What if NYT Pulled a Netflix

The Netflix Option: Netflix has been on a roll. The media moguls in Sun Valley last week were apparently chattering about the online streaming service — and its threat to cable TV. The problem for Netflix is the same for other would-be competitors: they’re dependent on the same companies for access to content. Netflix is gearing up to pay lots more for content with a subscription change today that essentially decouples its streaming and DVD service. That means an 80 percent price hike for those keeping both. Needless to say, the Internet wasn’t pleased, not one bit. (Wall Streeters, on the other hand, rubbed their cold, greedy hands in glee.) Netflix is drawing a line in the sand that its future is in Web streaming, gambling that many will simply move over to the streaming service, despite the current dearth of high-quality content there. It’s a bold move that’s destined to either be a business school case study of making the leap at the right time or a disaster. It also brings to mind a different business, newspapers. Compare how quickly and decisively Netflix made this move to the hemming and hawing done by The New York Times over charging for access. The company studied the issue for over a year, and only then put in place a half-measure with myriad ways around it and caveats. These are different businesses, to be sure, but I have to wonder whether the cultural conservatism of the NYT — watching Page One, it’s almost like people working there think of it as a museum — holds back bold decisions that will define its future.

Google+ as Planned Community: Part of the charm of some social platforms like Twitter was how rough around the edges they were. For those on the service in its early days, there were frequent outages. Even now, Twitter is the first to admit that it hasn’t come close to building out all the functionality it needs. It would seem a testament to the always in beta mindset that celebrates rolling out rough versions of products and improving on them. But Google+ is different, as pointed out by Frederic Lardinois, Google has the benefit of seeing what worked in networks like Twitter. Now it can avoid the mistakes and the clunkyness and come out with a pretty seamless product. He compares this to the famous Disney planned community of Celebration, FL. The question is whether users will find it refreshingly tidy or totally soulless. And if you’re still confused what the fuss is about, Katherine Boehret at All Things D has a handy explainerof Google+’s features.The Return of Tom: What in the world is with Tom Anderson? The MySpace co-founder was a ubiquitous Internet presence for years, the one friend tens of millions had in common on MySpace. He was part entrepreneur, part mascot. Then he disappeared. Now, improbably, Tom is everywhere again. And of course, it’s thanks to Google+. He’s writing on TechCrunch about it and holding forth on Google+ to a following of 22,000 strong and growing. In fact, Tom is the 13th most popular person on Google+, where he takes digs at former rival Facebook. There’s even a Quora thread trying to get to the bottom of this seemingly sudden return to prominence.

Tweet of the Day: Not everyone is crazy about social influence service Klout. Count Forbes vp of advertising Matt Barash among them after the service pinpointed Jesus as an influencer.

Anti-Aggregation Forces Unite: A run of the mill AdAge column about Huffington Post “unethically” aggregating/repurposing its content somehow elicited a firestorm. HuffPo probably made a mistake in admitting it was wrong and suspending the writer. With blood in the water, journalists attacked. Adweek put HuffPo editor Peter Goodman through the wringer, demanding to know why he didn’t suspend himself. AdAge has now improbably come to the suspended writer’s defense. A class-action lawsuit is around the corner. Twitter debates have erupted over the ethics of aggregation. This combined with the Google+ hysteria over the wisdom of ditching your personal site are sure signs the Internet world needs a summer vacation.

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