Knewz...not Kidz News.
This one is blowing my mind just a bit. So I'll get the ridiculous name association that springs to my mind out of the way first. Perhaps "Knewz" is not as dumb as it sounds to me, but all I can think of is the Simpson's episode, "Girly Edition," where Lisa and Bart spar over their "Kidz News" show that sports the subtitle, "News you can use."
Am I crazy? Knewz...Kidz News...or did someone from News Corp. have the same association and just decide to roll with it?
Anywho, now that we've got that out of the way, holy shiznews! This new news aggregator is potentially a yuuuuge deal for one yuuuuge reason--no ads. While taking a clear and obvious shot at Google and Facebook, News Corp. has opened up a can of journalistic kick-nuts on Big Tech in an effort to salvage news from the realm of click-bate sensationalism and fake news.
What's the fight all about?
For years the main stink for news publishers has been that ad platforms profit from the publisher's content without passing any of that profit back to the content creators or publishers. Google Ad Sense and Facebook make an official 3xbuttload from all the clicks and engagement they get that never actually lead back to the original, journalistic content. And of course, these ad platforms refuse to share any user data with the publishers who are often responsible for the content being bandied about on their platforms.
The current system has fostered consumers more interested in sensationalism and trolling than in real news simply because "enragement is engagement." Why bother with reporting when you can just make shit up, have it go viral, and sit back and rake in the ad money?
Knewz is potentially a game changer.
The about page at Knewz.com/about states that the aggregator's purpose is "to let you consume news from a wide variety of sources, free of the bias bubbles and vacuous verticals that frustrate so many discerning readers and thoughtful publishers."
I know I shouldn't buy into this hook, line, and sinker, but I have to admit...this purpose statement made me tingly when I first read it. Bias bubbles and vacuous verticals are destroying our humanity by reverting us into something along the lines of Homo Dingus.
And while no news aggregator can make the news any less depressing, at least Knewz.com gives me the option to stay informed without being assaulted by incontinence products (I'm only 44 for cripe's sake), or having to sift through stories about Trump and Oprah's love child.
Let's not forget that the information dealers and Troll Farms who have recently sought to disrupt everything from our elections to our erections depend on Google Ad Sense revenue for their livelihoods. What could it mean for our society if even ten percent of us who currently consume some form of online news start using a platform that banishes ads altogether? What about 50%?
What could it mean for journalism is Knewz.com resulted in a 10% increase in subscriptions for news publishers? There is already very solid evidence that subscription revenue is the way news sites will save themselves from high-friction advertising. But until now, I couldn't see a clear path forward on a significant enough level to impact the seascape. With over 400 content publishers already involved in the beta version, Knewz easily becomes the largest and most viable threat to sleazy information dealers worldwide.
I'm trying to temper my excitement mainly due to the fact that News Corp. doesn't seem eager to share their plans on how they hope to monetize Knewz.com. While News Corp. clearly has plenty to gain from the kind of salvation Knewz.com could facilitate, it seems unlikely that they aren't planning to directly monetize the site somehow.
Whatever plans they may have, the beta version isn't sharing them with the rest of us. One clear possibility would be to charge a small finder's fee or to benefit from some sort of affiliate share for any new subscribers that find a publisher via Knewz.com. I suppose time will tell.
I'm interested to hear the thoughts of others on the matter. Check out Knewz.com. Let me know if it's something you plan on using, and why or why not.