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"Powered by ..."

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by aradiowriter, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. aradiowriter

    aradiowriter New Member

    This is sort of a general question about online websites that "partner" or "join" with other sites. I'm interested in knowing how this generally works, particularly when a smaller website joins with a larger one.

    A few of the more well-known "powered by" examples are ProFootballTalk.com (powered by NBC Sports) and That's Racin', which is "powered by" the Charlotte Observer. Does PFT and TR give up ownership of their site when this sort of arrangement takes place? If not, are they free to "disassociate" with the larger site at anytime — taking the traffic with them?

    It's easy to see where a mutual benefit would occur (i.e., PFT benefits from increased audience; and NBC benefits from bringing on an established brand; and the two kick ass together) ... but it seems like a potential separation could be ugly.

    Anyways, I'd appreciate any insight some of you might be able to share.
     
  2. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    Well, my short, semi-informed answer is that these are business deals, with contracts (at least they always are at my place), so nobody's "free" to do anything whenever they want.

    Sometimes the deal ends, with plenty of notice after negotiations (or not) for keeping the deal in place.
     
  3. aradiowriter

    aradiowriter New Member

    Thanks for the reply, SF.

    So, here's a hypothetical, and I'll throw this out to anyone: Let's say you operate a popular independent blog site and have been approached by a larger company to develop a partnership. The larger company essentially wants to "power" your blog and host it at their site; a setup similar to PFT w/ NBC Sports.

    What type of arrangement would you look for?

    The main concern isn't the day-to-day operation, because nothing would change. The blog would continue to run as is but would merely have a different home. However, if the relationship were to break down in the future, I see two sides to this:

    IF LARGER SITE TOOK OVER OWNERSHIP OF THE BLOG ...

    ...and ultimately decided to cut the blogger loose, then you're stuck? You have no more blog and now you're jobless. The larger company would maintain the brand, which they now own?

    IF BLOGGER JOINED LARGER SITE BUT MAINTAINED OWNERSHIP OF THE BLOG ...

    ...got tired of the arrangement and wanted to walk away, the larger company would conceivably be getting screwed. Not only would the blog steal some of its audience and take traffic, but now the larger company has a content shortage.

    What could serve as an amicable arrangement in a "powered by" situation?
     
  4. gravehunter

    gravehunter Member

    It might be a case-by-case thing, depending on what's written into the agreement.

    Rivals.com was, and probably is still on the lookout for new sites to add. One of the first places they look is at established, fan sites that already have a substantial number of followers/subscribers. If the owner of that site decides to move said site to rivals (which is owned by Yahoo), an agreement will have to be made and a contract signed. The owner will continue to run his site as usual but a percentage of paid subscriptions will go to Yahoo and the remainder will go to the owner (it's usually 50 percent).
    However, when it comes time for contract renewal, a decision will be made on whether to keep you on as a "site publisher" or not. If not, they won't renew your contract and you're out the door. I'm not sure if you keep your site (which I would think is unlikely because in this case, Yahoo is providing all of the support, promos, graphics, software, etc., and they're not about to let you continue to use that). If you decide to keep running a site after you and yahoo have parted ways (should that happen), you're now a competitor.
    I guess a lot of that would have to be worked out, or negotiated ahead of time.
    Now , I don't know how other companies (NBC, etc) do it but this might give you a general idea to what you're trying to find out.
     
  5. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Was it Dodger Thoughts or Land'O'Lakers that used to be associated with the Los Angeles Times but moved to ESPN Los Angeles?
     
  6. aradiowriter

    aradiowriter New Member

    Thanks for the responses so far. I'd appreciate any others - even if it's wild speculation :D

    Any suggestions for how you might go about this if you were a blogger looking to take your site to a larger site, a site that would be salarying you? Again, the real problem would be "joining up," giving the larger site ownership rights of your blog, and then, a year from now, the larger company says, "See ya later."

    Then you're back to square one. Except now, no blog. And no money.

    Is that just the chance you take?
     
  7. Screwball

    Screwball Member

    Both. ESPN LA dropped Dodger Thoughts as of Jan. 31.
     
  8. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    Incorrect. Dodger Thoughts was proprietary long before its time at the LA Times.
    Land O' Lakers, although written by former LA Times bloggers, is an ESPN creation.
     
  9. murphyc

    murphyc Well-Known Member

    I always assumed That's Racin' was the Charlotte Observer's racing website. Most feature stories (at least in the past) seem to be from Observer staff and/or AP.
     
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