A perfect storm

If you don’t think changes are coming to your online business content model, think again.

In the $30mm acquisition category is Sysomos, now owned by MarketWire.  Traditional corporate communication has officially embraced Social Media.  Now companies who don’t understand how to leverage social media will benefit from the acquisition.

In the… ahem… greater than $30mm acquisition category is Google’s purchase of MetaWeb, which will add semantic search capabilities to Google’s capabilities.  What’s Semantic Search?   Think about it… you are usually looking for an answer to a question (as in:  I want to find all Ska bands currently on tour)  How in the heck do you query that?  Semantic Search, ergo… MetaWeb.

Yesterday, Amazon announced its electronic book sales have exceeded hardback books.  Imagine.  And besides Kindle, what are people reading their e-books on?  Yes.. your trusty iPad.   No wonder – 6 out of 10 adults are now using the internet wirelessly.

I laughed when I read that Kara Swisher dubbed the iPad as Christmas 2010’s “Tickle Me Elmo”; and no wonder… with FlipBoard’s ability to package your favorite blogs and traditional media together as your own personal media conglomerate.  I wonder which blogs and content providers have natural affinity?  How will advertisers be able to leverage these new content ensembles?   I love the smell of new revenue models.

Speaking of content ensembles, how about content merchandising?  I love the way Amazon suggests other things I might like to buy.  I can do that with books now, but I can’t ::wait:: to see what other content and blogs I may want to read.  The technology exists.  How can we monetize it?  Let me count the ways:  advertising, e-commerce,  subscription revenue, sales of aggregate marketing data and reader behavior tracking, ‘opt-in’ research, and affinity partnerships.

Near to my own heart… no data mining system or polling tool would be complete without a sentiment analysis component. 

New business models will revolve around how we find the information we need.  Monetizing the process as opposed to the product is going to be the biggest learning curve for media companies.   Thankfully, we have people like Seth Grimes who watch the entire text analytics market.  He puts people and companies together that are MFEO.  (Sorry- Sleepless in Seattle reference… Made For Each Other).

Content providers will need to optimize their product for the new technology.  Advertisers will still need to get consumers to take action, but the metrics they will need to track will expand exponentially.  Tracking tools will emerge, a la Google Analytics, but, once again, data is just data without people who understand what matters and why.

In the Web 3.0 world, the Consumer will be (and is always) King.   Content providers need to remember to follow the money.  Wherever consumers are spending their time and money is where they need to be.

Laurel Earhart, for the Smart Content Conference.

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