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.


  1. via @ryanpitts