I’m always thinking about web and Internet from a competitive perspective, because that’s really what we are doing when we optimize, seek search traffic, buy links, and forge alliances with like-minded website network operators: competitive webmastering. But that concept is not always palatable to people. There are plenty of pie-in-the-sky web publishers (and SEOs and marketers…) out there dreaming of an open, free world where “information wants to be free” and “the Internet belongs to everyone“.
Truth is, even if most of us try and make that true, a few will take advantage of the resulting “opportunity” to cash in while we don’t. That starts the cycle… and soon it’s all me-too bandwagoning. If that sounds too cynical, well, that’s because it is cynical. So what.
If you want to know who the future abusers will be, look at who the abusers are now, and who have played the role of abusers in the past. A big secret of human behavior is
“past performance is indicative of future behavior”. That part is not cynical — it’s factual.
I don’t give way specifics in an obvious fashion on my blog, because, well, I compete with almost everyone reading this blog. We are all competing for attention. No sense handing your competition the ammunition it needs to take away your opportunity. However, I am happy to allude and hint. And here’s one for those working the web the way I am working the web. The newspapers (past and current abusers) are priming their pumps even as everyone says they are a dying concern. No, not the obvious. Newspapers are never about the obvious.
Take a look at this quote form a newspaper site producer, who pulls photos from the news wires and republishes them as the primary content, attractive to readers:
Q: Were there any issues in getting permission to publish images that large from the wire photo services? The photos on the Big Picture must be twice the size of any other news site.
A: We looked at the contracts pretty well and couldn’t identify anything that prevented this sort of thing. The general rule appears to be (my understanding of it) that the images should not be easily reproduced in print. Big Picture images max out at 990 pixels wide at 72dpi. If you scale that up to print resolution of 300dpi, you get an image that’s only about 2 inches wide, so we’d appear to be within that limit.
Those who know me personally, or who have had time one on one to discuss things in depth, know my passion for certain visual arts, and my belief in a certain specific future related to some of those arts. It’s coming sooner than expected. Things will be a changing, and acts like these will force that change. The only safe harbor for the competitive publisher is competing, which means acting now. The abusers will continue to react to change by attempting new abuses, and continue to reveal their intentions due to their need to manage risk. Sadly, they will also continue to lobby politicos and misrepresent the truth, which means we still have to a lot more than simply good or hard work, but we have to start with the honest smart/hard work part. And remain vocal, where it has influence.