Pitfalls marketers should avoid when embracing content aggregation

You’re invited to dinner. The hostess serves up a stunning array of delicious dishes that leave you hungrier for the next course. You ask her how she managed this culinary wonder and she informs you that she was able to present this ensemble by ordering the most popular dishes from the most popular food places in town. Had you gone to any one of these restaurants on your own, you would have missed the chance to sample the delectable dishes from the other restaurants. This captures the essence of content aggregation, which allows marketers to present the most popular articles from the most popular sites from around the Internet.

The most obvious pitfall that one might imagine with content aggregation is the problem of “popularity.” By virtue of ordering from a restaurant based upon its popularity leaves wide open the possibility that a restaurant which has a great chef, sources the freshest ingredients and ultimately amazing food, gets left out of the list because it is not known popularly (which could happen for a variety of reasons). Similarly, the most popular dish from a restaurant may not be the tastiest dish on offer. Translating into the context of the digital world, this means that a website which may not be very popular might have some content extremely pertinent to a situation, but simply gets left out because of the popularity model underlying content aggregation.

Another pitfall that one might imagine in the above scenario is a bit murkier. What if the hostess decides to pass off the dishes as her own creation? In addition to this being ethically and morally wrong, as you, the guest is misled about the cooking skills of the hostess; it is possible that the hostess ends up destroying her own credibility. How? You may simply refuse to believe the hostess, maybe due to your own past experience with her cooking or you simply recognize the taste of the dish (you may eat at one of the popular restaurants in any case). Again, translating into non-gastronomic language, a website attempting to pass off some other websites content (and a popular one at that!) as their own, can very easily lead to users realizing the plagiarism (whether it is deliberate or due to laziness). This can translate into irreparable harm for the website.

Therefore, a marketer should be mindful of the pitfalls of content aggregation and be careful and cautious when delivering content on her website. Implemented well, it could mean exceptional success for her website, augmenting the business outcomes for her business. Bon Appetit!

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