The new trusted sources

Really nice summation of the problem with the “people will always turn to trusted brands” idea that many people in traditional media companies cling to as their hope for survival:

The community gathers around its self-created experts, and with little cost structure to manage, a quality content origination process is activated. It might seem impossible that the value that publishers create will be completely removed, but as we see more and more authors, musicians, and industry experts choose to set up without a ‘publisher’, the likelihood increases. Even beyond these emergent experts, we have an ocean of what is popularly called user generated content, which is of varying degrees of quality, but on aggregate poses a substantial risk to traditional publishers.

Andrew Davies, co-founder of Idio, hits the nail on the head here (and the whole article is worth a read). Yes, people will turn to trusted brands – but those brands will often be people rather than the traditional media brands of the past. And there will be a whole range of trusted sources, from friends, through to industry experts. The question is: can you build a business out of a group of trusted individuals? 

  • As far as I can tell, there’s a great building architecture for curational experts, but those are coming into being bottom-up, by being people who others trust as nexus of recommendations and references to “the good stuff.” Traditional media have considered themselves both best source and the only/best judge of sources, mainly by not giving anyone else access to their sources to verify, judge, or consider context. In this New Era, making sources available is not just “common,” it’s required.

  • Hi Adam – thanks for the mention 🙂

    I’d say you can build a business out of a group of trusted experts. In the media industry, Techcrunch is a good example of that.

    For a serious new news startup with many millions in funding, I think one of the most radical and high-potential strategies would be to hire the 20 top columnists and journalists from an existing news org (say the NYT). By creating a new cost structure around them (no big office, no high-interest debt, no huge expense accounts, few non-editorial staff etc etc), with no legacy issues, but immediately being able to trade off their personal legacy and audiences, you would kick-start a powerful news organisation.

    Keep up the great blogging 🙂