Tuesday, June 14, 2005
NYT vs LAT - Open vs Closed
It strikes me as pretty funny that the LAT's decided to do exactly the opposite of what the NYT's doing. The NYT is locking up it's editorial content; the LAT isn't just open-accessing it, it's open-sourcing it (ie, you can remix wikitorials, not just read them).
Now, I am gonna be watching this closely, because it's a great test of my model - will openness create massive value through complementarity and increasing returns? Even if it does, will the LAT be able to capture any of it?
If you've read my latest work, you know i think the answers are yes and yes. But I've been met more than a little skepticism, especially from content guys and mass media strategists, for whom this value inversion is a lot to stomach.
So, if you're into peer production and Media 2.0 econ, I think you, like me, should keep a very close eye on wikitorials vs editorials, because it's one of the first times an old-school media incumbent is experimenting with a (real) open-source content model (to be differentiated from an open-access model).
One additional (geeky) point. I would advise the LAT to think carefully about complementarity in the context of wikitorials. By this, I mean that if you overwrite everything I write, my peer production contribution becomes a net loss (because I work hard to produce something that's never consumed, ie, what econ heads call a 'bad'). Complementarity is never realized.
Now, all my goods might have been bads anyways - everything I had to wikitorialize about might have sucked. But this - the fact that wikitorials are rival in production (to use an awkward turn of phrase), and so may prove kind of difficult to leverage for snowballing complementarity - is their key relationship to manage.
It might be nice to have left/vs right wikitorials, or some other mechanism that takes into account the inevitable edit wars that hyperpolarization will create.
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