Business - Written by Brendan Peat on Tuesday, April 1, 2008 19:37 - 1 Comment
Mark Cuban … the value debate … and are blogs commoditizing content
Recently Mark Cuban, a rather outspoken NBA owner and well known blogger, got into the disagreement with the NBA over allowing bloggers into the locker room. When he was pushed to give bloggers the same access as traditional reporters he took it to the extreme. As a blogger he felt that just because someone was paid doesn’t mean that they have more of a right to be in the looker room. “Now that my ban on bloggers in the locker room has been lifted by the NBA , the “Joes” of the blogger world will have the same access as the “Pros”. Those that get paid. I can’t wait to see the results.” As much as this latest event is grandstanding by Cuban, I think we are moving closer to a time when bloggers and reporters are both seen members of the media, full stop.
Blogging has been making inroads into the reputable media world for some time now, and it is at the point that in some circles we are seeing traditional media become the underdog. In many of these cases I feel the reason for the shift has more to do with the way in with the message is delivered online than the fact that the content is digital. It makes sense, Web 2.0 is more than just the medium (digital) its how you are able to ‘interact with the message’. It use to be that readers would follow certain authors or reporters because they can share their perspective. Blogs not only allow you to follow the perspective of the author but also become part of a community of like minded readers who you communicate with via comments.
Blogs and other web 2.0 tools also make it easier for you to create that community and around an aggregation of the best content. Bloggers are for the most part not working at creating the news, rather they are aggregating the mass amounts of information and synthesizing it for their readers and providing their opinions. Reporters at newspapers and magazines aren’t allowed to slap together two paragraphs, paste in a great article from another paper and call it a column. If your claim to fame as a reporter was you found the best stories from other newspapers and reposted them in your paper I think that would be the fastest way to get yourself replaced or fired.
Unfortunately now you are left with a dilemma. Who is creating the value? Is the the aggregator or the creator of the content. I think that you can make and the argument for either party. The content creator, who I will stereotype as traditional media, typically provide value by gathering the facts and information from the source and pulling it into a objective report. The aggregator provides value by finding, assessing and framing the content in a way that caters to their audience.
Is this a question of moving up the value chain, or have blogs commoditized the content? As Cuban goes on to point out in his blog, why do so many people need access to the locker room anyway? “The people that complained the loudest about the ban, really didn’t have a good reason to be in the locker room. And from what I can tell, non of their readers complained that their blogs suffered in any way shape or form when they didnt have access to the locker room.” Cuban’s point of allowing all bloggers into the locker room is going to the extreme to get under skin of David Stern. However, I find it interesting that he mentions that this didn’t affect their readers at all. After all I don’t read sports articles to see what the players say (I can get that anywhere) I read sports articles to hear what the author has to say about what the players have said or done.
The real value created in the blogosphere is created not just from aggregating information, but also from providing opinions and insights as to what that content means to them. Perhaps blogs are redefining what is means to be a content creator? It may be that today there is so much information out there and accessible that we now need a layer of people (bloggers) who aggregate and recreate the original message.
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