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By Thomas Baekdal - September 2018

Publishers doing Ecommerce, EU Copyright, and Factfulness

This is an archived version of a Baekdal Plus newsletter (it's free). It is sent out about once per week and features the latest articles as well as unique insights written specifically for the newsletter. If you want to get the next one, don't hesitate to add your email to the list.

In this edition of the Baekdal Plus Newsletter:

Publishers and Ecommerce - two treats

Over the past two weeks, I have published two things about this growing trend of publishers focusing more on ecommerce.

First, I published the latest episode of the Baekdal Plus Podcast, which I hope you have already added to your podcast app. Episode 6 is all about ecommerce and publishers, where I talk specifically about the role of journalism and some of the things publishers should consider to make it trustworthy.

I also wrote a much bigger Plus report (32 pages) called "Publishers, Ecommerce and Affiliate Revenue: the Guide", where I go into much more detail about the revenue potential and strategy.

There is some overlap between the podcast and the Plus report, but they also have their own unique elements, so it's worth checking them both to get the full picture.

Of course, if you are pressed for time and can only manage one of them, the Plus report has the highest strategic value, so check that one out first.

The EU Snippet Tax is not About Copyright. It's About Protecting the Press

I also recently wrote about the EU snippet tax and the problem that I see with this.

I'm fully aware that many people in the publishing industry will disagree with me, but as a media analyst, my job is to take a step back and not just think about the future of media in terms of protecting the traditional press. And this legislation is all about protecting the old!

The biggest problem I have with this legislation is that publishers claim it's about protecting copyright, and yet they have managed to exempt the press from all of it.

Just stop and think about that for a moment.

I'm old enough to remember what the media was like before everyone got distracted by Google and Facebook. I remember back when we talked about the real problem with copyright, which was how other publishers were republishing your content.

You all know how this works. When one newspaper reports a story, within just a few minutes, every other newspaper starts to report exactly the same.

And this problem is causing far more damage to the media industry, because if everyone just copies from everyone else, there is no way for a newspaper to be unique.

Unfortunately the new EU digital copyright legislation does nothing to fix that, instead it does the opposite. It allows publishers to report anything they find from anywhere (as long as it is factual), but if Google does the same, they have to pay.

You see the problem?

In an effort for the old media to 'get back at Google', you have made your own problems worse, because now you are legally allowed to violate other publications' copyright, all for the sake of trying to get some money from Google. In case that wasn't pathetic enough, the amount of money this tax will make available per publisher is practically nothing.

So, I'm really frustrated by this, and also by a lot of other things I see at the moment. The old media industry is so blinded by Google and Facebook that they don't realize how much damage they are causing themselves.

We cannot create a copyright law that we are exempt from. It will lead to even more problems for the publishing industry.

There are real issues to discuss with copyright, but this legislation completely misses that discussion.

Anyway, enough ranting! I wrote more about that here:


A couple of weeks ago, Gapminder published a brilliant article called Factfulness, which I just absolutely love.

It focuses on "the ten common story types that often make us misinterpret facts and see them as more dramatic than they are."

There are two posters. The first one identifies the 10 common problems that we often come across.

And the second one helps you identify how to control these and how to question the things you see.

I love this, and if I was running a news room, I would print these out in a really big size and hang them on the wall (here is a direct link).

This is part of Gapminder's new book called Factfulness. I haven't had time to read it yet, but others tell me that it's excellent (and the audiobook is apparently also great). So, check that out.

This also links to a problem that we see so often in the media, where we unintentionally cause the public to become misinformed simply because of how we focus on things.

Matt Wuerker, cartoonist for Politico, illustrated this brilliantly a while back with this tweet.

We need to focus more on bringing factfulness into the newsroom. Not just the act of reporting something in a factual way, but also to make sure that the public ends up with the correct view of the whole.

In other words, we need to focus on the 'fullness of facts', and not just the facts themselves.

This is an archived version of a Baekdal Plus newsletter (it's free). It is sent out about once per week and features the latest articles as well as unique insights written specifically for the newsletter. If you want to get the next one, don't hesitate to add your email to the list.


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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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