Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

The publishing industry is the new technology industry

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 24, 2006

[The following is a reply to a post by Dave Winer, the father of blogging, on his blog scripting.news, which doesn't accept comments, which is fine because we have hyperlinks :-) That's the beauty of the new media.)

Dave, your question is spot-on: "is the publishing industry the new technology industry?" Yes, the publishing industry is indeed, the new technology industry.

The publishing industry that has been forming the last few years is a technology-enabled publishing industry made up of technology-enabled media companies. It is not the publishing industry of the New York Times, or Dow Jones.

The first wave of technology-enabled media companies are corporations such as Yahoo, Google, AOL, Amazon, EBay, and Craigslist. They publish pages of content and advertising. Except that most of their content is obtained for as low cost as possible; it is harvested by servers and algorithms or their content is contributed by their communities of users, such as at EBay or Craigslist.

Content can also be spidered from other sites, collected, and spun into an index. Publishing the index provides Google and others with cheap content, much cheaper than the New York Times using its journalists to produce a page of content.

[BTW, my web site is spidered by 17 bots every day (a number that is increasing.) The bots suck up one third of my bandwidth and deliver about 5 per cent of my traffic. More than 90 percent of my readers come direct, they know where I live, which is a great position to be in and not have to rely on search engines for traffic. The bots slow down my server, so that means they must be slowing down the internet experience for millions of people as they visit sites like mine. I wonder how long that situation will last.]

Yahoo has tried to produce its own content in the past, such as its financial news channel, which was scrapped. And more recently, Yahoo has tried again and hired editors such as Patrick Houston from Cnet, to create some content in-house.

By and large, this first wave will give way to a second wave of technology-enabled media companies because of the effect of what I call "you can't get there from here." (This is a characteristic of all important transitions in industry.)

Obviously, the second wave of successful companies will not be any of the web 2.0 companies we read about--they all seem so very 1.5 . . . don't you think?

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