Is Feedburner about to be closed by Google?

The risk of relying on free third party services to build your your internet business is that they’re always subject to change and closure at any time – and as a non-paying customer, it gives you little to stand on. It’s particularly worrying in some areas, where companies of the size and scale of Google have effectively closed out the market, particularly in terms of RSS syndication with Feedburner and RSS reading with Google Reader.

We’ve already seen negative changes to Google Reader forced on users as Google sacrificed it to try and jumpstart Google+.

And now there’s some worrying signs about Feedburner, spotted by good friend Julius Solaris, who runs the Event Manager Blog.

 

What’s happening to Feedburner?

Having used Feedburner for years, it appears little positive has happened since acquisition by Google, and largely the service for syndicating and placing advertising in RSS feeds has been left running, but little more. Given the relative Adsense performance for the sites I’ve seen using RSS advertising, it doesn’t deliver the same kind of revenue as the formats available for website advertising, but given the scale of it as one of the main syndication/advertising tools for RSS, you have to imagine that it’s profitable given the lack of positive investment.

But today two things have happened. The Google Adsense for Feeds Blog has announced it has closed;

‘After some consideration, we recognize that we’re just not generating enough content here to warrant your time, so we won’t be posting here any longer.’

Which is true, given the last prior post was in October, 2010.

But also the @Feedburner Twitter account is being closed from today as well. The Feedburner API was already deprecated and is due to close in October, 2012.

Now this may be a sensible logistic move to integrate RSS syndication into another Google product line and possibly could be a positive if it becomes an integral part of something like Google Adsense to ensure the Feedburner functionality lives on in something which gets more support and investment.

Or it may be a far more worrying move to deprecate and close Feedburner.

The worst part is that Google is shuttering the communication channels regarding Feedburner without making it clear either way, which leaves a lot of people potential sat wondering what will happening with their RSS feeds and advertising in the future.

 

Feedburner Alternatives?

There are some alternatives out there to Feedburner. Julius has already pointed out FeedBlitz, which I’ve looked at in the past but never got around to trialling. It offers similar services, and claims more reliable statistics than Feedburner (Which isn’t difficult as they’ve always been notoriously flakey and prone to manipulation). It’s also a paid service, but you only pay for Email subscribers rather than RSS subscribers, so worth investigating.

If you have any other alternatives to mention or recommend, hit the comments below and I’ll add them into the post.

 

Trust in Google?

I don’t subscribe to the fact that Google as a business has to act like a benevolent figure to the internet by providing free services indefinitely at a cost to their business. The ‘Do No Evil’ mantra is nice enough, but businesses have to make money to survive and it’s been sacrificed in the past in order to access new markets such as China.

And if they’ve decided they can’t make enough revenue from Feedburner to continue supporting it, then that’s fair enough – if only they’d announce a clear message on what the future is so that millions of bloggers can make a rational decision.

But I do think Google is continually dropping the ball at the moment regarding their services, particularly those previously available for free. For every good thing they do for the internet as a whole, they seem to counter it with a lack of information and foresight in changing and closing services which a significant proportion of people rely on – especially those more technology-obsessed, and despite being a numerical minority, the old 90:9:1 rule of engagement reminds us that the tech-savvy bloggers etc are the most vocal online.

Google has built a business on providing many free tools to build scale, whether it’s Google Anlytics, or acquisitions such as Blogger and Feedburner, which provided easier ways for us to create inventory for Google Adsense to fill. And now it appears they’re increasingly scaling back on those areas.

The outcome for me is that I’m going to be investing more time to wean myself away from Google tools in many areas. In some cases, free open source solutions are available for me to roll my own alternatives, and in others, it means paying for things which have previously been free.

The end result is that the number of self-publishers may drop – if you’re starting to pay for more elements of self-publishing a website or blog, suddenly it has to make more money to be financially viable. No more leaving old sites around to pick up a few pennies a month.

That may be a benefit for ordinary people – as great as the self-publishing revolution has been, it means that those who continue to work on their own websites will need to put in more time and effort to create a more polished experience and make enough revenue, and there will be less half-finished sites kicking around.

But it also has a cost to Google – less publishers means less inventory, and therefore less Adsense revenue. And by losing the long tail, they’ll lose a lot of people generating small revenues which add to a significant amount, even for a company of the size of Google.

 

Update:

Dave Winer, the pioneer of RSS has kindly referenced this post and provided two important tips in case Feedburner is due to close – 1 tip for how Google can help, and 1 tip for what we can do to prepare for any problems.   I’d recommend following his writing on a daily basis if you don’t already.

December – an opportunity for great work?

Dominated by Christmas, the month of December often seems like a chance to relax a little, and churn out some blog posts looking either back at the past year, or making a few predictions for the next. And while I’m probably going to end up writing some variations on those themes, I also have a much better plan for December this year.

I’m going to be working harder than ever to take advantage of the fact some people will be easing off. Whilst I know a lot of great companies and individuals will be working as hard as they do for the rest of the year, if even 5% of the rest take a bit of a break, I need to be making the most of that opportunity!

TheWayoftheWeb:

In terms of freelancing and consultancy, I’ve got a small and growing number of clients, which is great news. But to make it truly sustainable I need to increase that number, so the fact that many companies will be looking to improve their content and digital marketing for 2011 is a great opportunity.

On that note, this blog will be more focused going forwards. I’ve had some very nice offers to contribute to some very good sites, and I’ve struggled to find topics which I didn’t already cover. But with my concentration on content creation and marketing for my own business, it makes sense to funnel some of my writing on the media, journalism and publishing onto some more relevant sites…

Personal Projects:

  • OnlineRaceDriver.com: In under 12 months, the site has done really well with sustained growth in terms of content contributors and traffic. But the difference between a nice little blog and a publishing business comes down to the business model, which is something I want to prove can work for smaller sites.
  • 140Char: I started 140Char almost 3 years ago now, and although it’s been great fun, the time and effort to run it hasn’t evolved into something which makes a good enough return. For the last month or two it’s been mainly dormant while I look at whether it continues with some big changes, transfers to new ownership, or the content gets archived on a free host for the time being.
  • DPiP: The first two Peterborough meet-ups have gone well, and I’ve been talking to a couple of people about how we can involve DPiP into something which offers more educational and business opportunities alongside the social side of meeting local digital people for drinks. Most of that should be in place for the next meetup in January.
  • 1-2 new projects: At the moment, I’ve probably got just enough time and space for one, possibly two, of the new projects and ideas I’m been discussing with a couple of people. In the next week or so it should be clear which is the best business proposition, and I should be able to start talking about what is going on.

So a pretty busy time. As ever, client projects come first, with OnlineRaceDriver remaining as an example of building a site and business with great content and some of the digital and social marketing techniques available for very little financial investment (time is another matter!). DPiP is very much something which will grow with the involvement of everyone that has expressed an interest, and I’m pretty confident one of the new projects will soon evolve into a productive business interest.

Of course, I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t make time for friends and family over the holiday period – especially as someone with a young family to indulge and spoil this year. But all the time I can be building a future for my family, that’s what I’ll be putting first this year!!!

Print publishing continues to bemuse me…

The Association of Online Publishers 2010 summit opened today, with experimentation and innovation as key items mentioned by chairman Tim Faircliff. I wasn’t in attendance, but I completely agree – both were key when I started my career back in 2001, and both were key since the dawn of business. The worrying thing is that we’re still reiterating that need in 2010.

And when it comes to print? Even more bemusing. Ignoring paywalls and iPad apps for the moment (They still count as experimentation, but neither is innovative anymore), there’s news that Bauer Media (former employers of mine for a long time) is about to trial ‘Gazetta’ – a Grazia for men featuring a strong news and fashion agenda and will also feature food, travel and automotive content. It’s being bundled with Grazia and given away free to test it without spending millions on launching first.

At the same time, The Independent is rumoured to be launching a new 20p newspaper targeting 20-somethings.

Why I’m so bemused…

Firstly, if you want to test something cheaply, £50 will do it and about 30 minutes will do it – just go and buy a domain and some hosting from somewhere like www.GoDaddy.com (aff link), and put some content up. You’ll have insights by the end of the first week.

Secondly, targetting men and 20-somethings? Ignoring the 20%+ year-on-year decreases for Bauer men’s titles FHM and Zoo, here are some interesting stats from research published back in February:

  • 99% of young males go online every day or nearly every day, with 80% saying they’d be lost without it.
  • 57% of young men have their closest technology attachment to the internet, followed by 49% for their mobile phone.
  • 25% of young men admitted to checking their email and 18% to looking at social networking sites on their mobile phone before they get out of bed in the morning. Some 94% use email at least once per day, compared with 60% that use a social network such as Facebook.
  • More than 25% of young males living with their partners watch TV on a computer in the living room while their other half uses the main TV set.

Now, this research was carried out on behalf of Microsoft Advertising, so feel free to draw your own conclusion from that, but if you’re targeting young men, would you be using print as your priority? Bauer have lined up some big name advertisers for the trial, as you’d expect, but do you think they’ll be retained long term?

And already in a similar market you’ve got the free to consumer Shortlist, radio companies such as my former employers at Absolute Radio, and numerous television offerings – the big difference between the male-targeted strategy for radio and print is that one compliments multi-tasking, the other fights against it.

And why ‘Gazetta’? A hangover from Italian football on UK TV and the rise of Starbucks a few years ago?

I’m interested to know what other people might think? Any guesses whether either new title will be successful or otherwise? Is digital too crowded?

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Content farms will eat themselves

The leading example of web publishing dubbed ‘content farms’ is Demand Media, which has just publicly filed registration for an IPO, and as a result has made it’s financial records public for the first time.

There was some surprise that content farming doesn’t currently make Demand Media profitable – last year it turned over $198 million in revenue, but still managed to lose $22 million. This year is looking better – a $6 million loss on $108 million so far… but it’s also important to note that a sizeable percentage of revenue is actually coming from Demand’s web registrar business, eNom, rather than content farming.

Content farms will peak this year:

I definitely think this is the right time for an IPO, as I honestly believe that this year could be the peak of content farming as a sustainable model for big business – for years, small companies and individuals have gone around creating targeted landing pages, and I still think there are ways to make this work effectively, but sizeable companies dominating the space are going to struggle.

What content farms rely on:

There are two things that content farms rely on for content creation – Search and Advertising. Essentially they’re creating content to respond to popular search queries to arbitrage advertising revenue (sold direct or via networks such as Google’s Adsense). In Demand’s case, it currently has deals with Google which are set to end in 2011.

They’re able to produce this content by farming the work out to a legion of online writers who are submitting for a low cost.

The shakey foundations of content farms:

Search – Traffic comes from responding to search queries. If the nature of search changes, by becoming more personalised and from social recommendations, then the traffic to search query specific sites drops.

This is likely, because the search content is often on sites which have no focus on owning an area with quality content – which is the sort of thing which is more likely to be shared on social networks (It should have also been the sort of content more likely to be highlighted by Google – maybe in 2011?).

Advertising – Ad networks, affiliate deals, and particularly advertising linked closely to search works, such as Google Adwords. If you can optimise a page for traffic and response by targeting people actively searching for it, and it’s something which advertisers will happily bid a significant amount to advertise against, you’re in business.

But the nature of the internet, and relatively open networks like Adwords (which have no minimum barrier to entry), means that there are always going to be an increasing number of options for advertisers. And while there will only ever be a handful of sites getting sizeable traffic from a position on page one of the search results, Adwords is keyword-based, so in aggregate you can achieve a similar scale more cheaply if you start digging into the results (as more people will – search advertising is relatively old in terms of internet revenues, but still a newborn for most advertisers.)

Content creators: Content farms can exist because there are thousands of people who are willing and able to churn out enough content to make a worthwhile return for them despite the relatively low reward – in comparison to traditional freelance costs for someone working in the media. Partly this is because it’s easy – relative to establishing a successful blog in a niche and achieving the same level of earnings for example. And partly it’s down to a lack of options – if you’re not one of the ‘elite’ with a job for traditional media, and you’re not building your own property, there’s an apparent limit to your options for contributing for payment

The earthquakes of algorithms and competition:

Google, (and Bing, Wolphram Alpha, or any other search product) uses software which can be tweaked and changed at any point – and if content farming is producing terrible writing (I’m not saying that’s the case across all companies and articles, but potentially en masse), then that software algorithm can be adapted.

Plus the social web is having an increased effect on both filtering and discovery. Google News is experimenting with human editors, whilst the likes of Facebook and Twitter have made social recommendations more mainstream than the previous traffic drivers of Digg, Reddit and Stumbleupon, because suddenly my none-digitally addicted friends have a quick and easy way to share links beyond their email connections, and for everyone else to pick up on them and repeat them.

And content farming is not a new concept – the segment of bloggers who focus primarily on making money have long looked at search data and advertising as the way to isolate niches which are most likely to make them a reward… So there’s nothing which is protected from unlimited competition, particularly when the likes of aol and Yahoo have also started to use search as a tool for article creation.

Finally, there’s a big element missing from content farm advertising. I’ve spent a long time working for media companies, and whatever you may believe about the media industry as a whole, I’ve seen an enormous amount of respect and faith from audiences for traditional media products. There are flaws in traditional display advertising, but you’re not just buying the ‘last click’ – indeed several attempts have been made to quantify the branding and awareness benefit you get from advertising with a big media brand.

Indeed, the same is true of advertising with a small niche blog in many ways – if I’m actively accepting advertising (which I do), and promoting affiliate products (which I also do), I have a vested interest in vetting them beforehand to avoid losing any trust, respect and loyalty from anyone who visits my site. I’ve never made a direct recommendation for anyone to purchase something I haven’t sampled first, and I take a similar approach to the advertising I sell directly. Only those adverts served by Google Adsense are independent from any editorial judgement, and that hopefully means that the implicit or explicit links mean that there’s an element of trust there.

Whereas people writing solely for search aren’t building that same level of engagement – they’re writing whatever they’re assigned, and that’s not going to translate to the social web effectively. I don’t pay to promote myself – I submit my content to several other locations, and then it’s down to the people who either know me, or see it and like it, to reward it with recommendations, links and traffic.

And there’s a final thought – at the moment there are several big sites allowing you to contribute on a huge range of topics without necessarily benefitting you financially. Wikipedia is one example, but others, for instance, Squidoo, allow you to donate any earnings to charity, for example. At the moment most of the open or non-profit approaches aren’t as prominent in the minds of many people, but as time goes by, more and more people seem to be following the notion of establishing a knowledgeable online presence in order to benefit indirectly, rather than monetising it at the source – Cory Doctorow often quotes Tim O’Reilly as saying ‘ the greatest enemy of a new author isn’t piracy, it’s obscurity’, and the same could be true on monetisation. More and more people seem to be contributing and building elements of online empires to establish reputation over monetisation, and these non-profit approaches could become another source of competition.

So what can content farms do?

In my eternal optimism, I think there’s a future for an evolution of content farming – to establish the leverage to provide a platform which correctly rewards people for displaying a high level of knowledge and engagement, so that those wishing for a direct financial reward can be recompensed, and advertisers can confidently invest in the branding and trust benefits of being associated with them.

But the challenge is that it’s an area in which media companies have existed for years, and they’re coming to the web from the opposite angle as they are getting more and more digitally savvy (there’s still a long way to go, but there’s probably more movement in digital from a lot of big media companies in the last year or so than in the last 5 or 6). If they don’t fall into only developing expertise in a closed application ecosystem, but also continue to invest, experiment and build, then content farms could actual be inspiring and paving the way for traditional brands to have a resurgence.

Open Software – from watches to newspapers

One of the most interesting trends of recent years has been the way that increasing openness has been embraced by a growing number of proprietary business who realise that they probably can’t come up with all the great ideas for a product.

For example, the wristwatch has been coming under attack from the fact so many people use their mobile phone for checking the time (and a lot more). And past ideas to include digital information in a watch have generally been a bit, well, rubbish, as they’ve tended to look like a reject from the 1980s vision of the future.

But Fossil seem to have a cool idea, as reported by ReadWriteWeb. Make something that looks really good, allow the type of notifications which are short, actionable and time-sensitive. And then open-source it to developers to come up with amazing ideas for what could be displayed there, rather than trying to think of them all.

Meanwhile, the Journal Register company has been experimenting with producing online and print editions of their newspapers using only free tools. Dubbed the Ben Franklin project, it’s involved using a variety of tools – for instance, WordPress as a publishing platform, or GIMP for image editing.

And they’re honest about the fact that this experiment is about finding the best ways to publish print and digital products for the future, using more cost-effective ways to exist in a challenging market. Their blog about the experience is well worth reading, and already alerted me to an interesting open source Desktop Publishing System called Scribus which I haven’t had the good fortune to try yet. (H/T Tim Windsor)

Free and open isn’t the only solution you should look at – there are sometimes very good reasons for going the proprietary route. And open comes with certain commitments it could be easy for companies to overlook (Such as the commitment to contribute back to the codebase – easy to forget if it comes after all your business-critical tasks). But with those caveats in place, proprietary software now has to work so much harder to earn its keep.

Not sure how to monetise your eyeballs?

While newspaper and magazine owners are still trying to decide whether or not they should aim for eyeballs or paywalls, there are several other companies who are happy to take up the challenge.

For instance, online social media publisher Mashable has signed a deal to syndicate content to Thursday editions of Metro in the U.S. Mashable founder Pete Cashmore is already a regular on CNN in the U.S, and Mashable and CNN. Plus Mashable has partnered with CNN for the Mashable Media Summit 2010.

It’s interesting to see that mainstream publications and online publications are increasingly merging, but the ‘digital natives’ seem less worried and more sure that they’ve already got the monetisation aspect under control.

One reason is that by the time the likes of Mashable and Techcrunch have reached their current scale, they have already had to answer the questions of how to fund an online business. But as they grew from relatively humble beginnings, they’ve tackled it as they’ve grown without having to worry about legacy systems and overheads.

And by the same token, if you look at the staffing levels – Mashable lists 20 staff, and Techcrunch lists 21.

Compare that to the epic lists of staff at most magazines, for example, and you can see a big contrast.  There are print magazines run by smaller teams, but none that have the scale of the leading blogs (Or at least what started out as blogs).

So how do you produce so much content with a small team across all our properties? Simple, count the guest posts and the open offers to submit work to the likes of Mashable and Techcrunch.

Then consider a quote from the 2010 PPA Conference from the Chief Executive of Future Publishing, Stevie Spring:

“Advertisers are scared of the prospect of seeing their ads next to user-generated content. This won’t change. All it takes is one bad example to put brands off.”

That’s why sites which benefit from user-generated content are filtering and curating that content to get value out of it. There’s a reason why there are successful businesses based around user-generated content, but 4Chan isn’t one of them.

Consumers pay less, and publishers starting to diversify?

The changing nature of publishing, and particularly digital publishing, has been highlighted in a couple of stories today on the amount that consumers are willing to spend on media online, and the moves by U.S. publisher Hearst to acquire a different type of business.

The consumer study was KPMG’s Media & Entertainment Barometer, which, as Paid Content highlighted, showed that the time spent with both traditional and digital media over the last six months had increased.

But the actual amount being spent had decreased – traditional media dropped from £9.19 per month to £7.46, and digital media dropped from £1.99 to £0.98. And although more people favoured offline access, those that opted for online went for on-demand availability, the availability of free content, and the fact they’re already in front of a screen.

But obviously the study has taken place during/towards the tail end of a global recession, so I was a little surprised not to see that mentioned in over reports. It would have been interested to see the trend pre-recession to see what was happening. And to have seen a mention of other forms of media beyond newspapers and magazines.

But it seems one U.S. publisher is trying to adapt pretty quickly – I was a bit surprised to read that Hearst is looking to buy SEO and Marketing company iCrossing for around $375 million.

Most of the discussion so far has been around Hearst bringing search engine marketing in-house, along with social media marketing, measurement and analytics. But that seems like a hefty investment in internal knowledge by acquisition – particularly as iCrossing has around 550 employees and two UK offices (Disclosure – iCrossing have provided SEO work to both Bauer Media and Absolute Radio at various times, and I’ve occasionally worked directly with them.)

The other potential outcome is a Hearst-owned iCrossing still working for external clients such as Travelocity, Coca-Cola and Toyota. But will brands still feel comfortable booking their marketing and SEO work through a company which has a vested interest in the properties of one media owner?

Without knowing the plans, and what Hearst currently spends purely on digital marketing, it’s hard to make a definitive statement on what it likely to be the outcome, but I think it’s worth discussing because it’s a very definite move from a big media company to acquire an entirely new revenue stream for a media company. And if it’s a battle to get consumers to pay for digital content, it’s much less of a struggle to persuade companies to pay to reach consumers via search or social networks – the two main sources of online referrals.

Is this the start of a merge between content and marketing for media owners, much as product retailers have begun to produce their own content as part of their own marketing?

How much to launch a new title online?

I’ve often wondered, and indeed directly questioned, why traditional publishers pondering new markets haven’t tested the water by launching an incredibly cost effective online trial for a new idea?

I suggested it quite a lot in the past – especially using external hosting and services to launch something for a total cost that’s less than a day’s pay for the lowliest of staff writers. And don’t claim that your market doesn’t use the internet – there are more than enough people from any demographic to give you a better idea of what they’ll do than a lot of panel-based research surveys of what people might claim they’d do.

How much would it cost?

Well some web hosting would cost around $60 for a year from a mainstream hosting provider.

A domain from the same place bought at the same time would be as low as $1.99 at the moment.

And having removed the potential roadblock of an uncooperative IT department, you might come up against problems getting design help?

Well, you could install WordPress and use a free theme.

Or, if you’re not happy and want something that comes with a more ‘professional’ look and guaranteed support, you can get a Premium, or Paid WordPress Theme for a good price.

For instance, for Online Race Driver, I went with the great Metro Theme from Studiopress (disc – aff links). The cost for that theme is $59.95 – or you can buy access to all their themes for $199.95. My experience with them has been good enough I’m looking to upgrade my membership shortly.  One benefit is that although many free themes are supported by their developers and support forums etc, the paid option tends to provide a slightly better guarantee of service levels etc.

But anyway, the cost to test your next idea with a website that can be set up in about an hour or so?

About $121.

Add in free website analytics from Google, and even include your own advertising, or bung in some Adsense ads.

And that’s what I’d have suggested for anyone – there are cheaper options, such as hosted blogs, but they tend to lack a little flexibility, or the chance to test advertisers etc.

But then I found out about the Secret London Facebook Group. As reported on Techcrunch, it’s reached 182,010 members in a handful of weeks.

Started by a university graduate competing for an internship, it’s now becoming a startup with not only 180,000+ members, but already 5000 photos uploaded.

Total cost? $0.

I’m not saying that it will necessarily translate into business success, but it’s a pretty effective way of tracking interest – and Facebook Connect would allow most of those interested to also interact with any new website.

Whenever someone has an idea for a new publication, it might be worth pausing before you dismiss it – and instead investing some time and a tiny amount of cash to see if it might fly…

Speaking, presenting, writing, and catching up…

I’m finally able to do something to assuage my blog guilt, after a week of some great meetings and working hard on a lot of cool stuff which unfortunately I can’t share just quite yet…

But I can share a very nice testimonial from Julian Thorne, Managing Director of Dovetail after they kindly let me present at their client conference recently…

‘Dan is incredibly knowledgeable about the social networks in all their myriad guises. He also has that rare ability to enthusiastically inform the uninitiated without ever being patronising’

You might not have heard, but my blogging absence coincided with some small computer and phone company launching some kind of computing device. Hence a post about what it could mean on the One Golden Square blog. Which led to the pleasure of writing a bit of a follow up on the Music Week site. And I’m also flattered by the fact Michael Leis credited me with inspiring his latest post on the iPad. (Incidentally, Michael has been on a bit of a roll with his blog posts recently – some great writing about the usage of APIs for example. Well worth reading/subscribing to).

On balance all that good stuff, this was the week when my Xbox decided to encounter the dreaded ‘Error 74’ – which basically means it has self-destructed just out of the warranty Microsoft specifically extended to three years to counter the fault. That means a £68 repair bill or buying a new Xbox in the post-Christmas month notorious for sending people into debt anyway.

What’s been interesting is that I don’t actually miss playing video games during my enforced break (I have to admit to also owning a PS2, PS, Dreamcast, N64, Sega Saturn, SNES, NES, Megadrive, Master System and various other consoles and computers if needed – reverting to the geek stereotype).

But I really miss the social side of online gaming. Particularly as a core group of friends who I rarely see in real life have all been online every time I’ve logged onto Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. It’s the fact I’m now barred from this interaction which is the stressful part, and the reason that I’m rebalancing the family budget to accommodate a solution asap.

It makes me wonder about the effect of a more complete disconnection – I’m still online and keeping up with my social life on Twitter, Facebook, forums etc – it’s purely the team-based adrenalin of online warfare I’m missing… But between work, commuting, writing for my personal projects and family life, it’s the one vicarious bit of entertainment in my life at the moment.

Still, it’s spurred me into arranging a couple of drinks with some friends, so I guess it’s not all bad…

Hi Newspapers – can I join the party?

Having spent a long time looking at, reading about, and experiencing firsthand the changes happening to print and digital mainstream media publishing, it’s a bit of a shock to find out I’ve gone down completely the wrong path.

Until now, I was siding with the view that complaining about Google ‘stealing’ the news and sending worthless visitors was more a sign of ineptitude and fear on the part of a traditional business model and industry which hasn’t radically changed in 100 years.

But then it struck me.

I write and publish content on two blogs.

That content is indexed by Google, even if I’m not a major contributor to Google News quite yet.

Google also supplies a lot of the advertising that appears on both my blogs.

Plus most of my blogging time is spent in Google Reader and Googlemail.

So that means if the newspapers can look for concessions from the Government, Google, Microsoft, and anywhere else they can think of, then so can I!

I can’t wait for the campaigning newspaper companies to get in touch and offer to help me as well. I might even get a call from Mr Murdoch himself.

And if cash isn’t forthcoming, I wouldn’t say no to a few links sending some more visitors my way… I don’t mind trying to make money from a much bigger pool of people…