Pop music news and gossip site Musictoob thinks it has found a way for some aggregators to get around accusations of stealing content. The site has launched a new tool that lets any blogger link to outside stories, which then show up under the blogger’s URL but are still hosted on the site of the original publisher. Musictoob says that both the blogger and the site he or she links to register page views (A small frame also shows up on the top of the page. Click on the thumbnail to the right for an example). “Everybody who comes to the party gets rewarded,” says Michael Rovner, the general manager of Musictoob. “It’s actually loading — it’s not us stealing page views.” Musictoob is using the service, which it calls the Tuna Platform, on its own site — and it’s also now giving it away for free.
If it catches on, plans are in the works for a paid option for “power users and corporations.” The benefits are obvious for bloggers (who can keep visitors on their sites for longer) but less obvious to those being linked to who might not want to share their page views, although Rovner insists they’ll be okay with it because they’re still getting hits. (He contrasts that with a service like Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Reader, which uses a site’s content but doesn’t necessarily bring it page views — or traditional frames — like the ones that generated controversy for Digg earlier this year — which he admits basically “hijack” a site’s traffic).
It’s far from Musictoob’s core business — producing music-related content — but Rovner said the company developed the Tuna Platform internally while “we were playing around with different ideas” and decided it might as well distribute it. He added that six-month-old Musictoob.com is “thriving” despite the recession. The company generated its first profit in April — and just brought on its first outside investor, former *AOL* U.K. marketing chief Tobin Ireland. The site brings in revenue via ad sales and also an events series. It’s also syndicating some content to Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) Music and is beginning to make some video content it hopes to sell to big media outlets. The company is also adding some big names to its board including former HMV (LSE: HMV) CEO Robin Miller.