When You Don’t Own The Pipes, Aggregate

Scott Karp explains the importance of aggregators to content producers, particularly to newspapers who, with some notable exceptions, don’t quite get it.

Publishing 2.0 gets 73% of its traffic from search and referring sites, which include aggregators like Techmeme. Some of my content is also syndicated in full text on Seeking Alpha, Yahoo, and Digital Media Wire (with links back to the site, which yield significant traffic) — this is anathema to the traditional media mindset.
Yet the only way to consistently get all Publishing 2.0 content is to subscribe — the result is that Publishing 2.0’s RSS and email subscribers are growing at a compound monthly rate of 16%, meaning the subscriber base doubles about every 5 months. That means that although my content is distributed across the web through channels and applications that I don’t control, people are finding enough value in the content that they discover through aggregators or other referrers — either the first time or after multiple interactions — that they choose to subscribe to the source.

AdPulp also gets a ton of traffic via search. And that’s great, but not nearly as important to us as the number of RSS subscribers we have and the number of return visitors to the site. There are also a number of aggregators who pick up our feed (but none with the kind of stature Techmeme enjoys), and we’re cool with it as long as they include a link back to the source.
Shawn also aggregates Omaha-based blog content at TopTray and we have plans to expand this type of service to other Tier 2 and Tier 3 media markets.



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.