The Miraculous Conversion

Written by Sam Vaknin

The recent bloodbath among online content peddlers and digital media proselytisers can be traced to two deadly sins. The first was to assume that traffic equals sales. In other words, that a miraculous conversion will spontaneously occur amongrepparttar hordes of visitors to a web site. It was taken as an article of faith that a certain percentage of this mass will inevitably and nigh hypnotically reach for their bulging pocketbooks and purchase content, however packaged. Moreover, ad revenues (more reasonably) were assumed to be closely correlated with "eyeballs". This myth led to an obsession with counters, page hits, impressions, unique visitors, statistics and demographics.

It failed, however, to take into accountrepparttar 108511 dwindling efficacy of what Seth Godin, in his brilliant essay ("Unleashingrepparttar 108512 IdeaVirus"), calls "Interruption Marketing" - ads, banners, spam and fliers. It also ignored, at its peril,repparttar 108513 ethos of free content and open source prevalent amongrepparttar 108514 Internet opinion leaders, movers and shapers. These two neglected aspects of Internet hype and culture led torepparttar 108515 trouncing of erstwhile promising web media companies while their business models were exposed as wishful thinking.

The second mistake was to exclusively cater torepparttar 108516 needs of a highly idiosyncratic group of people (Silicone Valley geeks and nerds). The assumption thatrepparttar 108517 USA (let alonerepparttar 108518 rest ofrepparttar 108519 world) is Silicone Valley writ large proved to be calamitous torepparttar 108520 industry.

Inrepparttar 108521 1970s and 1980s, evolutionary biologists like Richard Dawkins and Rupert Sheldrake developed models of cultural evolution. Dawkins' "meme" is a cultural element (like a behaviour or an idea) passed from one individual to another and from one generation to another not through biological -genetic means - but by imitation. Sheldrake addedrepparttar 108522 notion of contagion - "morphic resonance" - which causes behaviour patterns to suddenly emerged in whole populations. Physicists talked about sudden "phase transitions",repparttar 108523 emergent results of a critical mass reached. A latter day thinker, Michael Gladwell, called itrepparttar 108524 "tipping point".

The Disintermediation of Content

Written by Sam Vaknin

Are content brokers - publishers, distributors, and record companies - a thing ofrepparttar past?

In one word: disintermediation

The gradual removal of layers of content brokering and intermediation - mainly in manufacturing marketing - isrepparttar 108510 continuation of a long term trend. Consider music for instance. Streaming audio onrepparttar 108511 internet ("soft radio"), or downloadable MP3 files may renderrepparttar 108512 CD obsolete - but they were preceded by radio music broadcasts. Butrepparttar 108513 novelty is thatrepparttar 108514 Internet provides a venue forrepparttar 108515 marketing of niche products and reducesrepparttar 108516 barriers to entry previously imposed byrepparttar 108517 need to invest in costly "branding" campaigns and manufacturing and distribution activities.

This trend is also likely to restorerepparttar 108518 balance between artists andrepparttar 108519 commercial exploiters of their products. The very definition of "artist" will expand to encompass all creative people. One will seek to distinguish oneself, to "brand" oneself and to auction one's services, ideas, products, designs, experience, physique, or biography, etc. directly to end-users and consumers. This is a return to pre-industrial times when artisans ruledrepparttar 108520 economic scene. Work stability will suffer and work mobility will increase in a landscape of shifting allegiances, head hunting, remote collaboration, and similar labour market trends.

But distributors, publishers, and record companies are not going to vanish. They are going to metamorphose. This is because they fulfil a few functions and provide a few services whose importance is only enhanced byrepparttar 108521 "free for all" Internet culture.

Content intermediaries grade content and separaterepparttar 108522 qualitative fromrepparttar 108523 ephemeral andrepparttar 108524 atrocious. The deluge of self-published and vanity published e-books, music tracks and art works has generated few masterpieces and a lot of trash. The absence of judicious filtering has unjustly given a bad name to whole segments ofrepparttar 108525 industry (e.g., small, or web-based publishers). Consumers - inundated, disappointed and exhausted - will pay a premium for content rating services. Though driven by crass commercial considerations, most publishers and record companies do apply certain quality standards routinely and thus are positioned to provide these rating services reliably.

Content brokers are relationship managers. Consider distributors: they provide instant access to centralized, continuously updated, "addressbooks" of clients (stores, consumers, media, etc.). This reducesrepparttar 108526 time to market and increases efficiency. It alters revenue models very substantially. Content creators can thus concentrate on what they do best: content creation, and reduce their overhead by outsourcingrepparttar 108527 functions of distribution and relationships management. The existence of central "relationship ledgers" yields synergies which can be applied to allrepparttar 108528 clients ofrepparttar 108529 distributor. The distributor provides a single address that content re-sellers converge on and feed off. Distributors, publishers and record companies also provide logistical support: warehousing, consolidated sales reporting and transaction auditing, and a single, periodic payment.

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