The Marketplace Reader

Rupert Murdoch is now frenemies with Facebook

Dalasie Michaelis Aug 18, 2008

From The New York Times.

Fox News Channel wants more friends. But instead of reaching out on the News Corporation’s own social network, MySpace, the cable news channel is choosing to network on the site’s chief rival, Facebook.

Well played. Facebook offers what MySpace doesn’t.

Facebook is “currently the leading social network” worldwide, said Joel Cheatwood, the senior vice president for development at Fox News. “They also have a user that’s a little older and a little more sophisticated.”

I for one welcome what may be a trend toward openness on the Web. If your competitors have strengths, use them to your advantage. For example, plans to refocus a major portion of its online business around a set of user-generated, but closely moderated topic pages that are supported by links to relevant sources across the Web — even if they’re on a competitor’s site.

A few other magazines and newspapers have also become serious about building verticals, but they tend to jealously guard control of their online audiences and content. Not this one.

Each Business Exchange topic page links to articles and blog posts from myriad other sources, including BusinessWeek’s competitors, with the contents updated automatically by a Web crawler. Nearly all traditional news organizations offer only their own material, spurning the role of aggregator as an invitation to readers to leave their sites.

Users want good, reliable content. Give it to them, even if you’re pointing them to the competition. They’ll remember that you pointed them to the good stuff, and they’ll come back.

So, er, come back soon please?

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