Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Portal is Dead. Long live the Portal

The success of Superdistribution as a digital content business model will have some interesting consequences for portals who are aggregating content. (technical/marketing talk for sites like i-Tunes, Rhapsody, Napster, etc.)

The current business model that propels these entities relies on marketing and advertising, (and of course good word of mouth) to drive customers to a branded web address, where lots of music, video, or other types of similar content is aggregated. Customers then get to search and browse thousands of choices. If one product stands out from the rest, or happens to have been labeled and branded in such a way to peak the customer's interest, then a sale is made.

Typically, the owner of the content then shares the revenue with the portal, and hopes/assumes they will plow at least some of the money back into marketing, the mother's milk of these sites. The hope being that the sheer number of customers coming to the site will mitigate the sheer number of titles that his content has to compete with. In a way, its the old record store model gone digital. And just like the physical model where only a few chains had/have the marketing power to dominate, (Tower Records, Sam Goody, Best Buy, Circuit City), there will only be a few portals that survive the head to head marketing wars on the horizon.

So what's a content owner to do? The Internet at its best is a one-to-one medium where people of almost any walk of life, with incredibly divergent interests can find portals that have a focus almost uniquely on them. What if I, the content creator, know exactly who will be interested in my creations, including their friends and co-workers. What if I could market my content directly to those portals, such that my target demographic is seeded my content on my terms. This is what our new patented technology enables. It turns highly focused portals into YOUR portal, and takes the emphasis off content aggregation portals. More precisely, the content aggregation portal is dead. Long live the highly focused portal.

This effect gets even more powerful as this "seeded" content finds its way around the Internet with the Superdistribution effect. Since the content doesn't care whether it is delivered in email, IM, FTP, or in P2P networks, people will be receiving content that is branded by the actual content owner and not know, or even care, where it originated. In other words, the content owner is the brand, not the content it should be. Seeding content into highly targeted portals makes the brand of the portal even less important, since ANY website can serve up the content.

The real significance of this is that content owners can take real control over all aspects of their product, including the direct marketing. A virtual kiosk, stuck in the middle of a target demographic hotspot is an opportunity to sell something they really need and not make them hunt for it. That group is more likely to pass around the content to their like minded friends, fueling Superdistribution.


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