educational

Peering for Dollars: Part 2

Jason Tucker

This is part two of a two part series on "Profiting off a Napster Generation, Digital Rights Management, Geo-targeting and a Few Other Buzzwords You Should Know"

Take everything you know about what you have been doing and listen up. I want you to make money. A lot of technology firms and solution providers have a grasp on their technology, but more often than not, they lose the key piece of the proverbial puzzle: explaining how you can take what they are talking about and make money, not just spend it with them. They sometimes lose sight of the vertical they are attempting to service as they move from test to test to beta to release. They stand up and preach it to you, but they don't operate sites or manage content — so how could they truly know as well as someone who does?

Your job may be to run a company or guide its growth. Either way, if you sell anything online, technology should assist you in your efforts and allow you to focus on one thing only; marketing like this ultimately will result in sales. Let the tech geeks like me worry about tech stuff.

You should be aware and have an understanding of three high-tech buzzwords: "digital rights management (DRM)," "peer-to-peer (P2P)," and "geo-targeting." You should know these words and their definitions to the extent that you can profit from their collective application.

DRM is a grouping of tools designed to secure content. Think of it like a piece of candy that you can only eat when and how the rules tell you to. It provides you, the content owner, with the ability to place a "force field" around your content. When an end-user or the content licensor attempts to view the content, he or she must jump through the hoops that you have assigned to that content. Each time a user wishes to view that content, he or she has to check with the almighty Oz (you), and get a key. This electronic key is cleared in real time.

Confusing? Let us look at it another way. If that movie of yours I watched, the new song from Faith Hill that I downloaded from Gnutella, or the extended-footage clip of Blade II that I got from Limewire was "wrapped" like a piece of candy and linked to a set of rules that forced me, the viewer, to go pay or go click or go "do something" before I could watch it, the owner of the content would benefit from the exchange. Translation: Get paid. If the "do something" is managed effectively, the content owner could deliver a brand-building experience that I, the end user, would return for more of.

P2P networks are distributed platforms that allow computers to connect without a centralized server. You can deliver content symmetrically, vertically, horizontally, and lots of other ways without any loss of information. P2P has numerous benefits, which can include a reduction in bandwidth by offsetting the load that your content delivery network (CDN) carries by replacing it with a vast array of computers that are directly connected to one another. Similar in nature to ICQ or AOL Instant Messenger, you click on a friend, type a message, and hit send, and then it travels directly to them. When using a CDN, you must travel over fiber cable and wires; navigate a spaghetti like grouping of networks in the hope that it makes it across in the least amount of time. Point A to point B is still the fastest way to connect.

Geo-targeting is exactly what it implies: the ability to identify key pieces of information about an individual user or site including their geographic location. This is probably the most financially beneficial tool set to surface since Arpanet was developed. By identifying the location of a user (with over 90% accuracy), you can use that power to manipulate an experience. Where is it written that U.S. traffic likes the same things as German or Japanese traffic? A practical use for this information is realized when it is attached to a script that pushes a user towards transaction sequences or pages tailored for them.

To visualize this, imagine being in your loft in downtown Manhattan. You are surfing Gap.com and you are staring at a pair of jeans. You decide not to buy and leave, but the site, knowing where you are, pops up a console that says, "Hey, did you know that The Gap, located two blocks away on Fifth, has just reduced its price on jeans for you? Print this coupon and get 10% off!" You think that is cool, so you print it out and use the coupon. The site just turned an opportunity into an experience - a sale - and was provided with instant feedback.

Let us take that a step further. If you charge a subscription for your site, there probably are certain countries from which you will not take credit cards. Do not waste the time or bandwidth sending those foreign customers to a join form that will not process. Instead, send them to a solution that will work. Say the user is from Japan, and they are about to go to your transaction page. Instead, you send them to a dialer, and then after they exit, you serve them banners to high-converting sites for Japanese traffic in Japanese. Now you have micromanaged the process through automated systems designed to target the user, which in turn generates revenue. With new government regulations, you may be held accountable for whom you serve your content to. The ability to manipulate also allows you to block. I truly believe that peer-to peer technology is a revenue engine for content owners as opposed to the liability it has been perceived as.

Now that you are a well-versed technological guru, let us tie the three together while looking at the entertainment vertical as a whole.

In the competitive e-business world, we know that end-user traffic is key to success. Nielsen Netratings shows that end users are surfing an average of 45 sites in a month, which is up from only 20 sites six months ago. With the increase in properties and the ease of entry into the online space, sites are experiencing or are about to experience thinning traffic that may be attributed to the acceptance of peer-to-peer technology, more choice, and copyright theft.

The results have caused great concern as content producers and Webmasters seek out alternative solutions. We have that solution, and it is available to you today. It's called Digital Rights Management, and our firm can get that going instantly. I am more interested in letting you know that you can take it a step further. I truly believe that peer-to peer technology is a revenue engine for content owners as opposed to the liability it has been perceived as. When coupled with a geo-targeting piece, you begin to find a really cool set of tools that actually pay for themselves, quickly.

I believe in end-to-end products that leverage multiple technologies to service a single function. In this case, to provide content producers and those who syndicate content with an immediate tool set to overcome issues and enhance revenue without affecting core business. This also benefits the end user, because he or she ends up with more access to content.

The reality of it all is simple to see: Technology will continue to infuse itself into the fabric of our day-to-day lives, and this pattern will result in a need for increased micro-payment models and the micro- and targeted geo-management of traffic. Couple a Digital Rights Management piece with a creative marketing solution, chase it with a geo shot, and you have a big corner-section piece of what might be a confusing puzzle, completed.

I share all of this with you in the hope that you remember that you should covet all that you hold dear, protect it with all that is available, and then in true capitalist fashion, exploit it for cold, hard cash.

About Playa Solutions
Playa Solutions (http://www.playasolutions.com), represents a company that fuses seasoned management with a business model that has been created to minimize risk and maximize revenue potential for various types of online properties. In addition to providing direct and professional services, the Company's end-to-end solutions increase web traffic, protect content and generate additional revenue streams. Acting as a conduit between properties and concepts, technology and the adult and mainstream verticals, Playa serves as an infomediary that is firmly rooted in the belief that creating and serving the end user is paramount to success and begins by augmenting existing technologies and marketing efforts.

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