Traditional Publishers and ‘Branded Syndication’


On the heels of my experience at Google’s “Personalization Day,” I spent some time with Netvibes’ CEO Tariq Krim. Netvibes is a personal homepage/start page that competes with iGoogle, MyYahoo, PageFlakes and others in the segment. Here’s a longish post I previously wrote about Netvibes.

The reason I bring it up today is to discuss the Netvibes Universe, launched last month, which offers Netvibes as a platform for third parties to build customized pages or sites.

Newspapers (and other traditional publishers too a lesser degree) have complained, partly rightfully, they their content has been “commoditized” by news aggregators. RSS and news readers, a version of the former, have also contributed to this. I have also argued general news has achieved “commodity” status as a pure factual matter.

The dilemma here is that newspapers and others must syndicate their content and optimize it for search engine discovery. Despite the perils, you do want to be in news aggregation sites. News publishers are also now buying keywords to drive traffic. (Most recently this came up in the context of the Virginia Tech shootings.)

As a complementary or alternative strategy, the Netvibes Universe approach is interesting because it offers “branded syndication.” See for example:

These traditional publishers control what is included but users can alter the arrangement or add or subtract modules. Netvibes is also supporting personalization on traditional publisher sites. See, for example, Elle France‘s MyElle.

The interesting aspect of this to me is that it’s content syndication with a heavy branding element — a kind of parallel universe (as the Netvibes name suggests) for these publishers.


Related: Here’s a general roundup of recent newspaper revenues from MediaPost (reg req’d) and an AP story on declining newspaper circulation.


4 Responses to “Traditional Publishers and ‘Branded Syndication’”

  1. Frank Says:

    Interesting idea. I think other players such as Yourminis or Pageflakes already offer public pages. I don’t see any option on Netvibes that allows users to setup their public pages while other players seem to have a very vibrant and active publishing community already, check this for example:

    Good to see that Netvibes wants to move into that direction… maybe a bit late though and not really that innovative after all.


  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    My interest was not in “public pages” but in the branded distribution of content by newspapers and other professional publishers. To my knowledge that’s not being done on Pageflakes right now, notwithstanding the ability users have to create their own pages.

  3. Frank Says:

    That’s true Greg. But I would assume that it follows naturally. One of my friends has developed a module for them (they call it a Flake…) and he told me that they are working on better customization (themes, logos and more).


  4. iGoogle Rising « Screenwerk Says:

    […] are using the Netvibes “ecosystem” as a branded syndication tool. I’m not sure how successful this has been for them but it’s a fascinating concept not […]

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