Media Deathmatch Du Jour: Michael Wolff Vs. Mark Cuban

Rich guy, Mark Cuban, believes news sites ought to block aggregators from “pointing to” their content.

The major news sites are keeping the aggregators that don’t originate news content alive. From Drudge Report on down. You (Murdoch) are crazy to do so. Let the search engines send you traffic. Block the rest. Your revenue impact will be minimal. The competitive impact significant.

Cuban specifically names in his post. So, naturally well known Vanity Fair columnist, author and founder of Newser, Michael Wolff, has a response.
In a post titled, “Mark Cuban Is a Big Fat Idiot–News Will Stay Free,” Wolff argues:

He is right in one regard: People who go to aggregator sites don’t really click through to the original story. But he misses the profound and game-changing aspect of that fact: They don’t want to read the original story. Habits have changed on the Internet, where information comes faster and from many more sources. Hence, news needs to be short and it needs to be aggregated, which is precisely what brand-specific news sites lack: News from diverse outlets that can be consumed quickly. Here’s the rub: People don’t want news (there’s too much of that), they want aggregation (ie, efficiency and ease), which there isn’t enough of.
Oh, yes, and free.

Wolff concludes that “News, has, is, and shall remain, an ad-sponsored form of media.”
I’ve been resistant to that POV (while searching for reasonable alternatives), but I’m ready to relent. So, who among you is prepared to pay to speak to the AdPulp audience? I know you’re out there. Stop lurking and start advertising! Operators are standing by.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.