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This is sort of like Amazon announcing that it wants to strengthen its partnership with mom-and-pop shops, and help those mom-and-pop shops sell products in new and innovative ways.

I'm a former journalist who used to work for a metro daily newspaper that has long suffered, as most newspapers have, from declining ad revenue.

For these papers, the only reason to partner with Facebook is because they feel they have little choice. They would much rather have a healthy revenue stream and be self-sufficient.

But so far, the news industry has not found anything that adequately replaces the print-ad-driven business model that served it so well for so long.

So they're willing to try just about anything -- including, apparently, accepting a dinner invitation from a reputed cannibal.


I'm a back end dev at a small non-profit news org and it blows my mind how fast my employer wants us to integrate with FB instant articles and AMP without considering the consequences (AMP traffic staying in Google's network, etc.) Coming from a startup where our data was proprietary and execution meant everything, it feels weird sometimes that I get paid to make it as easy as possible for Google, FB, and others to access our content at scale (for free) while the news organization bears the infrastructure and engineering costs to do so.

These big companies aren't in this to help media companies, they've successfully commoditized content production and demanded news organizations to get with their program or get buried and forgotten.

Google, Facebook, etc, are marketing platforms. They are giving you marketing in exchange for content. It's equivalent to what you would've had to do in the past, which is pay somebody to go door to door selling your newspaper, giving out free copies of the newspaper. The free newspapers aren't your product, they're an ad for your product.

If you can't convert attention on Google/Facebook into your own ad revenue then you should stop purchasing advertising with content and you should focus on conversion.

AMP is ad network agnostic.

Content is free, not just from the amateurs, from the pros too. Laughing all the way to the bank. One of the reasons why MySpace was bought, but at the time it was already dying.

> But so far, the news industry has not found anything that adequately replaces the print-ad-driven business model that served it so well for so long.

I shell out of Nautilus and The Economist. The content is excellent and engaging. The access is reasonable. Ads are not obnoxious or intrusive.

It seems to me that there are perfectly functional models here...

The overall industry trends suggest that you're part of a tiny minority, so I don't think this model is an "adequate replacement" at present.

I don't think it needs to be an adequate replacement for the whole industry. Just the parts worth preserving.

> the only reason to partner with Facebook is because they feel they have little choice.

What? Can you explain what you mean? Newspapers have more choices than ever before. The only choice they don't have is one very specific business model: paper routes supported by classified ads.

Other than that, the world is your oyster. The periodicals industry is alive and well.

Interesting. Who is the reputed cannibal or was that said in jest?

It's used as a simile to anthropomorphize Facebook - FaceBook is like the cannibal that invites you, the business he's eating, over for dinner.

Facebook is the cannibal because it's eating the businesses of these newspapers

Facebook is the cannibal in this case I think.

I am currently tinkering with something that might help.

Basically you would "sell" your readers CPU/GPU time to us via a small JS-script embedded into your page to power ML/DL and scientific computation tasks (similar to BOINC). Thoughts?

It's a very interesting idea, but I see two hurdles to adoption:

1) Getting readers to consent. Oh, sure, they might unknowingly "consent" if it's buried in the TOS. They might even explicitly consent if you present them with a one-time consent form that implies it's making use of resources that would otherwise be idle. But then their laptop starts to heat up every time they visit the site. If they leave the tab open, other apps appear sluggish. Eventually, they're going to notice that they're not actually giving away something that has no cost to them. It's more like loaning someone your car when it would otherwise sit parked in your driveway. Eventually you're going to notice wear on your car, and an empty gas tank.

2) Digital advertising revenue is insufficient, by a significant margin, to replace print-ad revenue. I would expect the revenue from this type of arrangement to be low enough that it doesn't solve the problem, but only stems the tide a bit. Perhaps some publishers would be willing to invest the time to integrate with this, even if it's a comparatively low revenue stream. But I think most publishers are investing most of their energy looking for the true game changer: a business model that can actually sustain their business.

Reminds me of the hackathon project made by MIT students. It was the same idea but it would mine BTC instead of doing ML in Javascript.

Site archive here: https://web.archive.org/web/20140425180831/http://tidbit.co....

To be honest if I had a dead simple way to pay a few cents to read an article I would do it for a number of publications. But I'm not willing to signup individually to each one.

Google's Contributor


From Wikipedia:

Google Contributor is a program run by Google that allows users in the Google Network of content sites to view the websites without any advertisements that are administered, sorted, and maintained by Google.


Seems like https://flattr.com is what you are looking for. It's a shame it isn't integrated widely.

The thing I don't line is that it's still very active instead of passive. I've been using rescue time to track time wasting. it'd be great to have a if there was something similar that presented the places I went and percentage of time I spent there with my budget spread accordingly.

Ideally with some kind of black list or white list feature.

That CPU time is worth approximately nothing, and in particular it's worth less than the energy that it consumes.

Why would I pay x$ per unit of capacity on random people's computers when I could get the same compute capacity for less on a cloud provider? I feel like overhead + your cut would make it inefficient.

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