Financial Times charges for online content

by Jason Preston on June 16, 2010

This smells like validation to me:

The company expects this year that direct payments for its journalism will exceed print advertising revenue, that wheezing engine that still sustains almost every other newspaper. While other publishers have struggled to make 10% of their revenue online, the Financial Times projects that its digital work will create one-third of its revenue by 2012.

Seed, a service AOL launched last year, similarly pays freelance journalists to write on subjects in demand. For example, Seed recently asked for short, 100-word blurbs on “Your best packing tips.” Entries are edited for quality and accuracy and then posted on AOL sites. Vetting outside contributors and thoroughly editing the submissions is crucial to keeping AOL’s brand intact, Armstrong says. “I don’t think we would call it user-generated content,” he says. The company’s January acquisition of StudioNow, for $36.5 million, will let videographers post content on AOL sites for pay.

The problem, really, is that AOL doesn’t want to have to pay for crap material. Which means they have to pay to vet it.

The trick of course is to make each bit of content creation a joint venture with the author, where everyone gets paid for the upside, like what we’ve built at


by Jason Preston on January 14, 2010

Notice how inaccurate Twitter memes correct themselves:

Update 12.57 am:
Silly me. I went to the American Airlines website looking for info, but it did not occur to me to check out American’s twitter feed. There it is, from @AAirwaves (like I would have ever guessed that handle): Cannot fly individual drs/nurses to #haiti, working w/ Red Cross & other agencies 2 provide aid. Donate

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Bad numbers, good read

by Jason Preston on December 4, 2009

On printing obviously false “facts”:

Ok, so this photo number is wrong: 1.4million photos per second is 3.6 trillion per month, or roughly 20 photos uploaded for every person on the planet every day.

Neglect and l33tsauce

by Jason Preston on November 18, 2009

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here on Eat Sleep Publish. I’ve been neglecting this blog while I’ve been working hard on my latest project: L33tsauce. It’s a publishing sort of venture, but it’s got everything to do with video games, and not really anything to do with traditional journalism.

One of the conclusions that I’ve been coming to while writing Eat Sleep Publish over the past year and a half is that it’s increasingly difficult, and maybe impossible, to run a profitable content company on the internet if you’re paying for your content to be produced.

At the same time, who wants to be peddling content that’s—well—worth what you paid for it?

L33tsauce is an opportunity for me to marry two of my long-standing interests: publishing and video games. We’ll be launching our private beta this upcoming weekend at MindCamp 6, and hopefully we’ll have most of the bugs ironed out by then 😉

So what is l33tsauce?

L33tsauce is a place where gamers can share their video game know-how on easily-created pages (called “Dojos”), and they get to collect 50% of the ad revenue from every page they make. The page building system is easy and flexible, and I’m excited to find out what people create with them; walkthroughs? short stories?

The business model, I think, is pretty sound. We only make money if the people making dojos make money — true, but on the flip side we only pay our content creators when their content makes money. That keeps our costs under control.

The real gamble is that gamers will want to use the site. Without that, we go nowhere.

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New Cooperatives

by Jason Preston on October 28, 2009

From Romenesko:

The Chicago News Cooperative (CNC) Wednesday announced that the Chicago Tribune’s leading City Hall reporter has joined the staff of the new multi-platform news venture that will offer public service reporting about Chicago for the New York Times, the city’s public television station and on the Internet.

The idea of similarly structured freelance cooperatives was briefly floated last night at The Pitch as well. It could be a workable structure, building content and selling it to multiple buyers in multiple media formats.

Newspaper circulation, a visual reference

by Jason Preston on October 27, 2009

Very interesting chart of circulation at several major newspapers over the past few decades. The site I got the image from is loading suuuuper slow, probably because they got linked for Daring Fireball, so for now I’ve uploaded the image here:


It is apparently a very bad idea to be the Los Angeles Times.


The Pitch is tomorrow – Freelance edition

by Jason Preston on October 26, 2009

Tuesday, October 27th, from 7:30 – 9:30pm, we’ll be gathering at Lucid Jazz Club in the U-district in Seattle for drinks and good conversation. The topic of tomorrow’s Pitch is simple:

Will all journalists become freelancers?

New organizations are already finding it much harder to justify full time staff for what amounts to part-time profit. As our industry-wide dive into digital continues, and news organizations learn to compete with leaner, meaner content producers, something’s gotta give.

It might well be the career.

I can see a future where very few people land full-time jobs at news organizations – a few editors, an ad sales team, and several developers. Most of the writing would come from recurring contracts with various writers.

These writers would be working with a number of different (and probably competing) news orgs on a regular basis, making their living on a per-article basis.

Is that what’s going to happen? Is it a good thing if it does?

Come share your opinions tomorrow night at The Pitch. RSVP here!

Free Book Experiment

by Jason Preston on October 22, 2009

Have you seen Cory Doctorow’s Free Book experiment (redux)?

Cory is offering another free book, with an interesting philosophical approach:

For this project, I’ve taken an oath to lose no money. That means that my capital expenditures have to be as low as possible. In the ideal world, every object I make available will either cost nothing to produce or will be physically instantiated only after it has been ordered and paid for.

The question is: would he make more money if he just sold everything?

Probably not.

What I thought about publishing in 2006

by Jason Preston on October 20, 2009

Surprisingly good read, given that I wrote it.

Now, that has changed – big news portals like Google and Yahoo!, coupled with millions of blogs and untold thousands of specialized newsfeeds from sites like the New York Times have put practically everything at the fingertips of the average browser. The problem is that there’s so much stuff to go through on an everyday basis that it doesn’t make a lot of sense for people to slog through it just for the few choice gems. So the average user doesn’t.

And news becomes a business of aggregation. This is why sites like BoingBoing, Slashdot, and Engadget do so well. They collect the most interesting bits of news and content they can find, and they funnel it into a high quality channel.

Full article here.