On Monday evening, I asked readers about the concept of Giving Away Content. The response to the post was overwhelming. Over 150 comments, plus another 50 private emails from other bloggers.
Several other sites picked up the brouhaha. The Deal noted the discussion in their roll call; Abnormal Returns looked at the issue from the perspective of "Building a better aggregator;" Portfolio’s Felix Salmon also weighed in on the SEO issue (it was more than a few headlines, Felix); The site Lee Distad’s professional opinion notes that getting paid in traffic is so very 1999.
One of the few to notice that I hadn’t actually quit Seeking Alpha, but was merely mulling it over, was The Stalwart.
Finally, David Jackson, CEO of Seeking Alpha, made mention of my post as a leaping off point for discussing his business model: Blogonomics: The Seeking Alpha Model. Aside from blogosphere faux pas of mentioning but not linking to the original BP post, David’s comment is noteworthy for the positive comments he recieved from Seeking Alpha readers.
UPDATE: April 13, 2008 7:34am
Two clarifications for David Jackson:
A) I never stated I was pulling out of SA — I wrote I was reconsidering my relationship with you guys after the 3rd mangling of my content. While I determine what arrangement makes the most sense, and is also equitable for both sides, I halted SA from publishing my content.
B) I find your cash flow arguments about operating income versus expenses to be irrelevant at best and disingenuous at worst.
Why? SA is a start up, and the payout comes when the firm either gets bought or merged into another, larger firm. The house built on other people’s content may be looking at a huge payday somewhere down the road.
Far be it from me to give unsolicited advice (heh), but if I were running SA, I would effect 2 changes immediately:
1) I would reveal the ownership structure, VC investments, operating losses, traffic data.
2) I would pull a side 20% of the equity, and create an option pool for contributors. It should vest after two or three years, and be based on the amount and traffic of written contributions.
That would be an equitable solution in my eyes . . .
I am still mulling over what I want to do with SA, but it will clearly involve a change from the previous arrangement.
Thanks for all of the fabulous input from readers, and I always look forward to whatever else you have to add . . .