Blog Post

A Proposal To Help Spread The Wealth From The Link Economy

Perhaps the central struggle for publishers is figuring out a way to get their content out as widely as possible while also monetizing some of that distribution. In an effort to provide some order to the “link economy,” the Fair Syndication Consortium has created some new guidelines for how content originators should be compensated by others that use that content.

The Consortium, operated by content monitor Attributor, has signed up nearly 2,000 publishers, including 75 percent of the top U.S. newspaper publishers and four of the five top worldwide news agencies (Reuters, DPA, AFP and EFE). Major publishing members include The New York Times, The Washington Post, Thomson Reuters (NSDQ: TRIN), Huffington Post, Politico and the ad network AdBrite.

The Consortium proposes that with headlines and excepts of stories, publishers should get a link back and attribution to the author or publisher. But if a full piece of content is reposted, publishers also get “licensing, sharing in ad revenue or removal of search engine listings and advertising” (on top of link backs and credit to the content’s originator).

Attributor is already in the business of helping individual publishers track down sites that are using their content in an unauthorized fashion, and in some cases, helping those publishers try to gain some compensation for those uses. With the new guidelines, the Consortium is hoping to design a model for content syndication that publishers en emasse can agree on — and, more importantly, that ad networks and Google (NSDQ: GOOG) will sign onto as well.

An Attributor rep says that ad networks would retain their current share of the transaction. “Attributor can identify every instance of reuse as well as the ad networks monetizing each page, and even how many views those pages are getting, but we don’t have access to the CPMs on these pages,” the rep said. “We are asking the ad networks to provide this information.”

Content Syndication and Management Guidelines v0.9