Failing at a business model for news

There was hub­bub a cou­ple of days ago when Zite, the new per­son­al­ized mag­a­zine app for iPads, was sent a cease and desist let­ter by a who’s who of media com­pa­nies.

Techdirt pub­lished a strongly worded con­dem­na­tion, includ­ing this gem:

And, hon­estly, if cre­at­ing an app that makes it eas­ier to read your con­tent is a threat to your busi­ness, you’re doing busi­ness wrong. 1

Part of the prob­lem for the media com­pa­nies was that Zite was mak­ing con­tent read­able remov­ing ads and, thus, cut­ting off a rev­enue stream for the con­tent producers.

It’s too bad media com­pa­nies viewed this as a rea­son to send a cease and desist let­ter. Instead they could have read it for what it was: a state­ment that peo­ple hate the ads on news sites. It could have given media some data for improv­ing adver­tis­ing. Oh well, oppor­tu­nity lost.

News adver­tis­ing should take a hint from soft­ware devel­op­ers. Include ads that your users want enabled and will miss when they are gone.

Don’t think that pos­si­ble? Check out the response when Tweetie/Twitter for Mac dropped Fusion ads last year.

Notes:

  1. via @ryanpitts