The New Times reports today that publishers, including the New York Times itself, are on the verge of publishing directly on Facebook.
Rather than users clicking from Facebook to content on third party sites, such as the Times, Facebook would host the content directly on its social network site.
Facebook intends to begin testing the new format in the next several months, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions. The initial partners are expected to be The New York Times, BuzzFeed and National Geographic, although others may be added since discussions are continuing. The Times and Facebook are moving closer to a firm deal, one person said.
Though such a plan may improve the Facebook user’s experience with speed to the content (no click through), the idea is not without its problems for publishers.
Such a plan would represent a leap of faith for news organizations accustomed to keeping their readers within their own ecosystems, as well as accumulating valuable data on them.
Historically, Facebook has not shared advertising revenue with publishers. “We’ll send you traffic and you, as the publisher, sell ads based on increased website traffic.”
With this new plan, Facebook has expressed a willingness to share ad revenue. They’d have to as Facebook would control the entire atmosphere, no one would be leaving Facebook to go to the publisher’s site.
The whole idea of Facebook doing your publishing has to be scary as heck for publishers. As The New York Times’ David Carr (now deceased), wrote on this subject last fall:
For publishers, Facebook is a bit like that big dog galloping toward you in the park. More often than not, it’s hard to tell whether he wants to play with you or eat you.
What’s it all mean? No one knows for sure, but I wouldn’t bet against Zuckerberg who sees Facebook becoming the front page of your personal newspaper.
For lawyers today it means just paying attention to Facebook. Network in ways that you’d network in your community, just do some of it online on Facebook. Facebook may be your community forum or town hall.
For law bloggers start sharing your posts on Facebook. You’ll always want an independent site you’ll call your own (think magazine or book), just post portions of your content on your personal Facebook page linking back to your blog. It’s akin to guest articles in your community newspaper.
Who would have thought Facebook would have this sort of an impact on publishers — and lawyers.
Image courtesy of Flickr by Sam Chills