Chris Anderson: Charge for Niche Content, Not Popular Content

A recent speech by Chris Anderson, Wired Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, discussed the free vs. paid content debate:

When he addressed how this is affecting media and whether or not traditional media organizations should charge for their content online, he draws a number of conclusions from what the Wall Street Journal is doing. The tension is not so much free versus paid, but free versus freemium. In one slide, Anderson comes up with the following rules for media companies trying to figure out how to make money online:

1. The best model is a mix of free and paid

2. You can’t charge for an exclusive that will be repeated elsewhere,

3. Don’t charge for the most popular content on your site,

4. Content behind a pay wall should appeal to niches, the narrower the niche the better

via Chris Anderson’s Counterintuitive Rules For Charging For Media Online.

What it means: interesting thoughts on what content media companies should charge for. Knowing what I know about online value creation, I believe it makes sense.


The Death of Public Relations as We Know It

Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine, created quite a stir this week by announcing he will be blocking the e-mail address of anyone who sends him any non-relevant releases and messages. He added oil to the fire by publishing on his blog the e-mail addresses of more than 100 people who did that in the last 30 days (he says he receives 300 e-mails a day). To make himself clearly understood, he added “So fair warning: I only want two kinds of email: those from people I know, and those from people who have taken the time to find out what I’m interested in and composed a note meant to appeal to that (I love those emails; indeed, that’s why my email address is public).”

David Meerman Scott, a well-known online marketing strategist and writer, says he gets “several hundred unsolicited press releases and PR pitches every week. Well over 99% of them are not targeted to me, instead they are sent to me because I am on various PR people’s lists because of this blog, because of my books, and because I am a contributing editor to EContent Magazine and have written for a bunch of other publications. I’m getting the identical piece of spam email as hundreds of other poor journalists.”. He adds “most PR people are spammers”


Flickr photo by Freezelight.

At the same time, Google pre-launches its OpenSocial initiative via influential bloggers who were involved in the project. New-York VC Fred Wilson says: “Google’s launch of open social is interesting. They pre-launched it in the blogs and are getting top bloggers who are also their partners, like Marc Andreessen, to do some of the work for them. It’s smart. Marc’s company Ning is one of the leading partners for open social and I think Ning will benefit greatly from it. So he’s going to promote it because of pure self interest. Which is fine, in fact it’s preferable in my book.”

What it means: you have in this blog post two extreme examples of what to do and what not to do PR-wise. Will Chris Anderson’s reaction create a snowball effect? This could be the beginning of something very ugly which would lead to a major reform of how online PR works. At the same time, this seems like a great business opportunity to build an online marketplace to properly match releases/news with appropriate editors/journalists/bloggers. Anyone interested?