Will Yahoo Push Associated Content onto Its Newspaper Consortium?

June 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

Yahoo is thinking that its recent purchase of Associated Content will add value to local newspapers in its Newspaper Consortium, according to a brief report in Paid Content today.

Content farms work in reaction to the ebb and flow of human interest…

…wait, that’s journalism. The information economy already does that…

(Start again.)

Content farms manufacture news and information in as near real-time as possible relying on search algorithms in order to harvest human interest for sale to advertisers before human interest moves on later that day.

Or something wonderfully contrived like that.

Now Paid Content reports that Yahoo would be delighted to put Associated Content to work for the 800+ members of the Yahoo Newspaper Consortium, which is interesting on a few levels beginning with the possibility that Associated Content information would compete for space with the content of consortium newspapers.

Hilary Schneider, EVP, Yahoo Americas,  says no; on balance Associated Content would not be confused with newspaper content. But how would it not be confused, and to what value if you are a newspaper?

If the content is clearly differentiated – as in, “No newspaper reporting jobs were harmed in the making of this content” – will users care? If the users don’t care, will the advertisers? If the users don’t really matter – as in, content distribution is content distribution and once it leaves the building no one cares, including the advertisers – what value was created?

Always value. Fortunately, it is never a silent partner. So, to the extent that Yahoo is successful prevailing upon its Newspaper Consortium to accept Associated Content, the end-user value of that content will have to emerge to atone for the advertising money that is spent and made. In the process, Associated Content may shed some of its “content farming” roots and feel the tug of the Big City. That might require it to be more grown-up and thoughtful and make it less nimble in the “just-give-them-what-they’re-searching-for” business, and it might even lead them to regard the Associated Press as the new competition not, say, Demand Media.

Thus, back to reading the newspaper. It’s the circle of (media) life isn’t it?

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