Newsvine Plucked By MSNBC

    October 8, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

News community site Newsvine just made an undisclosed amount of cash for its owners as MSNBC agreed to purchase it.

Newsvine Plucked By MSNBC
Newsvine Plucked By MSNBC

The Newsvine model won’t change after the acquisition. They anticipate continuing to operate independently, with content contributors retaining the copyrights to their work.

But now that MSNBC has bought Newsvine, the money becomes an issue. Without its content contributors, who work for a 90 percent ad revenue share, Newsvine may not be the sweet purchase it became for the site’s founders.

Jeremy Wagstaff raised the topic of money in assessing the deal:

But still there’s the nagging feeling that money is being made on the backs of others. If all those producing the work were interested only in wider exposure, then the MSNBC deal is good — lots of opportunities for their writings to be read by a wider audience.

Money is probably of little consequence to most of those using Newsvine. They’re more interested in the satisfaction that comes from "owning" a community. But inevitably money changes the equation: it is that very community, not the site per se, that has attracted MSNBC’s dollars. Should not the community, therefore, be entitled to some of that money?

The official word from Newsvine on its blog stresses the deal helps expand the reach of its content to a wider audience. It’s all about the community.

Co-founder Calvin Tang touched briefly on the community compensation question:

The revenue sharing arrangement we have with users will continue in its present form for the time being. Though, and completely unrelated to the acquisition by, we have been considering making an adjustment to the way contributors are compensated based on suggestions from users.

It doesn’t sound like trickle-down economics will be coming to Newsvine’s contributors. For those who will enjoy the benefit of broader exposure to more readers, and that is a big plus, MSNBC should be able to deliver that.