Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Content Syndication Marketplace Lets Publisher Decide How Their Content Is Used: Mochila Is Here

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a) a highly efficient Content Syndication and Distribution venue, c) a smart Contextual Advertising system that matches ads to high-quality content, d) an On-Demand Content marketplace for online publishers: this is what Mochila, a new publishers' marketplace, intends to offer to its multiple stakeholders.

Mochila clears high-quality content from media sites, newspapers, news organizations and prestigious web sites to indpendent web site owners and online publishers of all kinds while allowing advertisers to self-select relevant matching content to place their ads on.

The great thing about this new service, is that everyone benefits from it:

a) Content owners can expand their exposure, reach and profitability with extreme ease and at no cost.

b) Online publishers can add high-quality content to their sites increasing their value to their readers and while profiting from commissions on all the ads matched to such content.

c) Advertisers can enjoy highly targeted placement of their ads and a powerful distribution mechanism in which independent publishers become active marketing agents to very relevant and targeted audiences


A mochila is a lightweight backpack, the type that students everywhere stuff with books, iPods and other useful content.

The new Mochila content syndication service has a similar concept: let publishers pick up just what fits their needs from other publishers and then run with it wherever they need to take it.

Mochila's by-the-item syndication allows licensees to pay for content outright or to take it for free if they're willing to use Mochila-provided ads.

It's an idea whose time may be just right given the explosion of content destinations that attract today's users.

Could Mochila be the tool that creates an explosion in ad hoc online syndication?

Content syndication has been with us a long time, a concept that dates back to early news wire services and that was refreshed in the Web era to take on a new patina of trendiness.

Now the whole world can syndicate its content via XML-powered weblog feeds in RSS and other formats, making content syndication all the more important but harder to corral into meaningful packages for publishers.

Traditional syndication deals offer publishers the ability to set terms and conditions via long-established negotiation patterns that promise some stability in both revenues and relationships.

By contrast weblog syndication doesn't have much of any business framework around it: it's grab-and-go, with your content streaming off to any number of destinations with a click of a mouse. With good luck weblogs are not stolen, but there's certainly no guarantee.

Photo credit: Ophelia Cherry
A new service called Mochila aims to add some significantly new syndication options for publishers between the extremes of traditional content syndication and the "Wild West" of weblog feeds.

Mochila aims to be a marketplace where publishers and content service developers can find and license individual articles and other per-item content from major publishers for use in their own online publications.

Licensees have the option to purchase rights for content outright or to take content for free if they agree to use it with ads provided by Mochila's advertisers, from which they'll take a portion of ad revenues.

Mochila itself plans to take a relatively small fraction of ad revenues, acting as an eBay-like agent that can thrive on as broad a marketplace for syndication services as possible.

Sellers get to define licensing rules, set embargos, have their content branded and in general have a broad say over how their content is used, but the emphasis is on automated service that expedites content getting into the right contexts as soon as possible.

Major publishers already signed up for this program include Car and Driver, FastCompany, The Denver Post, Home Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine - brands that are well established in their own right but facing the common challenge of finding their own voice in an online world that is dominated by users empowered by search engines and weblogs to find high quality content in many new contexts. If you can't get the traffic to go to your own site, why not take your content to where the traffic wants to go? Major publishers are doing this themselves any way with their own content brands as they aggregate them in their own stable of portals (for example, Fortune magazine content in Time Warner's portal).

In a perfect world a publisher would have the resources to acquire all of the content that they can to attract the most advertising and subscription revenues possible, but the Web is evolving away from that perfect world quite rapidly.

With mash-ups, user-generated media and a wealth of easily deployed publishing tools niche-oriented publications are driving much of the growth in online publishing and advertising.

Getting one's content to be featured in those quickly shifting niches poses quite a challenge to traditional publishers - a challenge that Mochila hopes to address.

Here are a few thoughts as to the pluses and minuses of this approach to content syndication for publishers and aggregators to ponder:

  • Goodbye, walled garden, hello World Wide Web.
    The idea that editorial content in a given package should come from a single publisher made sense in the print era, but increasingly in the Web era it's clear that the "World Wide Web" favors a different kind of content granularity than the traditional "walled garden" approach. A licensing scheme such as Mochila allows content to be packaged effectively for broad dissemination through focused online editors who are looking for just the right content for a specific situation. This "cherry-picking" of ideal content for a specific audience by other publishers provides a much higher level of endorsement in the long run than either straight search engine marketing or traditional "fire hose" syndication feeds - a value that advertisers are likely to appreciate.
  • The New Aggregation is getting a sales engine.
    At Shore we have been proponents of The New Aggregation for some time, which suggests that today's aggregation is far less about having a complete publication process and a "choke point" at the top of it to control distribution of content and far more about using specific attributes of publishing and aggregation to create value in a world in which individuals and institutions are the primary distributors of content. By focusing on finding content and licensing it for as many valid contexts as possible Mochila is maximizing the distribution of content to as many relevant contexts as possible, freeing others to provide other aspects of value in the publication and aggregation chain. This less vertical approach to content value generation is likely to dominate in years to come.
  • It's a game that many can play.
    Mochila has a lot to gain by being a "first mover" on this style of content syndication, especially given the relative maturity of their model, but it's a race to see how fast technologists with a good business plan can speed ahead of other suppliers with a broad base of syndication clients already. A few twists here and there could easily add Mochila-like capabilities to these established services - if they can see and understand the opportunities. There are also increasingly aggressive content relicensing services such as Copyright Clearance Center and iCopyright that are learning how to extend publishers' reach to individuals: who's to say that their capabilities could not be extended to support syndication? Syndication is an old game, after all, though a game that may be ready for new players.

Mochila could be as much about a good exit strategy as it is about a good business plan, but in the meantime it is providing a provocative new look at content syndication very much in tune with where users are looking for today's high-quality content.

That may be enough to provoke new ways of doing business in content syndication sooner rather than later.

For publishers in search of greater revenues and margins, sooner might be nice.

Learn more by watching these:

Robin Good's short take


Everyone wins

Mochila allows web site owners to find quality content, ready for legal republication, at no cost to them. As long as they are willing to run the ads that are matched to that content, online and print publishers can ideally get a ton of quality content at absolutely zero cost while making money on the ads being delivered through it. Even if they don't want the advertising their cost of content acquisition is much lower than via more traditional methods.

Advertisers can count on opportunities an reach potential never available to them before. Ability to self-select and match ads to specific content articles, authors or subject makes ads so much more relevant and effective, transforming them from traditional interruptive ads into contextually relevant ads.

Writers, authors, news reporters, bloggers (?) can also benefit from this content marketplace as their work can be sold and published by multiple buyers.

Buy quality content

Mochila members can access directly the content database and perform searches by subject, publication, date range and author, and even search within the content for keywords that determine the topical/semantic relevance of an article in the eye of a search engine.

The buying process is as simple as it can be made and you, as an editor, can immediately see the fees and terms of usage for each article you select to republish. "The fee structure is based on a price per word that is favorable compared to traditional market rates and other factors like frequency and circulation."

Sell content

Mochila provides to content publishers and media organization a major opportunity to expand visibility, reach and profitability for their content, no matter what topics it is on. No need to rely anymore on your own forces to make your site the only vehicle for publishing your articles, research, reports, interviews online. As the Web is scaling itself now to a new dimension, and granular access to content bits from different sources and across different media is rapidly becoming common sense, it makes great sense to release content from your own walled private garden and let the open marketplace carry it to its relevant readers by ways of many small and medium content publishers out there.

The content published through Mochila contains clear attribution to the author and source, so that the content seller can easily expand its reach, exposure and visibility without any extra effort.


Mochila gives new wide-span wings to advertisers who gain unprecedented control over the placement, or better yet I should say, over the matching of their ads with uniquely relevant articles that they themselves can select. Not only. Articles inside the Mochila database are available for many publishers to take up and use, and so for the ads associated with each. So the advantage is truly double: a) the advertiser gets to choose on which specific content articles it wants to display its ad, b) matching articles are selected by many online and print publishers for republication widening in very targeted way, the ads reach efforts.

"Mochila is revolutionizing online advertising. With Mochila, advertisers can align their ads with high quality, relevant content that is not limited to a website or network. Rather, ads are displayed wherever the selected content appears. The synergy of ads placed with relevant content expands reach to create a better ROI for advertisers."

Advertisers can freely search the Mochila content database and select whichever content they see as best fitting. They can place ads by article, subject, category or publication to target any specific audience they have in mind.


Mochila marks a milestone turn in the way that content can be acquired, distributed and monetized online.

Quality content gets potentially orders of magnitude of extra exposure, visibility and revenue, associated with a higher quality distribution and delivery to much more targeted audiences.

Online publishers have suddenly a treasure trove: free quality content to publish on their properties that brings them also advertising revenue. For some it will appear too good to be true.

For advertisers this a phenomenal extension of what contextual advertising has been bringing to them via the Google Adwords / AdSense, with the great advantage that they have more control, more opportunity and precision to properly match commercial messages with relevant content, and last but not least with an army of self-sufficient online publishers who will take on their ads and carry them to the most relevant and targeted audiences at no extra cost.

"Content becomes a merchandisable "asset" that can be sold one piece at a time and syndicated to multiple buyers."

Can't wait to try it.
Have sent already two requests to Mochila in the last seven days, to review and test their system, but have had nothing more than an automated email follow-up.

You can yourself sign-up now to Mochila and await their direct follow-up.

John Blossom and Robin Good -
Reference: Shore [ Read more ]
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posted by Robin Good on Tuesday, April 4 2006, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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