25 July 2008
Is User Generated Content heading for bust?
Now, we are living in the age of User Generated Content.
This blog is one example, but then I am told I can make money by using the Google AdSense program (me!).
Yahoo has Answers.
Everywhere, we have social networks being described as the hottest Internet thingie.
Message boards, discussion forums, self-created cartoons, photographs uploaded from the family album.... the list is long.
To this long list may be added this "citizen journalism" thing.
As a professional journalist, I often ask myself: Am I heading for unemployment, sub-employment, oblivion, whatever...?
I don't have the answers, but I can tell this much: It suits the creators of technology platforms, and those who make money on advertisements, to get content for free.
User Generated Content assumes that writing, singing, photographs...they are all done only for fun and self-satisfaction.
Some marginal money is shared through programmes like AdSense to encourage good content, but in the end, I do have my reservations about UGC.
If it is good, it must be worth the right price!
How much does one pay for something that is good?
In the current phase, there is a trend of disruption in which demand and supply are not being properly measured. The industry is, as it were, groping itself to find its own shape!
There are geeks trying to figure out how to get on top of Google Search lists.
There are geeks trying to measure how users consume content.
There are geeks trying to measure hits, impressions and usage patterns of content.
It is the lack of accepted measurement metrics, and the sheer novelty of uploading something on the Net that is creating a culture of "UGC-generated" revenues.
I expect this to settle into a rhythm.
Having seen the first dotcom boom -- and bust -- I expect the din on the side of the UGC evangelists from the technology and publisher side to die down.
Clarity will emerge a while later.
Remember the days when kids had 7 mail IDs?
Remember the days when a new email account resulted in 23 forwards read per day and 4 forwards done per day?
All that changed, and I expect this UGC thing to settle into a simple rhythm. A part of the advertisement revenue will most certainly go there, but a lot of the action will be in the mainstream media business.
Techies and ad-sellers trying to behave like publishers is a passing phase.
Loser Generated Content has its limits.
Just wait and watch.