When Cost Isn’t An Issue, Focus On Quality

Just a few years ago delivering content on the Internet was expensive.  REALLY expensive.  So a lot of companies made significant business decisions to reduce the cost of delivering content.

This seemed like the perfect storm, because content just kept getting bigger (movies files are larger, as the quality has improved. eg: HD versus normal ) , and more content was being delivered online.  Through basic supply versus demand one could reasonably assume that the cost to deliver content was only going to go up.

But alas, it hasn’t.  In fact, the cost to deliver content has dropped significantly.  So what have content delivery companies done?  They’ve changed their messaging.  Instead of cost, they focus on quality.  On improved user experience.  On higher touch points within the download experience.

There is an old that roughly says “if you’re moving in the wrong direction, at least you’re moving” – or something to that effect.  The message being that it is better to be moving, than just standing still.  You can always adapt and overcome, transition, and change direction …. just keep the momentum going.

The worst thing you can do is to stop.

The Risks Of Tying Yourself To Rising Tech Giants

A recent study found that the vast majority of Twitter users actually use third party applications to manage their Twitter activity (“tweets”, etc.).

Clearly, providing an open platform with  Application Programming Interfaces (API) or a Software Development Kits (SDK) has helped Twitter quickly gain critical mass.  Instead of becoming a tool, it becomes a platform upon which other tools and services operate.

Though for all of these companies who have built their business on the Twitter platform, there is a fundamental problem.  What happens when Twitter goes down ?  Don’t think it can happen ?  Think again – it has in the past, and it might again in the future.  Worse yet, what happens when Twitter dissolves entirely ?  Doubting that possibility too ?  It certainly wouldn’t be the first social network to die away.

As we know, today’s revolutionary is tomorrow’s dictator.  It only took 16 years for Apple to go from the perception of being an underdog to hyper controlling corporate behemoth.


Here’s an interesting article about Apple’s latest image issues (this time with the iPhone 4)

Smart software execs know better than to put all of their eggs into one basket.  Rather than tie to one platform, tie to several.  And continue to grow the integration offering.  Keeping your ear to the ground with regards to your customers needs, wants, and habits will help you stay one step ahead of not only your competition, but every evolving technology as well.

Leading or Following

Google recently added a customized homepage feature – very similar to Bing’s daily photo.

This has led many to question whether Google is following or leading in relation to Bing.  Google was always known for the clean, simple interface.  This followed its goal of being great at one thing – delivering the most relevant search results.

But over the past year or so Google’s navigation has become more and more convoluted.  Just look at how you get you the account page – you have to log in, then click on a very counter-intuitive account settings button.

Bing’s strategy is quite savvy – provide the best search results for specific high revenue categories.  Shopping, News, Entertainment, Travel – and then related images, video, etc.   And all you need to do is use their travel engine with predictive pricing to see that they have definitely outpaced the competition in that channel, in a user interface that is worthy of Apple.

It’s good to see Microsoft bring a little competition back to the search engine market.  Competition will only benefits the end user.

Charging For The News

The Times UK News and The Sunday Times UK have begun charging for a majority of their online content.  Access to the site’s content will be available for 1 pound a day or 2 pounds a week.  Subscribers to the print edition will receive access to the online content for free.

Probably not coincidentally, The Guardian and Trinity Mirror have reported rises in online traffic as the Times’ traffic has dropped nearly 50%.

For years newspapers have been trying to figure out a way to charge for their content.  Not surprisingly, they’ve found that the advertising only model isn’t driving enough revenue to support.  Newspapers argue that their product has a value, and that the consumer should be willing to pay for it.

Unfortunately, the cat is already out of the bag.  News content is readily available online at no cost.  Paid content models only work if the content is truly unique and of value to the consumer.  In the case of Times UK News and The Sunday Times UK, if their content is worth paying for … they’ll make out like bandits.  But as we’ve seen, the simple act of creating a pay wall with the subscription site has significantly negatively impacted site traffic.

But is converting free content sites to paid content sites the only, or even the best, option ?  News sites have plenty of other alternatives for generating revenue.  The simple act of requiring users to sign up for a free account to view content can allow the users to be profiled and tracked, providing highly targeted advertising opportunities which command higher CPMs than traditional banner advertising.  Free to Paid models where users have access to some content which is free and other content which requires a subscription,  local search advertising beyond simple banner ads, co-registration campaigns,  games and entertainment, and transaction models where the paper makes incremental income per transaction offer  additional revenue opportunities.

With so many other revenue models that have yet to be explored completely, it seems foolish to pull the trigger requiring all members to pay to view content.

We’ll have to wait to see if the Times UK News and The Sunday Times UK gamble pays off (and rest assured the entire newspaper industry is watching cautiously).