Thursday, May 29, 2008

Taking value away from users to try to force a specific action is almost always going to be less desirable than providing people what they want.

Here's a little secret: statistically speaking, no one cares about what you have to offer, show or say. But rather than have me beat you over the head with that statement of fact, I'll let Loren Feldman tell you in this video.

In fact, the collective "they" care so little, "they" aren't even going to bother putting forth the effort to steal your content. Tim O'Reilly told us that in 2002. And while a goodly number of creative people finally took that message to heart in recent years, the vast majority of people are still spending to much time protecting what is rightfully theirs -- when (statistically) nobody cares.

Today this issue came to a head for me (again) in the guise of the full-text vs partial feed debate, so I sent over this classic comment as a stand-in for my arguments. Podcasters who bitch about feed-hijacking are singing the same tune. Funny how the issue of media-serving ownership doesn't seem to bother video producers. And people wonder why YouTube is more popular than any podcast directory. Go figure.

Here's the bottom line: If you are a creative person, you should be primarily concerned with people being able to consume your product. Worrying over how it is consumed or what might happen to it after it is consumed is a clear case of chicken-before-the-egg. Get it out there. Make it easy to find and enjoy. If not... well then you're as crazy as my cousin in Iowa with an irrational and all-consuming fear of sharks. Guess how often I take her call?

The title -- and inspiration -- for this post came from an article on Techdirt last year. Worth the read as it's applicable to much more than the issue of the proper contents of an RSS feed.


  1. Sure that's easy for you to say, you don't have any content! :P Wow almost forgot about that Freakonomics debacle. Used to like that blog.

  2. Brilliant. As always. If you build it, they will come. If you create it, and they like it, they will find you for more if need be.

    Or something like that.


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