Spotting Opportunity Inside the Attention Crisis


This afternoon I had a chance to grab sushi with Paul Kedrosky, the man who pens the most wonderful and iconic blog, Infectious Greed. Like always, we ended up discussing the attention crisis, and how we deal with it. He uses keyword searches and I simply delete the feeds that fail to enthrall. But we both use methods that are a band-aid for the rapidly expanding attention crisis. If it is indeed such a problem, as many in the blogosphere have made it out to be, then it does spell an opportunity.

Looking around, there are quite a few nascent attempts that have been started by enterprising types. Memeorandum, Blogniscient, and Findory come to mind. Mike Masnick has developed a brilliant new service as part of his fast growing Techdirt empire. Kevin Burton has started a community-funded Tail Rank that addresses some of these issues as well. Mind you, these are early attempts, not entirely complete but not that far off target.



i know this is horribly old fashioned of me, but isn’t it well, silly, to attempt to resolve an “attention crisis” by piling on more tools and more stuff? the answer, i would argue, is obvious: consume less media. don’t figure out how to better use your iPod, take it off and go for a walk and listen to (gasp) whatever sounds you happen to hear. don’t organize your feeds, delete them. read a plain old book instead. preferably one that was written before last year. ;)

Andre Oppermann

What we see here is the comeback of the editor. The difference is he/she is editing an online site instead of a dead tree paper and has access to a much greater writer pool (bloggers).

What we see in old newspaper is equality. Everything is the same just with a different wrap and advertizing. Only a few papers are producing any original content these days. Most of it is AP or Reuters with some copy-editing and shortening to fit the column. The effective role of newspapers (save a few) is distribution and customer (reader) retaining. They are no longer in the content/news business.

The web and the rise of the blogger is changing that. There are millions of blogs and original content (and organic content, I hate the dumbed-down newsspeak). Some are great and with a lot of insight (like this blog) and some are pointless rambling and gossip. For the media consumer, err, interested reader it gets difficult and time consuming to track all the individual blogs. One particular problem is that individual blog writers post too infrequently to satisfy the average readers thirst for text (note: not information). Depending on the reader they want something the size of USA Today to the size of the Times or WSJ, WAPO.

Different approaches have been tried to aggregate that content, be it community based systems, popularity systems or meta-blogs. However each of them has different advantages and shortcomings, many not satisfactory or too time consuming to the reader.

What I think is a valid and interesting business model is the full-time editor aggregating and copy-editing topic based online editions of web papers syndicating content from blogs all around. Revenues would be shared with the authors. The edition could be advertizing based or subscription based depending on the target demographic. It is the editors job to hunt for new authors/bloggers to syndicate, to decide on whether to carry an article based on quality and on-topic.

Readers want to have a lot information in one place. It is cumbersome to scout every now and then the friends-of-this-blogger list and sift through their blogs to find some nuggets. I’ll happily outsource that to an editor with true editorial qualities (y’know, not slashdot).

There are many idea in this direction to be exploited. I don’t think I’ve captured every angle to it in this short post.

If you want to discuss with me some more or you have started TelcoTimes aggregating GigaOm & Friends please contact me at

Andre Oppermann

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