Muschamp Rd

Vancouver company acquires some Guy’s company

July 10th, 2008
Guy Kawasaki

Over on Guy’s blog Brandon commented:

I don’t understand Truemors. I don’t understand NowPublic. I never will.

It seems we’re in a world of re-post, re-publish, and re-package everything ever reported.

But hey — congrats anyway!

I too have never really been impressed by NowPublic, the quality of the writing/reporting, the business model, or the valuation given to it by some VCs. My complaint is NowPublic will always be reliant on volunteers for their news stories and will have to compete against the big media sites. For specialty content, something like Gizmodo can be a great source for niche news, but for stories about everything I just don’t think there are that many quality writers who have the passion to devote to following every major news story as it develops and writing an article with no expectation of compensation.

The second problem with amalgamation sites is eventually some content producers will want to keep their content out of these sites to sell their own ads. Some people have raised legal questions but those relate to scrapper sites rather than community/citizen news websites.

The third problem is succession or longevity/sustainability. Gizmodo is very well known now and its creator/maintainer has no intent of stopping. But many a hobby or specialty website has become abandonware of sorts or ceased to be updated as frequently as real life has gotten in the way.

In Citizen Marketers the authors reported just how small a portion of the community actually does most of the work, in this case the writing of the stories. There numbers were 1% for influentials and 10-20% would write occasionally and participate the other 80% are a silent passive audience just as in traditional media. So for these crowd powered news sites, where there is a particularly active and literate person writing about a topic NowPublic would be a good source of news, when that person gets tired or busy or heaven forbid dies, the community may not be able to replace that person whereas a traditional media outlet would hire a hopefully qualified replacement.

This is probably good news for Guy and probably good news for the VanCity tech scene and VCs so I guess people I know will benefit. I’ve seen too much in too few years so I’m really skeptical about the business model and long term success of crowd based reporting services.


You can always pay your bloggers as they do at Gawker Media now the owner of Gizmodo, the key is figuring out how much to pay and determining the proper metrics to measure how successful their posts are at selling ads, or in this case generating page views.

Update January 2019

I appear to have been right again, you don’t hear much about NowPublic or Guy Kawasaki’s AllTheTop these days. Even Gawker is gone, laid low by a lawsuit from a vindictive venture capitalist. Twitter seems to have come the closest to being the citizen journalist utopia, alas social media mobs and concentrated disinformation campaigns funded by motivated billionaires or hostile foreign powers have revealed social media to be anything but a utopia.

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