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Where Content's Not Free

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In a world where content's not free, there are many professional publishers who meet niche needs. These publishers create private network effects and make enough money to continue serving their online markets for years.

While falling below the radar for consumers, publishers like Thomson and Reed are well known by business readers. Many niches they serve might not be large enough to ever switch from paid to ad-based models.

At this week's SIIA meeting, the publishers were discussing all kinds of interactive capabilities like mashups. Why now? Because they want current subscribers to use their proprietary data in the best ways possible. They also want to find new subscribers as well.

Generally, publishers are still focused on driving demand to their own destinations. During the discussions, some admitted that their small footprints won't ever draw a meaningful crowd.

While nothing new for SEW readers, the publishers were learning how to participate in aggregated sites and get more authoritative rankings. They heard examples about licensing content -- and that it's okay for your destination to show up among external sites in GYMA search results.

At least the traditional publishers are upgrading their online experiences. They know that more interactive elements will help create loyalty. And they know it's a traffic game, even when ultimately selling online subscriptions.


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