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All Web Sites Are The Same?

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David Kirkpatrick from Fortune Magazine stipulates that all websites are the same; they all have the ability to deliver content (text, audio, and video), to facilitate communication between its users, and to allow users to share their own content. This is the case, regardless of whether the site is supporting a television network, a magazine publisher, a newspaper publisher, or a film studio.

There are two issues to consider. First, if all websites are the same, then users will go to the ones that provide the most relevant content in their opinion. With all sites delivering, text, audio, and video, thecompany doesn’t matter so much as the content.

Most likely the decision will not have much to do with the fact that one organization was historically a TV network and the other a magazine. The sports fan seeks good sports content – which can now be distributed in all forms online.

The second issue relates to advertising. If product companies produce their own content, it reduces the need to advertise on traditional or other online media. The first thing that springs to my mind, which was not mentioned in the article, is BMW Films. Here is an automobile production company that spends resources creating content that theoretically appeals to its existing customers.

While an increasing amount advertising has been moving online from traditional media, the structure (which includes this site’s ability to bring in a few dollars from advertising) may not be a good long-term strategy for content providers. Why would ShareBuilder (for example) continue to advertise on blogs if the company could theoretically create its own blog, podcast, video program, etc. and attract its own regular visitors?

Updated September 2, 2011 and originally published June 12, 2006. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar 2¢ Worth

Hey Flexo, maybe someone ought to tell him the corollary – all magazines are alike, with glossy pages, black and white and color print, and more ads than content – so regardless of their owners or subscribers, they can do the same thing!

Ultimately, whether website, print or other media, there are two parts that’ll decide success or failure

1) The content (and presentation), which determines public and customer success and

2) The business and revenue model, which determines sustainability and financial success.

Napster had the first, but not the second – and there are probably many more such examples around.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,475 (Platinum)

All magazines are the same, all newspapers are the same… but the ability to publish is not democratized, which I think is the point of the article. Coca-Cola is not going to produce a magazine that has the value and potential reach as People Magazine, but Coca-Cola and People Magazine can both produce websites that contain articles, video features, podcasts, etc., if they desired, and have the same reach.

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avatar Paul

Well, as long as we are getting existential — all websites literally are the same. With a medium as grossly self-referential as the internet, it is inevitable. Many sites are nothing more than a smattering of original content far outweighed by the number of links to other sites and material that is (with or without credit) republished from other sites.

On the one hand, this is part of the magic of the internet. On the other, it is ripe for the type of abuse that cheapens the very value of the internet. Do we need 15 sites like marketwatch.com, all running a story entitled “Is the housing boom over?” and all quoting Mark Zandi from economy.com? Even in the event that these are not just rewrites of wire stores, you can’t help but get the creepy and depressing feeling that either:

A. Internet journalists aren’t terribly bright, and all run the same obvious story.

B. There is a massive conference call each week where they all decide what the “stories” for the next week are going to be.

Real journalism is really hard. The internet makes publishing easier, which just means that the overall quality of discourse is lowered.

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