sending site gets paid on increases. Which means the revenue potential for the sending site increases. More reasons to find ways to work through your site rather than PPC engines like Adsense

Of course, this isnt limited to newspaper sites. Any site that is advertising or subscriber supported would benefit. Yes, Yahoo and Google could easily get in the mix and pay for delivered traffic, but it wouldcost them a fortune. It would be interesting if they paid for more than the types of traffic they pay for now. If they did, it would bea huge change in the financial dynamics of the net.

Would I pay 50pct of my ad revenue generated to people who link to Icerocket.com , Box.Net, NetIdentity.com or blogmaverick.com. Yep. I would even have to consider offering an annuity for users that you send that are first time users that turn into recurring users.

Traffic on the net is becoming more and more valuable. A little bit of sharing can go a long way.

Stay tuned and let me know your thoughts

73 thoughts on “Print piracy costs much more than music piracy…but its an opportunity

  1. There is another side to the equation. If bloggers and other affiliates would purposely reference external content for the sake of revenue generation, the quality and impartiality of their information would invariably be significantly jeopardized.

    Comment by Alex Keis -

  2. As a New Media director for a company who puts on motorsports events, we run into a content theft problem on our websites that get millions of pageviews per month.

    It can be looked at two ways in OUR case, not in all cases:

    1. The people stealing our content and posting it on message boards and blogs must be dealt with because we pay for the writing of that material. It’s our proprietary and copyrighted content. In addition to copyright issues, it costs us valuable pageviews.

    2. That being said it is to our benefit to increase readership and ultimately get people to attend our events, buy merch, etc. snowballing into market domination. Therefore this lifting of content creates a certain word of mouth buzz about our product. So it’s not all bad. Much of the content being lifted we would already release to the press in hopes of event coverage.

    If you truly want to protect your content, then you go to a subscription based system. But in my opinion subscription based sites only work for porn, dating, or other specialty sites and niches.

    New York Times has launched NY Times Select which locks down some of the once free opinion columns and other content. It bummed me out because I liked that stuff. But I haven’t subscribed because it’s not that important to me.

    On the other side of that, I subscribe to Wired Magazine. Wired makes its entire magazine available for free online almost simultaneously upon release of the print version…but it’s also valuable to me as a print magazine. Go figure.

    In this age of Google AdSense & CPC advertising, pageviews are king on the internet. So if other sites are taking my content and using it to their benefit, taking pageviews away from my site…then that is wrong.

    So Mark, applying your “AdSense” theory to my content and allowing other sites to become legitimate “agents” of my content is an interesting proposition. It might work. It’s worth a try. I’m interested in the potential.

    Oh Mark…you make me think!

    Jeff

    Comment by Jeff -

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    Comment by Bishal Kumar Sharma -

  4. Back to this tired subject again. And once again arguing that it surely doesn’t cost as much as the RIAA says it does per illegal download. Of course there’s that pesky word again, illegal. Does the moral aspect of this come into play at all for you? Sure it’d be great if with the surge in compression technology the digital world could take full advantage of it, unfettered by the threat of piracy but unfortunately that’s not the case. you’re ire should be aimed at the piracy, not thos trying to protect their assets. Yes, I know those protecting the assets have some flaws, should do a better job of embracing the technology, and have plenty of cash. However, theft is theft. But here’s an idea, you’ve got the cash and have the ability to take risks that 99% of the population doesn’t, go start your own label and distribute your artist’s work free of annoying protection features. It’ll serve a few things, first it’ll probably work and you can make more money and keep that ego going and second you can prove the RIAA wrong. Mark, I love what you’ve done with the team and you have some really good ideas but you’re views here are not totally in the right. I know you think they are, but I’m sorry they simply are not.

    Comment by Blake -

  5. Great news i didn’t knew it ! Quite interresting😉

    Comment by AmoKK -

  6. And that people is why this man owns an NBA basketball team at such a young age. Strong cognative abilities with a why not attitude and unbridled enthusiasm must take a man a long way… I hope.

    Comment by TheoEpsteinish -

  7. That’s a brilliant concept – of course, I’m going to have to go away and think about it some more – a lot more.

    It’s funny, because, based on the newspaper approach you mention, I’ve often blogged about something I read in our local paper (Hamilton Spectator), and wanted to link to the article so others could read it, but of course only subscribers can read the content online…..but your idea opens intriguing possibilities.

    Comment by Mark Leslie -

  8. baidu!!
    http://woweb.cn/webhosting.html

    Comment by woweb -

  9. Great idea Mark. Traffic to my site would be cool but involves so much red tape. This would work because one of the main reasons why the internet is so crowded with abandoned web sites is lack of traffic. Most traffic is driven is by porn and big businesses. The little man is like landscape along the Tollway. However, to be one of those bilboards along the Tollway. Now you’re talking. If nobody knows about my site I will move onto some other site that will sponser my blogs in hopes of traffic. Just yesterday, I wrote a small blog titled, ‘NAPSTER: Was it all pirates and hype?’ It’s small potatoes. Thanks. Holla.

    Comment by Michael Bryant -

  10. Mark – the problem with incenting everyone and their brother to send traffic your way is that the concept of “qualified” traffic goes by the boards.

    Joe’s Blog of Hot Babes will all of a sudden be linking like mad to every media outlet willing to cut him a micropayment. And, while he’s jumping around like a 14-year old howler monkey on his 12th Red Bull, my site will be deluged with people trying to make the connection between hot babes and personal finance.

    Sure, maybe I’ll get a few hundred thousand more page views than normal, but my click rates will crash and my advertisers will wonder what sort of BS scheme I’m cooking up to inflate the CPM deal I have with them. This is why all of the affinity/points networks are no good.

    While I like the approach, I’m not sure I’d do an open call for traffic. This can, and does work, if you pick your spots and work with content providers that match up from a relevance standpoint with your own content.

    Comment by David Forrest -

  11. Mark Peer Impact already revenue shares with its members for re-distribting content around its peer to peer network and gives users members a system credit also for promoting content and signing up mew members .Recently they added games and will add video and movies in the near future .

    http://www.peerimpact.com

    Comment by Matt -

  12. Hey Mark check out my site http://www.buildcash.org

    Andrew Hillman
    Dallas, TX 29
    Former Healthcare Executive

    Comment by Andrew Hillman -

  13. Good points. I’m glad Google is cracking down on sites that steal content. Stealing isn’t worthwhile when the thief can’t get his/her site high in the search rankings.

    Comment by plastic surgery satire -

  14. There is actually something like this, sorta..

    check out:
    http://www.isedn.org/ – This is the ISEDN network, which is the Independent Search Engine and Directory Network.

    http://store.exactseek.com/mostpopularsites.html – and my shameless plug to my landing page in that network.

    Comment by Glenn Ford -

  15. Great comments, Mark. Hey, remember that post you made a few weeks back about needing some tune to replace Gary Glitter’s “Rock’n’Roll Part 2”? Well, there is an unsigned artist who I’m sure could come up with a really, really good tune the crowd might love: Brother Love (http://www.brotherloverocks.com/). He’s the most downloaded artist on the Podsafe Music Network (http://music.podshow.com/), and you should give a listen to his album (also available on iTunes).
    Think about how cool it would be to come up with a hot young unsigned artists out of left field (forgive the baseball metaphor).

    Comment by Arnaud Hubert -

  16. Hey Moron (I mean Mark):

    How would you like it if we showed up at your basketball games with free ‘promotional’ tickets?

    How would you like it if we self produced as many such tickets as we saw fit?

    So what, even if we ended up giving them free to your already paying customers?

    Surely, some of us would end up paying for later games – providing the freebie was worth the money.

    So there, I just made up your new revenue generting model. NOW, WASTE NO TIME INTEGRATING IT WITH THE REST OF YOUR BUSINESS MODEL … AND, DO TRY TO MAKE A PROFIT.

    Comment by Copy Cat -

  17. Hey Moron (I mean Mark):

    How would you like it if we showed up at your basketball games with free ‘promotional’ tickets?

    How would you like it if we self produced as many such tickets as we saw fit?

    So what, even if we ended up giving them free to your already paying customers?

    Surely, some of us would end up paying for later games – providing the freebie was worth the money.

    So there, I just made up your new revenue generting model. NOW, WASTE NO TIME INTEGRATING IT WITH THE REST OF YOUR BUSINESS MODEL … AND, DO TRY TO MAKE A PROFIT.

    Comment by Copy Cat -

  18. Mark, I have come to read your blog a few times, and I appreciate the time you put into your ventures. It is so hard to find the balance, however it appears that you have found it. The ideas that you put your energies into are very thought inspiring. It is interesting as it very easy for those who do not want to earn, or work for success to lift it in any medium, including print or web publishing.

    Comment by Lance Lockhart -

  19. Hey Mark-

    What do you think of NO/OKC Hornets situation? Tell us the honest truth.

    Comment by HORNETS -

  20. Dont buy the Pirates. I have already seen what a owner with two teams does to one because he is trying to spread his available wealth in Tom Hicks. The Stars are alright but now all of a sudden he doesnt want to spend a dime on the Rangers. Just stick to the Mavs and bring a championship to us Mark. I would hate to have to cheer against one of your teams if you bought the Pirates and The Rangers pulled off a miracle and got good.

    Comment by Eric Wright -

  21. Ahh, your article basically describes an “affiliate program” for the newbs.

    Comment by Alan Eads -

  22. I am a media strategist for an online ad network and found your post interesting. Lots of people replied to you with the same ideas I had, but there are a couple points I wanted to mention. First, all of this linking would turn the SEO/”natural” search world upside down. The “popularity” of sites is a major factor in where they rank. The tricky part is that small sites would link to bigger sites because they got paid rather than because of the content’s relevancy. Second, nobody will prefer to push a user away from their own site, but they may try to balance a positive site experience with additional revenue. Folks trying to create “sticky” sites would be slow to adapt. But the arbitrage guys would love the idea in the same way all the current lead-generation sites buy traffic and sell leads.

    Comment by Tom T -

  23. what are your thoughts on Sony apperently using rootkits in their security code for new CDs?

    Comment by scott -

  24. Hi,

    I liked reading your ideas. The missing part of the equation in my mind is: What about the people who share information for the joy of that information, and don’t care about the money?

    If I want friends on my pitiful little LiveJournal to read an article, it’s easiest for me to cut and paste it. I don’t care about money enough to jump through hoops to get my small share of it, but the upstream provider may care very much that he lost that 6c, or may be legally bound to harass me over that 6c lest he lose his rights.

    Comment by Michael -

  25. Great idea for the revenue sharing plan. Still, it will be hard to convince big corporations. The numbers sound good, but popular sites have no reason to shake things up.
    As to your complaint on text theft over media piracy. Are there statistics on this? Don’t forget about the often-used argument from the music industry: that exposure from illegal downloads can be valuable to musicians. The same could be said for print. Though it would be better to link, copying a NYT article adds prestige to your own site, yes, but also spreads the NYT’s name as a respected information source. A smaller site might value the ad revenue even more than the NYT does, but they might prefer that 100% of your site’s readers read their material on your site than that maybe 30% of your site’s readers link through to theirs.

    Comment by Amram -

  26. By the way Mark, sorry but I downloaded your movie Enron: The SMartest guys in the room. I couldnt find it in video stores and its not really a movie I wanted to see in theatres. I’m a pirate I guess according to you execs.

    Comment by MG -

  27. I dislike the way you support reactionary organisations such as NY Times in suggesting reforms. Pirates support them too, I don’t think we’re going to see pirates supporting original content anytime soon. Somebody will always collect…if it’s not MSFT, then it will be power utilities, or Arab brent crude sheikhs.

    Comment by FisherKingKQJ -

  28. I think this article has been copied here (http://p2pnet.net/story/6926) with adsense content on the side and several other advertisements on the side. I think it would be a great idea to provide unique ID links to get credit for clicks.

    Comment by Joe -

  29. Mark,

    I agree with your sentiment and I think that any form of revenue sharing is good. But my initial reaction to this idea was along the same lines as the comment Jason Carr posted:

    “This sort of idea has been tried before. A good many affiliate programs used to work on a PPC basis (paying $0.5-$0.30 per visitor). I say used to because these programs are few and far between these days (and the one’s that remain are very picky about who they work with).

    It would be the spammers who ruined it. They funneled massive amounts of untargeted, uninterested traffic to those affiliate sites. The same thing would happen here. Though untargeted visitors would not rack up many pageviews per visit, if you send enough it doesn’t matter.”

    I’m not sure exactly how you propose this should work on the technical side, so I’ll just suggest some potential problems that occurred to me (you might already have a solution to these problems). It’s clear that you can’t pay based on pageviews alone – that system is too easy to game. And likewise, you can’t pay an affiliate based on the number of clicks that occur after he has directed a visitor to your site, because that will simply result in click fraud (you could, for instance, write a script that clicks your affiliate link, then clicks a few ads on the NY Times site, then repeats).

    I’m sure there are plenty of ways to make your idea work, but nothing springs to mind right now – anyone else want to add their 2 cents?

    Comment by Pete Cashmore -

  30. Hey Mark, you have to step up to the plate on TCX (Tucows) and make some moves. How about a write up on how Internet Services will play a huge role in the future?

    TCX is falling, falling and falling. You cannot sit on the sidelines and let it fall.

    Come on. Let’s go.

    Comment by PJM -

  31. Once again Mark, Excellent post. When will the RIAA AND the content industry get a clue?

    Devin Harris for president!!!

    Comment by projectVIBE Internet Radio -

  32. Well put Mark… It is about time someone told it like it is….

    Comment by Freelance Photographer -

  33. An alternative point of view….

    There is no such thing as “content piracy.” All knowledge and information flows from the same universal SOURCE….

    Shakespeare was aware of this truth when he penned, “All the world’s a stage,
    And all the men and women merely players.”

    “We are all thieves and magpies….”

    Think about it….

    Jim Parham
    Yuba City, CA

    Comment by StockMaverick -

  34. Mark,

    As noted above by a couple people, you are off base on this one. If the NYTimes website was completely free and open (no registration required), making its money off of ad sales on a per view basis, you would be correct. However, the Times requires registration even to view their ‘free’ content and much of the content requires paid registration. So someone else illegally posting an NY Times article does not result in a 1:1 loss.

    Comment by cmadler -

  35. Can you guys get any further up this guys ass????

    The Donald

    Comment by Donald Trump -

  36. CUBS = 98 years no title, huge market, best stadium in baseball, and wgn.

    Nuff said.

    Comment by Gabriel -

  37. Mark I think your idea is not bad for the short-term, but in the long run what we need is some sort of “virtual government” which most of us don’t want at all. As far as the Pittsburgh Pirates are concerned, just look at what Drayton McLane has done with the Astros and you will see the differnce a GREAT OWNER makes in baseball. Mark, MLB needs someone like you to bring about some badly needed changes! We all want to see what MLB could be like now with teams on a level playing field. Your youth and enthusiasm could go a long way! BTW I am a lifelong Rockets fan, but I admire what you bring to the ownership position.

    Comment by Robert MacGregor -

  38. Screw the cubbies or the pirates you gotta buy Texas Rangers, up and coming teams in baseball and its in texas, get big bucks $$$$$$$$$$$$

    Comment by Sean -

  39. Our site handled the traffic issue differently. We commenced issuing a quarterly dividend to all subscribers. We figure that any problem from limited natural resources to endemic poverty can be solved with the proper incentive so why not traffic? We have a current market cap of $3,000 if you assume no growth and we pay dividends from our ad revenue.

    This is why we get paid the big bucks.

    -JD

    Comment by Johnny Debacle -

  40. Our site handled the traffic issue differently. We commenced issuing a quarterly dividend to all subscribers. We figure that any problem from limited natural resources to endemic poverty can be solved with the proper incentive so why not traffic? We have a current market cap of $3,000 if you assume no growth and we pay dividends from our ad revenue.

    This is why we get paid the big bucks.

    -JD

    Comment by Johnny Debacle -

  41. Speaking of piracy, please buy the Pirates.

    Please.

    Please.

    I mean it.

    Please.

    Sincerely,

    A looonong-suffering Pirates fan (from the Lumber & Lightning/Lumber Co. era)

    Viva ’79!

    Death to Sid Bream!

    Comment by Rich Karpinski -

  42. Here we go again – the same topic of conversation with a new revenue twist. In order to find the “correct answer” the “correct problem” must be determined. That problem is with filtering the internet. Finally, all the information that you could ever want is available on the internet. Unfortunately, it is hard to find that gem of information amongst all the rubbish. New sites like http://digg.com seem to have the ticket. Give surfers the ability to filter out content through a convenient means. There needs to be more “discovery” websites where you can actually discover good content. More quality recommendation sites are needed and there are many downfalls to this – copiers, thieves, etc… Mark, you are correct when you say that the industry needs to wake up to the revenue potential. The bureaucracy of large corporations always stands in the way…however this is for the better good. Rapid changes result in lost revenue all too often. In the common Napster case, there were many reasons why the labels didn’t come together and support the legal downloading method. One reason was sheer pride that they wouldn’t give in to thieves, another was the lack of VC support because of officer holdouts, another was they were too far ahead of DRM. Let’s face it, DRM still has a really really long way to go and sites like eMusic.com will never get the traction to deliver what the customer wants. I think what you are getting at Mark is that throughout history – the customer always gets what they want. Unfortunately, this is never the case with the entertainment industry especially now that the tastes of the consumer are geared towards completely free offerings and real ownership instead of virtual or limited ownership (rental). Content is still king and since the consumer wants free offerings, the only way to recoup revenue is through advertising and affiliate profit sharing. Wow, I guess after all that I ended up agreeing with you🙂 Have fun with it!

    Comment by Nic Rio -

  43. This has already been done with amazon.com. This is a huge program to implement, and probably not worth the time…in the short run.

    In the long run, it could keep these papers up and running. In about 5 years they’ll be eating your words.

    Comment by Evan Erwin -

  44. the only reason why i am interested in knowing if you are considering buying any other sports team is because i wouldn’t want you to be gone for mavs games! you are the biggest fan and it would just be weird to not see you w/ the team. you have a wife…girls need reassurance! just want to make sure your time, attention, and devotion would still be here in dallas =)

    Comment by cali -

  45. off subject: are u really thinkin about buyin the pittsburg pirates!? read it in the paper today but ive always heard that you cant always trust what you read in the paper/magazines.

    Comment by cali -

  46. For the love of all that is good, and speaking of “piracy,” buy the Pittsburgh Pirates. Great fan base and an awesome stadium with (currently) stupid owners.

    Comment by Erik J. Barzeski -

  47. I’d be more than happy to send you traffic in exchange for 50% of the CPM on the aforementioned sites. I do however think there is an inherent advantage for smaller sites in this regard. The CPM on the sites I manage is probably very small compared to sites like the NYTimes. I would be willing to bet that 50% of their CPM would probably still be higher than the full CPM on my sites. Not that I would be complaining to have a higher ad revenue…

    Comment by hsolive -

  48. I like a lot of your ideas. But your hypothetical situation of copying an entire NYTimes article to your web site, instead of some other method which directs the reader to the NYTimes site, results in a 100% opportunity lost for NYTimes. Incorrect. You’re assuming that I as the reader am willing to pay for it, or even to register for free to see the article.

    Indeed, if someone sends me an article to a newspaper website that I have to register, even at no cost, I might not read it. So there isn’t truly an opportunity lost in that sense.

    However there is (at least) one exception: a totally free and unencumbered site that uses banner advertisements as revenue. In that case NYTimes could assert 100 page views instead of 10 for example.

    Comment by hsolive -

  49. MARK!!!! BIG FAN OF THE MAVERICKS!! RITE BACK AT YA JACOB(CLOSET MAVS FAN) WAR DIRK AND THE MAVS TAKING IT ALL THIS YEAR!! Sorry, that this post doesnt relate to the topic.We finally got a more defensive-oriented line up this year and now that Dirks found his mean-streak, our chances are looking sweet! After pounding the spurs a couple nights ago, im confident we’ll be able to compete with the best and it doesnt hurt to stay underneath the radar amongst the tough west. alright, great blog. hopefully this team will continue to grow; I miss najera’s scrappy defense and finleys clutch shooting but o wells…peace~ btw, wheres keon clark?

    Comment by Steve Jung -

  50. Go Dodger!

    Comment by Jacob Cho -

  51. Steve Jung this is for you!!!
    Go Lakers!

    Comment by Jacob Cho -

  52. screw the pirates, buy the cubbies baby.

    Comment by Gabriel -

  53. I fully agree. Someones once asked me about my thoughts on music piracy. I responded that by downloaded a song for free off the internet I have been exposed to something that I would never have bothered to pay for previously. This “sample” has led me to buying concert tickets, buying albums, reading books etc. that I’d never previously bothered to buy into because of cost. I understand that artists are losing some money (eg. singles sales $8) but I think they are gaining a percentage of it back in other areas (concert tickets $80, albums $30, band t-shirts $50).

    Comment by Rowdy -

  54. Actually, it looks like your logic is a little faulty. You say that if someone downloads a song and ends up liking the band because of the *free* download, thereby possibly buying the band’s CD in the future, or going to their concerts, or buying their t-shirts/posters/etc., or even simply having a “favorable” impression of them, thereby making them a good ad pimp (something i don’t believe you mentioned, but true nonetheless), then this could actually benefit them in the long run. This, I agree with.

    Where your logic seems a little faulty, however, is that it would be EXACTLY the same for the NY Times, et al (that is, as long as the NY Times was credited with having written the article – granted, a big “if” on the internet). If fact, in this example, it would be even more true. Why? Because of the volume. With a band, for example (and even more for a movie), the selection of content is very limited. A band’s CD has – what? – maybe 12 songs. A movie, of course, is one piece of content only. With a publication like the NY Times, you have literally thousands of pieces of content to pick from. If someone reads a NY Times article on your website and comes away with a favorable impression (which is foolish at best – but that’s another story), then you could use the same logic as in the CD/Movie example – only moreso. Why moreso? Because the reader knows that the NY Times is only a FREE click away, and they also know that the NY Times is going to be updated a few times a day (not a few times a decade – when the drummer gets out of rehab or the bassist is finished thinking he’s a politician). Why would I return to your site to read the NY Times when I know that I can get the real thing for free with the same effort – and then even more of the same? (The caveat, as I said, is that the article is identified as being a NY Times article.)

    But, ok, you’re looking for new ways of revenue sharing – which I applaud. I think you may actually be onto something. The “strawman” you set up to illustrate it, however, is a little soggy.

    extra note: In the digital world, the option of stealing will always be an issue. But no one will ever truly “rise to the top” by stealing. As such, you will always have the bottom-feeders that steal, and the only way to combat them is on the macro level, not the mircro level. Search engines, like Google for example, have gotten fairly good at eliminating spam from the search engine results (lots of exceptions, but as a whole, this is true). It’s an on-going technology battle, but it should be left at that level – the macro technology level. If “Mark Cuban” were to start reproducing full NY Times articles without attribution, you wouldn’t stay at the top for very long. But because you are at the top, you can’t do that (even if you wanted to). But now if “Miguel Cuban” wanted to do that, he probably could. But he would never get very far with it, and if he started to get somewhere with it, he’d come under a lot of scrutiny pretty fast. He’d always be a bottom-feeder, and to paraphrase the famous quotation, “We will always have the bottom-feeders among us.” Let the very dumb (and it is actually very dumb) macro technology do battle against the bottom feeders. Let human nature guide us elsewhere.

    Comment by Joe -

  55. This sort of idea has been tried before. A good many affiliate programs used to work on a PPC basis (paying $0.5-$0.30 per visitor). I say used to because these programs are few and far between these days (and the one’s that remain are very picky about who they work with).

    It would be the spammers who ruined it. They funneled massive amounts of untargeted, uninterested traffic to those affiliate sites. The same thing would happen here. Though untargeted visitors would not rack up many pageviews per visit, if you send enough it doesn’t matter.

    Yes, the Times or whoever would then be able to claim a lot more pageviews (“reach”). But what advertiser wants to pay higher prices to advertise to spammer traffic? A program like this, if not strictly moderated, could destroy a site’s reputation.

    Just some food for thought.

    Comment by Jason Carr -

  56. Yeah and I love how those numbers on the “lost revenue” are thrown everywhere and make it into every article on piracy in such a matter of fact way.

    Comment by Jared Miller -

  57. Mark,

    I like a lot of your ideas. But your hypothetical situation of copying an entire NYTimes article to your web site, instead of some other method which directs the reader to the NYTimes site, results in a 100% opportunity lost for NYTimes. Incorrect. You’re assuming that I as the reader am willing to pay for it, or even to register for free to see the article.

    Indeed, if someone sends me an article to a newspaper website that I have to register, even at no cost, I might not read it. So there isn’t truly an opportunity lost in that sense.

    However there is (at least) one exception: a totally free and unencumbered site that uses banner advertisements as revenue. In that case NYTimes could assert 100 page views instead of 10 for example.

    Comment by Mike Robinson -

  58. Mark –
    Thanks for your support of our beloved Pittsburgh Pirates. Unfortunately, Pittsburgh is not that lucky.

    Come to the burgh, we’ll get hammered!

    Charlie Licata – Squirrel Hill, PA

    Comment by Charlie Licata -

  59. Mark –
    Thanks for your support of our beloved Pittsburgh Pirates. Unfortunately, Pittsburgh is not that lucky.

    Come to the burgh, we’ll get hammered!

    Charlie Licata – Squirrel Hill, PA

    Comment by Charlie Licata -

  60. Couldn’t agree with you more Mark. We here at Topix.net actually came out with a version of this product a while ago and would welcome an opportunity to add you (and others) to our partner list!

    See the following article for details:
    http://www.clickz.com/news/article.php/3553736

    Comment by mike -

  61. that was a very smart post. I agree, especially with the downloading music part. But also your whole plan is great, so I was thinking you coulsd start with me, I will post a link to your site on my blog, and we will you can pay me 50 percent of those people I bring to your blog. Sounds good, lets do it.

    But that also means you are gonna have to cut a nice check to TNT for all the people like myself that they brought to your blog…

    Comment by Shane Guymon -

  62. Couldn’t agree with you more Mark. We here at Topix.net actually came out with a version of this product a while ago and would welcome an opportunity to add you (and others) to our partner list!

    See the following article for details:
    http://www.clickz.com/news/article.php/3553736

    Comment by mike -

  63. Well… not all the NYTimes material is free for the taking…. I pay about $50/year for online access to columnists and the archives, among other things.

    Comment by JWP -

  64. Of course, the idea is brilliant. One thing that would make it better is if the web (HTML and HTTP specifically) were augmented to make it just as easy to incorporate attributed content as it is to link to content. Imagine a tag like this:

    <attr src=”www.nytimes.com/?article=1023336&affiliate=cuban”>

    The browser would go get the story and the ads and splice it inline in your web page. And since it would be part of the HTML spec and the HTTP spec (HTTP would tell the web site that it’s getting content for insertion and the web site could say no), the web community would just use it or turn it off if they don’t want to share.

    But Mark, the sentiment I disagree with which I read into your posting (and all the context around it including your support of Grokster) is that an online business model is what makes it wrong to steal content. If content is effectively free with no risk and no obligation, there’s not much incentive to come up with a working business model to make people pay for it. Perhaps Napster and Grokster needed to happen to clear up some issues, but if the outcomes had been opposite, we’d have a lot tougher time convincing people to pay for digital goods.

    Comment by Brad Hutchings -

  65. ok.. mark… set up the affiliate stats… i’m linking to icerocket… also.. make a small box with the icerocket logo over the search box please… see the google box @ coolwebsites.org.

    Comment by paisley -

  66. I’d be more than happy to send you traffic in exchange for 50% of the CPM on the aforementioned sites. I do however think there is an inherent advantage for smaller sites in this regard. The CPM on the sites I manage is probably very small compared to sites like the NYTimes. I would be willing to bet that 50% of their CPM would probably still be higher than the full CPM on my sites. Not that I would be complaining to have a higher ad revenue…

    Comment by Chris -

  67. Mark, great points. I was VP of product development at Napster back in 2000 we made the same points to the record labels and the RIAA. They didn’t get it…and still don’t. I wrote a blog about my experiences at Napster – The inside story, which was also recently reprinted as a guest editorial on CNET. You can see the full story on my blog http://dondodge.typepad.com/the_next_big_thing/2005/10/napster_the_ins.html

    Comment by Don Dodge -

  68. Good plan, but big media doesn’t like sharing revenue. NYTimes, for example, always is a top search engine result because of it’s content. Most of the Cut & Pasted text is forums/blogs and most people view it as common courtesy to give a linkback to the content creator.

    NYTimes and other news outlets have created their own brands, where is the need to share? If you want to make money off syndicated news you can go buy an AP feed and see if you get get ranked in some news search engines, it’s very simple.

    Comment by Adam -

  69. Oh yeah… I have to ask… any comments on the Pirates?

    Comment by Taylor -

  70. I really like your idea of a network of PPC. It seems that it would work just fine. My only fear is that if this were to really catch on, you, and any web page, whether personal or commercial, would have ads lining the page. We’re already saturated, why add more? It kills the experience. I have a few links on my blog to some commercial sites, some personal, like yours, but I’m sure I’d add a lot more banners/links if there were incentives. I would just hate myself for doing adding them. It’s the walmart effect (love them for their prices, hate them for everyting else).

    Comment by Taylor -

  71. good

    Comment by imdbcn -

  72. After pounding the spurs a couple nights ago, im confident we’ll be able to compete with the best and it doesnt hurt to stay underneath the radar amongst the tough west. alright, great blog.

    Comment by runescape money -

  73. Let’s face it, DRM still has a really really long way to go and sites like eMusic.com will never get the traction to deliver what the customer wants.

    Comment by wow powerleveling -

Comments are closed.