But as one of the innovators in the last go round, I think there’s a much bigger problem lurking on the horizon than a bunch of blogs and aggregators disrupting old media business models that needed disrupting anyway. The rise of fast food content is upon us, and it’s going to get ugly.
Old media frets over blogs and aggregators that summarize content and link back to the original source. They can’t make a business in that world, they say, so they run the other way and try to find a way to protect and charge for content.
But for every link there are dozens of sites that outright steal our content with no attribution. Not just spam blogs, even the NYTimes does it. This isn’t a copyright issue – the stories are rewritten by actual people. But it’s far cheaper to simply take the news and rewrite it – if you can get away with it – than to hire people who do actual journalism. Over time, it becomes a competitive tax that is difficult to bear.
My advice to readers is just this – get ready for it, because you’ll be reading McDonalds five times a day in the near future. My advice to content creators is more subtle. Figure out an even more disruptive way to win, or die. Or just give up on making money doing what you do. If you write for passion, not dollars, you’ll still have fun. Even if everything you write is immediately ripped off without attribution, and the search engines don’t give you the attention they used to. You may have to continue your hobby in the evening and get a real job, of course. But everyone has to face reality sometimes.
Forget fair and unfair, right and wrong. This is simply happening. The disruptors are getting disrupted, and everyone has to adapt to it or face the consequences. Hand crafted content is dead. Long live fast food content, it’s here to stay.