Buy Side Publishing, An Open Model

    April 21, 2006

Allow me to further simplify the Buy Side Publishing model. The most efficient part of the content business isn’t in how or what they produce, nor how they distributed it, but how they make money.

Today the embraced commoditization is in advertising, with standardized metrics such as CPM. But this makes money through directed attention, not directly from content. To that, with the balance between freedom and profit motive required in a modern business model, you simply:

1. Apply CPM, and other standardized metrics developed for advertising, to content

2. Build upon the Creative Commons framework to ensure reuse without DRM under such commercial terms

This fills in the grey area between Commercial and Non-Commercial, or rather, let’s you define Commercial use along with terms. Maybe this is an over simplification, but picture this content universe…

1. But picture this post with a discoverable watermark that bakes in these two terms, with a CPM of $10 communicated to the clearinghouse each time the invisible .gif is impressed. Say you read it and like it, fair reader and writer, and decide to republish it on your site.

2. Someone else grabs it from my blogs and remixes it into a commercially minded remix.

3. Now picture someone finds it on your site, and thinks it would be a perfect complement to a Sell Side Advertising ad that is starting to take hold as a meme.

4. Suddenly, as a publisher, I make money from all three transactions without the one-off transaction costs that plauge old notions of syndication.

I happen to think this is a model that not only unlocks value, but discovers it.

Jeff Jarvis comments:

But Ross, you assume that anyone would pay for content when they can link to it. Not sure that’s a valid assumption. What am I missing?

Commercially viable remix use cases.

For example, search and aggregation are limited to fair use cases today. Google scrapes and indexes an entire page, but only presents a link and summary on their own site. What business models could they come up with going beyond fair use? Or take more traditional media and their reliance on newswires as fodder. What if they could efficiently syndicate diverse content sourced online into print? Or from the initial publisher perspective, is there content you want to offer openly for non-commercial reuse, but also not restrict commercial use so long as you get paid?

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Ross Mayfield is CEO and co-founder of Socialtext, an emerging provider of Enterprise Social Software that dramatically increases group productivity and develops a group memory.

He also writes Ross Mayfield’s Weblog which focuses on markets, technology and musings.