Lijit Forges New Content Networks Service

Feb 11th, 2009 | By | Category: General, The New Media Update

Blog search widget Lijit has launched a new Content Networks service to let content publishers band together and create a network.

Lijit is an interesting and useful search tool in that, when installed on your website, readers can search not just for relevant blog posts, but also for other related things you’ve bookmarked, put on Flickr, Dugg, talked about in a social media setting, or put on some other site outside your own blog. As long as it has an RSS or OPML feed, Lijit can search through it for your readers.

The new Content Networks initiative extends that functionality, taking voluntary networks of bloggers and using Lijit to search the aggregated feeds. This reminds me of the old FeedBurner Network (which isn’t around anymore). Readers on a member publisher site can, in Lijit’s words, “search across all the content in the network.”

In addition to capabilities for searching across all an individual’s (or now, a group’s) content, Lijit has promoted itself as a money-making widget, placing content page ads and sponsorships and search based keyword ads.

The advertising capabilities now extend to the Content Networks service as well. As a contributing member of a network, you share the ad revenue from network search widgets that appear on your publication.

I think this could open up a whole host of revenue-sharing questions and problems, especially among large blog networks, where revenues are split among many members. And where some blogs are high-traffic and high-profile, and some not, the big guys’ disproportionate share of attention may make “fair” revenue-sharing problematic.

Lijit’s featured content networks so far don’t look very attractive – in aggregating the related sites, they’ve lost the design and individual character that draws a reader in. The aggregated site is ugly enough that it wouldn’t bring a reader back for a second visit.

The upside? As explained in the Lijit blog, “by collecting similar content in one place, readers have an amazing way of searching across a number of different bloggers writing about the same thing.” As a consumer of content, having an easier way of finding relevant information I need would be a welcome improvement for my time spent online.

The Content Networks idea is a good one, and it will be interesting to see in the months to come whether these potential downsides will be real problems, or if the rough edges will be smoothed out.

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No Responses to “Lijit Forges New Content Networks Service”

  1. Barney Moran says:

    Hi Elisabeth,

    The Bloggers Union advises Publishers currently using or considering embedding Lijit Search into their content: Lijit’s viability as a functioning entity is questionable.

    P.U.B. basis this alert these facts:

    1. Public releases from Lijit and other news sources put Lijit’s total money raised beside live revenue at under $20 Million over the last 24 months.

    2. Lijit has refused to offer transparency its financial condition or revenue from advertising on Publisher’s Blogs.

    3. The current economic environment demands both transparency from revenue based providers like Lijit; and due diligence from the Bloggers Union on avoiding potential content disaster for Publishers.

    P.U.B. continues to take heat asking hard questions for our Publishers, including threats of legal action against the bloggers union by organizations like Lijit, because it’s simply the right thing to do in this economic environment for publishers. P.U.B. would rather pro actively protect Publishers now, then be answerable to publishers after companies like Lijit fail and leave that result for Publishers to contend with concerning their content.

    What to do:

    1) Have a back up.
    If you are a publisher either using Lijit Search or considering it, have a back up plan using a publicly traded search option on your blog or blog network. Publicly traded companies are obligated by law to have a degree of transparency concerning their financial position.

    2) Ask the same hard questions of Lijit and other revenue based blog vendors.
    Contact these companies seeking use of your content directly. Ask what their financial position is, and what their guidance moving forward for 2009 and 2010 and beyond is.

    P.U.B. will continue to post on these issues for our Publishers

  2. Barney Moran says:

    Sorry, I was drunk, high and cheating on my wife when i posted this. I regret and am seeking help.

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