Blog Post

Fair Syndication Consortium Gets Its First Ad Network: AdBrite

AdBrite has joined the Fair Syndication Consortium, the Attributor-backed online publisher’s group recently founded to help companies track and monetize their content regardless of where it shows up on the web.

AdBrite is the first ad network to join the Consortium — and it’s a crucial first partnership — since working directly with the ad networks that are keeping content aggregators (and scrapers) afloat, is the cornerstone of the Consortium’s business model. Even with this milestone, though, the group still faces challenges, including defining what constitutes fair use vs. content aggregation and tracking specific ad impressions across multiple networks.

Instead of having publishers negotiate content and ad-sharing deals with each other, the Consortium is trying to broker deals with ad networks, to track each publisher’s content, then automatically split the ad revenues between the parent site and the aggregator or syndication partner. This requires quite a bit of cooperation between the ad networks, publishers and even advertisers.

When it first launched, we said the Consortium wouldn’t get off the ground if it didn’t get the buy-in from ad networks; if AdBrite’s participation encourages other networks to follow suit, then the “fair syndication” business model will join the ranks of new tactics like micro-transactions, variable subscriptions, and paid apps that publishers are hoping will keep them in the black.

Speaking of publishers, the Consortium has also added a slew of new partners: Conde Nast, Scripps, Gawker, Hearst Newspaper Group, McClatchy (NYSE: MNI) and Newsweek, among others. They join original members like Reuters, Huffington Post and Deutsche Presse Agentur — though still no AP — and the group says it now boasts over 1,000 publishers, including individual bloggers, online reviewers and wire services, as well as more than half of the top U.S. newspaper companies.