The quality of online journalism has been dropping like a stone during the past decade. The main reason is websites trying to cut corners as a way to survive in a publishing landscape completely transformed by the Internet. Websites have lowered their standards regarding whom can write for them. This leads to such sad examples^ where armies of (mostly) amateur exploited writers generate a humongous amount of content, spamming the web and suffocating quality writing.
An even more worrying development is the so-called “rise of the robo-journalist”. The following article reveals how automated writing is on the rise. The quality of these machine-authored creations might increase, but will continue to lack soul (at least until we develop true AI^). Even more importantly, the low-quality articles spam will explode in quantity:
I will speak for myself and admit that sadly I do not contribute financially to any online publication. Even though I consider my contributions here as sufficient payment, I would still like to somehow contribute to the well-being of those online publications that I respect. But with every single one of these publications asking for monthly fees and my need to have at least fifteen different content sources, the expense becomes simply too large. However, I think there’s a way to fix that.
I believe we need a service similar to Audible, Spotify or Netflix, but for online publications. I’m sure very many people thought about the very same thing, but the timing when an idea reaches the market is critical. Is the market ready? Will the idea propagate explosively or will it fizzle and die out?
Later Edit: Apparently something does exist, and it’s called Blendle. Check www.blendle.com^ although it is currently still in Beta.
I’ll throw a spark out there. In order to see if this is the right time for such a service to exist, I have initiated a KickStarter campaign^ for creating a system that will provide online publishers with a share of what subscribers pay. The campaign should be seen as an opportunity assessment (part market analysis and part thought experiment).
In short, the system I envision is intended to work both like an “all you can eat” (a la Spotify & Netflix but with a tiered approach) and like a digital newsstand (for example like Valve’s game-related store, Steam). Compared to other similar services, the system will give a greater share back to authors because it will not be hosting any content by itself but simply act as a gateway back to the publication’s own website (which translates in reduced maintenance costs).
Codexia! Goodbye annoying ads, hello premium subscriptions!
Fun fact: the idea for Codexia came to me while writing this article. There was no campaign yet when I finished typing everything you just read. But as a software engineer and a product owner, I know the importance of sharing ideas with the possible market before doing anything concrete. It’s what opportunity assessments are for.
I knew this won’t be a huge commitment to begin with because I already planned to work in very small iterations. The start will be a micro-campaign draft that will perhaps improve during the coming weeks and maybe months before even daring to think about publicizing it.