To Syndicate or Not to Syndicate?
That is the question I've been asking myself for the last several weeks. About that length of time ago, I've been pursued (ironically through Brilliant at Breakfast, a forum to which I no longer post) by a content acquisition guy. I went to the website and looked at their setup and learned that you have to lock yourself in to a two-year agreement and have only 30 days to opt out.
This was the standard pitch I was given on July 21:
I was reading your blogger profile and noticed that you're a co-author of Brilliant at Breakfast, another blog we syndicate. It looks like you have a lot of high-quality political coverage so I just wanted to see if you would be interested in syndicating with us.
Newstex LLC (www.newstex.com) is the leading licensed content syndication company that connects authoritative online publishers like you with top content distributors such as LexisNexis and ProQuest to deliver trustworthy content to audiences of professionals, journalists, business people, educators, and more who need it to do their jobs every day.
Other similar publishers from whom we license content and pay royalties to include the Democratic Daily, AMERICAblog and Pam's House Blend.
You can start earning exposure, credibility and money when you complete the non-exclusive agreement and provide your full text RSS feed to Newstex. We syndicate online magazine, blog, Twitter, and video content. Here’s how it works:
1. What happens to my content?
Your content (including all embedded links and a link back to your site) is delivered alongside other respected content through distributors like LexisNexis, Cengage Gale, ProQuest, Amazon Kindle, and WestLaw to audiences who need it to do their jobs. Your content is distributed through closed systems like corporate and university libraries, government agencies, law and financial firms, media organizations, and more. That means it doesn’t compete with your online content. Instead, it’s delivered to an audience who is unlikely to find it otherwise.
2. Who sees my content?
Audiences use your content to research competitors, gather information for legal cases, obtain leads for media stories, gauge consumer reactions to product launches or marketing initiatives, track corporate or brand reputations, and much more.
3. What do I get?
You get offline exposure to key professional audiences and you earn royalties each time your content is viewed. How much you can earn in exposure is limitless, and how much you can earn in royalties depends on the amount of content you produce as well as how closely that content matches the information end-user audiences need to do their jobs.
Remember, since the agreement is non-exclusive, you can pursue any other opportunities to grow your audience, credibility, and earnings while you are a Newstex Authoritative Content publisher.
Bottom line, it could, theoretically, result in a wider readership, reaching venues and databases presently inaccessible to me and put some coin in my pocket. But I've been ambivalent regarding syndication for several very good reasons.
I cannot imagine users of LexisNexis, for instance, going to me for actual news and walking away satisfied. Obviously, I'm not a news source nor have I ever pretended to be. Like two million other birds in the blogosphere, I'm just another voice in the wilderness briefly shrieking in the dead of night about one injustice or another.
Not a problem, Content Acquisitions Guy said, we syndicate a lot of blogs like yours. Some people go to these databases looking for commentary and not merely news.
OK, another problem, I told him today:
I'm a liberal, literary one man al Qaeda cell and I have not only pissed off misguided and unwary conservatives surfing in looking for actual great conservative books but also my own base. My first post about Pam Geller and references to certain parts of her genitalia, a walk in the park for guys like the Rude Pundit, alienated the webmaster of Casa la Brilliant. OK, fine. I'm still my own person, this is still my little fiefdom and for now I'm self-contained and not communicable. If you don't like the content, then stop reading. It's that simple.
But that dovetails into another problem: I've already been kicked out of several group blogs, been banned by over half a dozen others (including my second go-round at Orchid Boy's AmericaBlog, three bannings from Democratic Underground, Media Matters for reasons that remain mysterious to me and Democrats.org. There are others, many others.).
I told Content Acquisitions Guy that I'd just wrapped up a little flame war with Pam Geller and told him to read my last post about Mitt Romney. "OK, that was extreme," he said, "but I think I can still sell you on my editor. Besides, we syndicate Atlas Shrugged, too."
That's when I told him, Dude, you think that's extreme? Then I proceeded to tell him about some of the places that have made me persona non grata and that I am absolutely not averse to starting or finishing the occasional flame war. Bottom line, I said I was like the Rude Pundit with Tourette's and selling me on his editor could actually turn out to be a bad career move.
So, should I import myself to the masses? Because I'd sure hate to get decent folks in trouble. He said he'd cut the lock-in time to a year for me but that's still a lot of time to piss a lot of people off.