A media experiment

With the conversation around media organizations erecting paywalls around all their content gaining steam and ridiculous ideas like the AP throwing out the idea that you need a licensing agreement with them just to link to their content, I thought I’d run an experiment both here on MMM between now and the end of August.

The idea is that what bloggers – including myself – send to mainstream news outlets in the way of traffic will be worth more to them in the long run, both from a monetary and brand familiarity point of view, than the money they’ll make from the small percentage of people that will pay for online access.

So between today and August 31st (including in this post) I’ll be using Bit.ly short URLs for all the links I include in my posts. Bit.ly lets me see how many times someone has clicked through to the source link. It also shows how many other clicks that’s generated, with my own as a sub-set of that overall number. I’ll use an assumed $.05 in ad revenue per click to generate an estimate of how much I helped those newspapers and magazines earn in that period, which might be generous but I don’t think is overly so.

The other half of this that I have in mind is that, if Steven Brill’s idea for a media industry wide clearing house for content payment should come to fruition and actually be implemented, this should be the amount that is taken off my bill for the next month. So if there’s a $10/month fee to access the news from the pubs I want to subscribe to and in the previous month I sent $6.50 in ad revenue generating traffic their way, my bill for the coming month should only be $3.50. I’ll sign up to be part of an affiliate program to get that sort of advantage – not a problem. Sign me up, give me a URL tracking code to use and I’ll be there first day.