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The death of the website-let your content go free

February 14, 2007

Almost as fast as media finds new ways to grab eyeballs, some innovator invents a new way to help consumers avoid them. This is a high stakes game of cat and mouse with the early adopters doing anything they can to avoid ads.

One great example is Netvibes a comprehensive, customizable, personalized website that takes all the content you have, the content you want that’s distributed around the internet and pulls it all together on your Netvibes page.

This can include your Gmail account, your Flickr images and pretty much any RSS feed that you want.

Users aren’t forced to surf from site to site to view the content, and, of course, they don’t get forced to see the ads.

According to Eric Schonfeld of Business 2.0, Netvibes is working on raising the stakes even further. In the next month or so, Netvibes will make its modules exportable to other sites so people can populate their blogs, My Space pages with this content. They are also adding social networking functionality so these modules and talk to each other and allow people to export their buddy lists to a central location.

The Netvibes example is an example of two major connected forces; the desire to avoid advertising and the micro-fragmentation and re-distribution of content.

It’s going to be critical for brand owners and media to understand the significance of these trends. There are three questions to ask.

1. Are you prepared to break your content apart so people can distribute and use it on their own terms?

2. As an advertiser are you willing to distribute your advertising on this way?

3. As a content provider of advertiser, what added value content can you provide that consumers would be happy to embed or use on their own sites or at sites like Netvibes, even if it carries a sponsor message or content?

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