Yesterday, Pluck announced their latest service, Pluck on Demand. Though Pluck specializes in social media and in content distribution, their new service is somewhat different from their previous offerings, such as BlogBurst.
Because, even though there is a lot of similarity between the services, Pluck on Demand is the first Pluck service to provide content, as well as a profit opportunity, to bloggers and end users, rather than large media companies. Where BlogBurst takes content submitted by bloggers and pushes it to mainstream media sites, Pluck on Demand takes content from all over the Web, including both mainstream media and BlogBurst, and pushes it toward individual sites.
This isn’t to say that there hasn’t been some concern expressed over Pluck on Demand, but overall, the service appears to be an interesting, if somewhat limited, opportunity for both publishers and creators.
How it Works
The idea behind Pluck on Demand is surprisingly simple. When readers get done with an article on your site, they likely want to read more on the topic. However, if you don’t have any thing further to say, the person may leave your site, never to return.
Pluck on Demand attempts to resolve this by tapping the vast amount of content they have the rights to display but they do it in a somewhat different way. Rather than having Webmasters sort through the library of articles and hand-select appropriate content, as publishers do with BlogBurst, Pluck on Demand provides a series of widgets that, much like contextual ads, scans the content of the page and selects relevant articles.
Links to those articles are then displayed next to the article, wherever the Webmaster put them, and users can then click on them to gain access to content that Pluck’s algorithm feels is related.
But what makes Pluck on Demand different is that the links do not go directly to the author’s Web site, but rather, to new pages on the blog or site that the visitor is still on. In short, the visitor never leaves the site to read the full article, meaning that the Webmaster that used the widgets gets to keep the pageviews for themselves.
The link back to the original author is instead provided at the footer of the full article, serving as something of a byline.
What is perhaps most interesting of all is the advertising arrangement of the service. Since all of the widgets display ads next to the full articles, Pluck divides up the revenue stream giving 50% of the money to the publisher, 30% to the author of the content and 20% to Pluck itself. (Note: This has only been stated for BlogBurst members and may or may not apply to publishers with other contracts)
But while BlogBurst members do have the chance to profit from this use of their content, they need to log into their accounts and enable “extended syndication opportunities” for their content to be considered for use in Pluck on Demand.
All in all, the system itself is fairly straightforward, especially for anyone that already uses Adsense or some other contextual advertising program, but it does raise some difficult questions.
The obvious, and intended, outcome of this service is that entries and articles written by BlogBurst members and other content partners will now appear, automatically, on sites all across the Web in full text format. Almost immediately, questions were asked about the implications of this.
- Could spammers use this to create junk sites automatically?
- Will duplicate content be an issue?
- What, if any, effect will this have on the SEO of both the creator and the publisher?
This means that, while spammers could theoretically build sites around Pluck on Demand, possibly for advertising purposes, they would not do well with the search engines unless they still had large amounts of content from other sources. Also, it is unlikely that articles being picked up via Pluck on Demand would create duplicate content issues or hurt the SEO of the persons writing the article.
While this is good news, it also means that the link back to the original article will not be visible to the search engines and that the author will not get any “link love” for their efforts either. This makes so that the Pluck on Demand article does not exist from Google’s perspective.
The end result is that the main benefit for the publisher is additional pageviews, advertising and added content to their site for human visitors and, for the creators, the chance to get a few clicks on the byline link and 30% of the revenue share. Whether this sounds like a good deal will be a judgment call for each blogger to decide.
Right now, there seems to be a slew of new “content-based” services that are remixing and republishing the works of bloggers with little or no thought given to the people who toil for hours to create the works they use. Pluck on Demand is clearly not one of those services.
However, this doesn’t automatically make it a good deal for bloggers. Thirty percent of the revenue share and a non-SEO-friendly link back might not be enough to motivate some to share their content through it. That will be a personal choice.
Still, I am very happy and excited to see companies coming up with business models that remix and reuse content from high-quality sources without violating copyright law or otherwise harming content creators. It is an attempt at a symbiotic relationship between publisher, creator and middle man. It is an imperfect one to be certain, but a solid attempt.
It is especially refreshing to see how far BlogBurst and Pluck have come after their previous licensing issues.
Personally, I am going to be re-submitting Plagiarism Today for inclusion in both BlogBurst and Pluck on Demand, if nothing else than as an experiment. It seems that the service does not do any real harm and I don’t see any reason to not give it a try, especially with content I already make available so publicly.
Others, however, I am sure will disagree.
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