Umair Haque / Bubblegeneration
umair haque  


Design principles for 21st century companies, markets, and economies. Foreword by Gary Hamel. Coming January 4th. Pre-order at Amazon.

Monday, January 16, 2006


Didn't have time to write over the wknd about Gather. I think Gather is a really cool idea. But that said, there are a number of big problems with the Gather model.

1) Rights issues and adverse selection. Why wouldn't someone rip off my blog to make a few bucks on Gather?

This is not that huge a deal, but it will cause problems eventually.

2) Gather's centralized. This is kind of backwards. What is Memeorandum? A decentralized Gather. What works better in an atomized, exploded value chain? Decentralized, open access models. Why? Because they essentially become markets. Gather is a hybrid, and hybrids haven't worked very well.

3) The biggie: business model. One of the dirty secrets of the Long Tail kru (the VCs, not Chris) is that there isn't a single, simple LT business model. In fact, what's going on right now is a classic fight for the next dominant design.

So Gather's in an increasingly competitive space. There are lots of people trying to solve this problem and "monetize" (I hate that word) micromedia.

In fact, the biggest competitor to Gather isn't another play, it's an ecosystem - Memeorandum/Technorati/etc, Blogger/TypePad/etc, and AdSense/BlogAds/etc. The problem with this emerging value chain is that revenue to content creators increases exponentially with traffic - exactly what you don't want in an LT b-model.

I think all this points to Gather getting Ninged - cool idea, but a lack of clarity about the real economics of the Media 2.0 space means a limited opportunity.

-- umair // 8:29 PM // 5 comments


Am I missing something, or is Gather just a closed blogosphere (hate, hate that word) for the Johnny come lateleys and Z-list population?

Add a dash of pyramid scheme (points for inviting new members), and you have a bottom feeder ecosystem.

*5 mins later* Hang on, there seems to be zero personalisation of the look and feel for bloggers? That is weak...
// Anonymous paulpod // 12:36 AM

Ha. Yeah - I think they are trying to do a MySpace for soccer moms...

// Blogger umair // 2:28 AM


I totally agree that the centralized model of Gather isn't quite in line with Media 2.0 economics. However, I just dug up this post where you say that the "smart venture money" is backing Squidoo:

Nick Carr vs Peer Production

Squidoo is even more centralized than Gather, and as far as I'm concerned it isn't leveraging edge competencies at all. What did I miss?
// Anonymous Pete Cashmore // 2:51 AM

Hey Pete,

That was an example of the bigger space smart money is generally flowing to - peer production, the boundaries of the firm, etc.

That's not to say Squidoo is, IMHO, the best bet in this space...
// Blogger umair // 3:01 AM

Umari wrote:
"The problem with this emerging value chain is that revenue to content creators increases exponentially with traffic - exactly what you don't want in an LT b-model."

Are you arguing content creators should get less than exponential returns or more, i.e. combinatorial returns?

Combined with your similiar point in "Problems with Adsense Pt. 1," I'm getting confused.

Whose side are you on, anyway!? ;)
// Anonymous Alex in Los Angeles // 6:10 PM
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