In thinking some more about the enthusiastic discussion about Shyftr over the weekend (and I refuse to call it a “Bitchmeme”), a few major themes for bloggers emerged, especially those interested in making money even to cover monthly costs such as hosting. (Hat tip to Steve Hodson, who wote an excellent post yesterday, and Deep Jive Interests, who accurately described Shyftr’s activity as “scraping”, although Shyftr claims it’s going to change its scraping ways.)
1. As long as RSS receives little love, attention and money from advertisers, pageviews are still important. No pageviews, no advertising revenue – regardless of whether it’s CPM, CPC , AdSense, sponsorship, etc.
2. It’s your content so make sure you control it. If brand and readership are important, be a Robert Scoble and share it as much as you can. Encourage people to subscribe via a RSS reader or e-mail, and participate join in social networks/aggregators such as Facebook, FriendFeed and Shyftr.
If, however, you want to also make some advertising revenue, think about only offering partial RSS feeds. If your content is good enough, people will, in theory, click through to your blog. Or, for that matter, don’t offer an RSS feed at all. As well, make sure other services aren’t using your content (and the associated conversations) without sharing the revenue. The fact that Shyftr wants to make money by leveraging content it doesn’t own or license is just wrong.
3. Use social networks as a tool. Get a news feed on Facebook that includes your new blog posts, use Twitterfeed to announce new posts on Twitter and register your blog at places such as Techsted to highlight what you’re doing.
4. Do whatever you can to make your blog a destination. Use cool widget, blog asides, newsletters, polls and, of course, a user-friendly design. Whatever it takes to convince people that visiting your blog is worth it can only be a good thing.
4.. As Steve Hodson explains so well, there needs to be a better and more fair way for bloggers to make money other than using AdSense, Adify, etc. Right now, the scales aren’t balanced, especially if you’re not attracting a lot of page views – and the scale will become even more imbalanced as other services steal your page views. Maybe the answer is new players such as the Rubicon Project.
In some respects, Shyftr may be the straw that broke the camel’s back. The sharing phenomena has gone so far that original sources are becoming second-tier citizens. It may be time for things to change, including the economic models involving people who write blog content.