Back in May 2006, I wrote that content networks are the new blogs. With all kinds of great information out on the Web, I posited that people would start needing aggregations of content. Though many of us on the Web know how to roll our own collections of reading material, the general public doesn't want to go through all the work. Content networks cover more than just blog networks, and there are a few other ways to slice the pie than just thinking about blogs as ad platforms. Here are some quick thoughts about content networks and storefronts.
On one side of the equation are content networks. These include things like Weblogs, Inc., Gawker Media, and some of the other larger media creations. They include new offerings, such as Stowe Boyd's/Edgewards. In a way, Alltop can be seen as a content network (though it is mostly an aggregator pointing to the individual sites. Even I had a stab at it back in 2006, with the help of Kevin Kennedy-Spaien and Whitney Hoffman and Becky McCray and Megin Hatch and some others.
I continue to believe there are some great opportunities for content networks. I think that most of the models are trending toward ad platforms, and that's okay. It's what people know and understand, and people are making decent money doing it. Others are just gathering good stuff under the same banner so that others know where to find it. But there are other models.
Another way to use content is to ...