Thomson Reuters digital boss Chris Ahearn stands up in favor of the link economy (as opposed to someone else we know). It’s sensible talk and he suggests we have more such talk about how best to link. I agree.
As soon as I can, I’ll set a date in October to hold a symposium on the link economy and to present the work of the New Business Models for News Project at CUNY. Also I’ll set up a conversation space at CUNY’s site to discuss the link economy as Ahearn suggests; it will be up later today at wiki.newsinnovation.com. Stay tuned.
Here’s what Ahearn had to say (and I’ll bet he won’t mind my quoting a lot of it):
Blaming the new leaders or aggregators for disrupting the business of the old leaders, or saber-rattling and threatening to sue are not business strategies – they are personal therapy sessions. Go ask a music executive how well it works.
A better approach is to have a general agreement among community members to treat others’ content, business and ideas with the same respect you would want them to treat yours.
If you are doing something that you would object to if others did it to you – stop. If you don’t want search engines linking to you, insert code to ban them.
I believe in the link economy. Please feel free to link to our stories — it adds value to all producers of content. I believe you should play fair and encourage your readers to read-around to what others are producing if you use it and find it interesting.
I don’t believe you could or should charge others for simply linking to your content. Appropriate excerpting and referencing are not only acceptable, but encouraged. If someone wants to create a business on the back of others’ original content, the parties should have a business relationship that benefits both.
Let’s stop whining and start having real conversations across party lines. Let’s get online publishers, search engines, aggregators, ad networks, and self-publishers (bloggers) in a virtual room and determine how we can all get along. I don’t believe any one of us should be the self-appointed Internet police; agreeing on a code of conduct and ethics is in everyone’s best interests.
Our news ecosystem is evolving and learning how it can be open, diverse, inclusive and effective. With all the new tools and capabilities we should be entering a new golden age of journalism – call it journalism 3.0. Let’s identify how we can birth it and agree what is “fair use” or “fair compensation” and have a conversation about how we can work together to fuel a vibrant, productive and trusted digital news industry. Let’s identify business models that are inclusive and that create a win-win relationship for all parties.
This is not code for some hidden agenda – it is an open call for collective problem solving. Let’s do it wiki-style and edit it in the public domain. Let’s define the code of conduct and ethics we would all like to operate under.
My suggestion is we start with “do unto others” as our guiding spirit – I bet it would make all of our mothers proud.