Monday, May 25, 2015

Self-publishing companies and Internet platforms now act more concerned that "amateurism" by speakers affects their brands

Companies that enable users to self-publish and promulgate their own content may gradually become more sensitive to how “speaker” performance and behavior affects their commercial brands.  That’s because these companies have a lot of different stakeholders at some tension with one another.  Self-publishing service companies for books have to deal with authors, end consumers, stores and distributors.  Internet service companies, especially blogging and video platforms, deal with “speakers”, end consumers, and advertisers.  Social media companies are a little less concerned with the effect of broadcast because they are based on a whitelisting concept – the idea that most content is consumed by known visitors (followers or friends).  But advertisers are a big stakeholder.
I’ve noted these concerns before. On the Books blog, Oct. 16, 2013, I reviewed a couple of books on self-publishing and noted that at least one such company requires a minimum of five actual sales per month (don’t know if Kindle and Nook count) for a book to stay listed.  There are numerous writers who publish more to make and argument that they believe needs to be “on record” and “out there all the time” than to make money.  Some service companies more recently have behaved as if they believe this practice could damage their own brand reputation, as a platform for “amateurs”, or as undermining the position of authors (also “customers”) who really do need to make money by a kind of lowballing (which is related to piracy but not the same thing at all).
Likewise, in very recent months there seems to be a lot of talk that bloggers should be much more focused and much more committed to getting and keeping numbers and quality visits, than in the past.
Harvard Business Review has a valuable (ironically, under a paywall!) article (David Bryce et al) on “competing against free” here. The growing practice of paywalls is one way some established journals and newspapers are trying to brand themselves away from “amateurism”, but it far from clear that this will work on the long run.
Another related post is, on my main blog today.

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