MyTimes and News Aggregation

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There’s lots of evidence that news “aggregation” sites (Yahoo!, Google, Topix, Digg, etc.) have prospered while traditional newspaper sites have suffered at their expense. In that vein, The NY Times has been experimenting with “My Times,” a personalized home page and RSS reader (like My Yahoo!, Netvibes or iGoogle) for more than a year. Now it is rolling out the service to the public.

While most newspaper sites don’t have the technology resources of the New York Times, they should all seek to become news aggregators. If they don’t already offer them, it’s my guess that Netvibes or Pageflakes would offer white label versions of their services to newspapers. Yahoo! could also create a co-branded or private label version of My Yahoo! for its newspaper consortium partners (which they should aggressively request).

Such moves would help build and retain audiences. However, the “bad version” won’t fly.

Some are arguing it’s too little too late for the NY Times with My Times. I don’t necessarily agree; personalized homepages and RSS readers are still not mainstream. If done right newspapers could help mainstream them.

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