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How Publishers Learned To Stop Worrying and Love Zite's Aggregator

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the and-you're-reading-it-here dept.

The Media 22

waderoush writes "In March 2011, personalized-magazine startup Zite got a cease-and-desist letter from a group of 11 media giants outraged by the way Zite's popular iPad app 'misappropriated' their news articles. By August 2011, Zite had become part of CNN, which is owned by Time Warner, one of the organizations behind the C&D letter. Zite's brief clash with the media establishment, followed by its swift assimilation into the same establishment, is emblematic of a larger story unfolding in the media business: the grudging acknowledgement by publishers that readers want to access their content in new ways. In this article Zite CEO Mark Johnson explains how the startup mollified publishers (by presenting articles in 'Web view' mode rather than a stripped-down 'reader mode'), why CNN bought the company, and how it strives to make reading more enjoyable while still respecting publishers' business models."

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I use an RSS Eggdrop for my aggregation (2)

DemonicMember (1557097) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227703)

IRC + Eggdrop + Rss = Best use of internet ever

About the Summary (5, Informative)

brit74 (831798) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227839)

In this article Zite CEO Mark Johnson explains how the startup mollified publishers (by presenting articles in 'Web view' mode rather than a stripped-down 'reader mode')

Just to be clear: what this means is that the news agencies' Advertisements were displayed, instead of stripping the information down to the article (without ads). The News agencies were right to send C&D letters to Zite, but with the new system, the news agencies had a chance to make revenue off of their own content.

The answer to the question "How did publishers learn to stop worrying and love zites aggregator?" is "Zite changed their system to be respectful towards the content producers and their need to make money from content they produced". (I just want to head off any comments by who want to jump on the narrative that publishers need to just need to look at things differently regarding, say, piracy.)

Re:About the Summary (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39228177)

On what basis does a content publisher have the right to tell me / force me how I want their content displayed on my screen?

My device, my rules.

Re:About the Summary (2, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#39228757)

Sorry, no... you're wrong. Things are different now. Publishers don't seem to get it, and neither do you. The publishing industry is DEAD. They're walking corpses. They used their money to buy out this company and convert them to being "friendly" to their century old business model. Good for them. Unfortunately, they missed the other 1000 software packages and websites doing the same god damn thing. If you've got money in the publishing industry you're a fool. It's not "Right" to help these companies live in the stone ages.

I know you're going to ask me "How are they supposed to make money then" Well, that's not my problem. All I can tell you is, they can't make money they way they always have. It's done. If they can't figure it out they'd better figure out how to make toasters or something, because I doubt they even have 10 years left.

All right! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39227861)

I can totally use this to rationalize my piracy of season 3 of "The Wire"! Thanks, Slashdot.

"Grudging acknowledgement?" More like hypocrisy! (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227917)

Publishers: "Aggregation is okay, but only if we control who's doing it!"

Re:"Grudging acknowledgement?" More like hypocrisy (2)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 2 years ago | (#39228313)

Publishers: "Aggregation is okay, but only if we control who's doing it!"

Be prepared for whatever useful features of this app to go away in the next few versions. Such as the ability to aggregate sources that are not controlled by Time Warner.

Re:"Grudging acknowledgement?" More like hypocrisy (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 2 years ago | (#39228359)

Embrace, extend, et cetera.

Zite is AWESOME for programmers (3, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227931)

I've been using Zite for a while now (which I started using on an iPad), the thing I really love about it is that it does the best job of anything I've seen at finding stuff from websites out of the mainstream.

Unlike Flipboard where you might be looking at a lineup of TechCrunch or Engadget articles, Zite has found of ton of great articles on obscure blogs all over the place.

This goes for general programming things, to process of development, to specific languages and technologies.

It even has an endearing quirk if you follow the topic "Cocoa" - I entered that referring to the Apple development framework, but mixed in with the development articles are articles about the cocoa industry and recipes for hot chocolate...

I really recommend it as great resource to plum for deep interest in pretty much any subject (though as I said I use it mostly for programming).

Re:Zite is AWESOME for programmers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39228575)

I really recommend it as great resource to plum for deep interest in pretty much any subject (though as I said I use it mostly for programming).

I tried to plum in, but all i got was news about fruit :(

Ha Ha but... (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39228673)

Yes, spelling.

When you search for "plum" in sections you wind up in Baking which has a nice set of stuff.

News is not "Intellectual Property" (3)

Morgaine (4316) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227965)

It's pretty funny when the corporations that have traditionally thought of news as their "product" come face to face with the Internet, where "plain ol' people" seem to discover and distribute news just as well as they, or in most cases a lot better and faster. Shocking! :P

Their C&D's and other tactics based on concepts of "intellectual property" really have no solid foundation at all because news isn't actually a product nor of artistic merit. It's a sign of obsolete businesses using every protectionist tactic they can to stave off their demise, nothing more.

It won't work. Things move on, they always do. News has been democratized.

Re:News is not "Intellectual Property" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39228071)

Their C&D's and other tactics based on concepts of "intellectual property" really have no solid foundation at all because news isn't actually a product nor of artistic merit. It's a sign of obsolete businesses using every protectionist tactic they can to stave off their demise, nothing more.

It won't work. Things move on, they always do. News has been democratized.

Humm..."democratized" like some of spew that I read on /. that is created by know-nothings in these forums???

I think you are missing the point. if you report on news then you can distribute it how ever you see fit. It a big news company reports on news, then they expect to have some say in how their reporting is distributed. The actual "news" itself is not the point, but how a news gathering and distribution company gets some revenue from reporting done by their reporters. Hey, if you want to work for free by sharing the fruits of your labor for free, that is your choice. The big news companies do this as a business and that fact is based on history that goes way back to the first newspapers. So expect big news companies to try to make money by whatever means off the reporting of their own reporters. That's how business works, but I doubt 'Morgaine' has a job.

Re:News is not "Intellectual Property" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39228431)

It seems like you are having a problem understanding the difference between what a company might like to happen and what they are entitled to. Don't worry, they make the same mistake. Historical business models have no real bearing on the present. Or perhaps you are shedding tears for all the photo developers that don't have jobs now that digital cameras are the norm?

Re:News is not "Intellectual Property" (1)

Morgaine (4316) | more than 2 years ago | (#39229511)

The actual "news" itself is not the point, but how a news gathering and distribution company gets some revenue from reporting done by their reporters.

Except that the actual news really is the point , whereas how a company expects to get its revenue is merely a choice, and that choice may be unrealistic. The world is not obligated to keep a company in profit, just because it chooses to work in a particular area which is now obsolete.

I may choose to earn a profit making and selling buggy whips, but I'm not going to make much money because cars have replaced horse buggies and the world is not obligated to keep paying me for my unrealistic expectations. And so it is for news. It has been democratized by the Internet, and the news producers are now working in a field of diminishing returns and next to zero expectations of profit.

Re:News is not "Intellectual Property" (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 2 years ago | (#39229581)

But how do you know what is "news"?

If you just "take" the news from someone who doesn't think it is their "product", I would be very suspicious.

Example A: Joe Bob said that Farmer Smith's cow died, tells the local paper, they publish a copyrighted story, standing behind their source.

Example B: "free source" reports Farmer Smith's cow died. (uncredited source - "local paper").

Question: Did Farmer Smith's cow die?

Side notes: "free source" has a take-down request from the local paper for using their material. The insurance company, upon first hand inspection decided that Farmer Smith's cow had, in fact, given birrth, and is not dead. Just using it's milk for non-commercial purposes at the moment.

Re:News is not "Intellectual Property" (1)

DaveGod (703167) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230219)

Plain ol' people always discovered most news.

This is how it worked pre-internet: Joe Public discovers news, sends it to media company. Media company adds value in the form of investigation, write-up, trust and distribution. Consumer acquires news from media company. Alternately, Joe Public can skip the media company and distribute his news through gossip.

The internet has improved the gossip network to the point that as a distribution mechanism it is equal to what the media company has. It's fast, consumer can seek it rather than the gossip seeking the consumer, and there are far fewer layers of abstraction. In that sense, yes publishing has been "democratized" (really not the best word, but anyway) because distribution is no longer an expensive barrier to entry into publishing. News has been "democratized" because it's easy to get into publishing it.

But when someone (a media company or a blogger) writes an article their investigation, write-up and/or trust still has value. Writing an article is "doing work" of value. This is the product / is of artistic merit. The news element in the article may be free (in all senses of the word) but the article itself is not.

The C&D has nothing whatsoever to do with the website reporting on the same news as the media company. If you learn some news then write your own article, there's no C&D. The C&D is because the website is taking the media company's actual article: their actual work. This work undeniably has value because otherwise the offending site would not have any reason to copy it.

This is exactly the same as you being a skilled programmer, writing a program and someone else simply copying it and selling it. The fundamental functions that makes the program possible were always there in the C++ or whatever, the important bit, the thing that is worth something, is how you've written it. Or how about a textbook - is it OK to distribute scans of the pages because textbooks are about facts? What's the difference between a textbook about facts and a news article about facts?

Lets be clear, laws about copyright, intellectual property and so on are all about protecting people's right to be paid for work they have done. For manual labour and physical products it's easy for the person doing the work to control getting paid. For other kinds of work, for other kinds of output, the law describes and enforces the right to get paid using concepts like intellectual property.

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Re:louis vuitton men's belts (0)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39229721)

This isn't a troll post, it's a poetic illustration of what's wrong with the news cycle at all. The publishers are greedy and just want ad revenue, and the democratized news sources are all repeating corporate drivel that's only useful if you already want what they're selling.

You're a modern hemingway, good sir.

No,its a larger more pervasive business scam (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39228331)

They are going to sue to lower the buyout price, then buy out the company, and own what they are too lazy and stupid to do for themselves.

Either that, or bully internet companies into forking over what they painstakenly made and not only give the media companies credit, rights and money for someone elses inventions. 10 years down the road they'll be telling everyone how genius they are for inventing it previously.

No diffrent than a gang claiming turf this media establishment.

Not quite (2)

wbr1 (2538558) | more than 2 years ago | (#39228353)

...grudging acknowledgement by publishers that readers want to access their content in new ways.

The media companies have not grudgingly acknowledged shit, be it move, music, TV, book, magazine, and news publishers etc. They know that we want new way to access content. Mostly ways where they lose the control they once had. This purchase is just a way to co-opt and grind down an innovator. Do you really think that they purchased the company to help it provide -us- with better service? Think again, providing service is supposed to be a company's main motivator, but control over existing revenue streams and inability to innovate has these behemoths acting reflexively against their customers instead.

How to get rid of competition... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39229771)

1. Sue them into the ground, until they are mushy
2. buy them for cheap
4. Profit!

(Yes, straight to 4. That is, if you're a media giant).

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