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What Matters to You?

Since our purchase of One Degree in May, we’ve been talking about how we want to evolve the site and the community.  But while we have some (no doubt) great ideas, it’s your thoughts and opinions that matter the most.  After all .. we want to serve your needs.  So, I’d like to ask you a few questions over the next few weeks – to try to understand what you value about One Degree and what we could do to make it better.  I posted this question over on our Facebook group … well, more like "What do you love about One Degree" and "What do you hate about One Degree".  We got some good answers!  But I’d like to get a little more specific.

So, today’s question is about the kind of content you expect from One Degree.  Specifically, do you expect to find content here that hasn’t been published somewhere else?  Or, do you see One Degree as providing more of an editorial/aggregation function and you don’t really care if it’s been published on another blog or online mag?

Here’s the context: I have recently been asking our fabulous contributors for exclusivity, i.e. that they don’t cross-post the same article to their own blogs.  Or, if they do, then give One Degree seven days of exclusivity.  So that our readers get to see it first, but then it is subsequently archived on their site as well – so that they can benefit from search results and ensure that the content will never disappear.
Some contributors have been OK with this and others have expressed some concerns which I can totally appreciate.  These concerns evolved into conversations about the expectations our readers have of our content.
So, I thought the best thing to do is ask! 

Readers: do you expect exclusive (and of course, high quality) content here on One Degree?  Or could you care less .. you just want great content and are happy to let us do the work of finding it and delivering it?
Please leave a comment with your thoughts.  Or, if you would rather, you can email me privately at kate AT onedegree DOT ca.  We really do want to know what you think, so please take a moment to share your preferences.


  1. ty
    ty August 20, 2007

    aggregration is fine for me, it is one stop shopping that i am after and one degree has been one of my home pages, read daily for probably a year now. i didn’t sign up for push, i like coming here, i feel connected to the community and can dig deeper if something inspires me. the fact the contributors are willing to contribute, which generally results in my being better informed and certainly stoked about some of the possibilities in online marketing, well – if it isn’t broke…i see no value in exclusivity. you had me at hello.
    ps. it has been a smooth transition, Kate — congrats.

  2. Barry Martin
    Barry Martin August 20, 2007

    Since you asked, I’ve always felt that One Degree had a certain insider cache. A kind of Canadian (less sensational?…) way for focussed, passionate professionals to share insights and experiences from their niches and trenches.
    Contributions have weight here because they don’t come across as blatant marketing–none of us need that. And while we’d all like to help each other get ahead, a community loses credibility pretty quickly when members post solely for link traffic.
    I guess as long as long as taking away the exclusivity doesn’t change the climate, I’m ok with it. But that is certainly a defining characteristic for me.

  3. Nancy Houle
    Nancy Houle August 20, 2007

    It really depends what your business model is and what your objectives are in relation to your business model: Does want to :
    1) be a leading source of unique content
    2) be a leading source of distributing relevant content to this specific online marketing community
    3) build a bigger online marketing community
    4) build a website with unique seo friendly unique content
    In my humble opinion, I think news is news. Relevant content is relevant content. I choose the chanel I want it from. So, as a reader, the content doesn’t have to be unique to the website, I just have to like the source I’m reading it from.
    I don’t think you need to demand exclusivity from all of your authors – yet. I would suggest that you build an “exclusive” section and set up the guidelines for the “exclusive” authors that contribute to this “new and very privileged section.”
    You’ll attract new and original content without taxing your current resources.

  4. Joseph Thornley
    Joseph Thornley August 20, 2007

    Hi Kate,
    Exclusivity absolutely. I think that most people find that they have to manage their feed subscriptions to a reasonable level. The quickest way for a feed to end on the cutting floor for me is if I find that it is duplicating a lot of content coming in from the writers’ primary feeds.
    What’s in it for the writers to give you exclusive content? Well, if I discover an intelligent, interesting new voice on One Degree, you can be sure that I will click over to her/his primary blog and subscribe to their principal feed.
    So, exclusivity is a win for your readers and a win for your writers.
    Thanks for asking.

  5. Stefan Eyram
    Stefan Eyram August 20, 2007

    As a reader of One Degree I want both exclusive AND aggregated content that is relevant to Canadian online marketers.
    I subscribe to many email newsletters and feeds but find most of these are from the US. Getting the relevant stuff through One Degree, and with a bit of added commentary on how it relates to Canada, would be the ideal.
    If some of the content is exclsuive (even for a week) that would be a great way to ensure I check out One Degree first.
    I look forward to the growth of One Degree as you make more and more changes.

  6. Jane
    Jane August 20, 2007

    Hi Kate – You are right to ask for exclusivity and I would hope that some (most?) of your content contributors would get why. Features like 1.5 Question, Five Questions and the Ask a Marketer make this blog great, but industry leaders providing you with the gold that they don’t post anywhere else would be sweet.
    My 2 cents,

  7. Kate
    Kate August 21, 2007

    Such great feedback – thank you so much for taking the time (and to those of you who emailed me privately as well!) You’ve given me some things to think about; I really am thrilled to hear from all of you.
    ty .. one of the best things you can say is “i like coming here”. Thank you!
    Barry .. I agree. One of the aspects of OD that I love is it’s unique Canadian perspective. We have so many great stories to tell and share!
    Nancy .. thank you. Your questions are questions that I spend nights pondering. Nicely put. And I like your idea of an “exclusive section”.
    Joe .. a fellow feed-reader junkie! I’ve had to be really careful about not colouring every decision about OD based on my penchant for feeds 🙂 That being said, I agree with you on the win/win.
    Stefan .. that was precisely my thinking around the exclusivity. I’d like OD to be the place people check first. Thanks for your comments!
    Jane .. thank you so for your 2 cents (worth much more!!)

  8. Monique
    Monique August 23, 2007

    I think it’s ok to aggregate certain content, if there’s something awesome out there, I want One Degree to be my trusted source. Filter the best content.
    At the same time, I do want you to be more than that. I want original content and I think you stand apart by generating content.
    I personal think it is advantageous for contributors to cross-reference their One Degree posts with their own blogs.
    Your interest is in having new readers (who are regular readers of the individual contributors) discover One Degree. Why not have an arrangement about if a cross-posting is done, the One Degree logo is included with a link to that direct article. Maybe you have a clever tagline with the logo that is the call to action for new readers to check out One Degree.

  9. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth August 24, 2007

    Hi Kate:
    VERY smart of you to ask what people want.
    Aggregated is fine with me. You may wish to consider “embargoing” new content for 24 hours. That way One Degree gets the exclusive first and the contributor can re-prupose the contnet elsewhere.
    In the comments camp:
    I used to look to One Degree as my first read in the morning, over the past months or two this has shifted as the value of the content on One Degree has been spotty frankly. I wonder if in the transition of ownership, might your contributors have felt lost in the shuffle. Might they need some relationship management?
    In the what I want camp:
    I’d like one degree to:
    – return to being my “first read”
    – provide a compendium of revenue models WITH formulas and calcultions (becuase from where I’ve searched no one else offers this including the IAB, CMA, AIMS etc.)and its updated regularly as new revenue models and ad sizes/formats emerge.
    – benchmarks on CPM’s
    All the best

  10. Bill Sweetman
    Bill Sweetman August 26, 2007

    Hmmm, very interesting. Kudos to Kate for asking the One Degree readership.
    By my count, so far, it looks like the ‘score’ is:
    Aggregated Content: 3 votes
    Exclusive Content: 2 votes
    Doesn’t Matter / Neutral: 3 votes
    Of course this doesn’t take into accounts any emails that Kate got regarding this.
    As a long-time One Degree contributor, the question I have for readers is a bit more pointed:
    Do you want far fewer (and maybe even no) *exclusive* posts from Bill Sweetman on One Degree, or are you OK with weekly posts by me on One Degree that also appear in my own blog?
    I’m of the opinion that you, the reader, would prefer to have me contribute more frequently, regardless of whether or not the content also appears on my own blog.
    Over to you, dear readers… What do you think?

  11. Simon Rodrigue
    Simon Rodrigue August 27, 2007

    What I am looking for at onedegree is for it to be “the source” for eCom and Interactive Marketing in Canada. I don’t really understand how exclusivity requirements could help achieve this or add value for your readers. In fact making onedegree the place where people want to post in addition to their blogs could only make it more successful and have more contributors.
    Asking for exclusivity is a play to add value from an ownership perspective not for the readers. I’d much rather have Bill and others posting here than people not sharing ideas and thoughts because of onedegree’s requirement to have ownership over distribution (even if it is only for a short time).

  12. Kate Trgovac
    Kate Trgovac August 27, 2007

    Excellent, more feedback!
    Monique .. yes, trusted filter is a good role for us. And I like the idea of the cross-post credit. We’ve been toying with that as a possibility.
    Elizabeth … yes, the “embargoing” is what we meant my limited time exclusivity. Thank you for your feedback on the overall recent content of One Degree as well. Usual excuses of summertime aside, your point about relationship management is a good one and certainly needs to happen more often. In fact, it was one of the reasons that prompted this question. A large number of our original contributors now have their own blogs and are devoting their writing cycles to care for them. If OD has exclusivity requirements, they may not post here (see Bill’s comment) and I need to devote my time to finding new contributors; if OD doesn’t have those, we can aggregate freely and more time is spent on fostering longer-term relationships.
    Regarding your wishlist (and I plan to have a small survey about this), I too would like OD to be your first read and we hope to earn that back. Also, I invite you to become a contributor! We’ve added several new voices recently and I hope to see that continue. As for the other two .. the revenue-model content isn’t really on my radar; my guess would be that it would take some substantial resources and with OD being a no-fee content source, we simply do not have those resources. As for CPM benchmarks, I’m surprised that the IAB doesn’t have something like that – maybe a joint project?
    Bill .. I received half a dozen emails, the split being along the same lines. Interestingly, your comment is the only one (publicly) from a contributor; I have privately had other contributors weigh in on both sides. Some feel the temporary exclusivity is a bonus; others feel it is problematic from a time perspective.
    Simon .. thanks for weighing in! I disagree with your assertion that exclusivity is a play from an ownership perspective, at least solely. While I certainly want to build the brand of One Degree into something valued by the community, I also viewed the exclusivity as something of a service. For example, I have over 30 Canadian blogs in my feed reader. A fair number of them have contributed to One Degree over the course of time. Reading my OD feed and then opening even 1/4 of those feeds to find cross-postings I have already read is time that could be better spent. But, I know that not everyone uses feeds or has this issue – which is one reason I asked the question.
    There is an example I would like to share of my ideal situation. It is the way that Mack Collier of the Viral Garden (his own blog) promotes his articles on Marketing Profs (an online marketing blog/magazine) . For example, he recently wrote a detailed article called “Eight Easy Ways to Grow Your Blog” for Marketing Profs. However, he “outlines” it on his blog (listing the 8 steps) and then gives you a reason to go to Marketing Profs (for the detailed action plan). I really like this model because the value is distributed across personal blog and aggregator blog and, if you read both, it’s not duplicate content.
    However, I acknowledge that this is more work than straight cross-posting – one of the reasons that some contributors balk.
    The Full Article:
    His Outline On His Blog:

  13. miro slodki
    miro slodki August 28, 2007

    I think the benefit of this site is the community and with that the expression of opinions on subjects of interest.
    To be honest – sometimes I find the content to be pedantic and want to reach through my screen and say – yeah whaty about this issue raised by so and so on some other site, article, blog, newstory…
    A perfectly valid community model would have both exclusive content and current content.
    I really get much greater value in reading other peoples opinions because of the additional perspectives – so my vote would be to take whatever content you can get – but lets get some dialogue and debate going otherwise this is will only be a few people talking to themselves.
    My $0.02

  14. Mitch Joel
    Mitch Joel August 28, 2007

    This post definitely lit a fire under my belly.
    First, I MUST start contributing again (and more) to One Degree. It’s a staple in my Feeds and a place I’ve come to expect to be the hub of what Digital Marketing people are thinking in Canada (along with some other Blogs 😉
    I’m really against cross-posting. I’m also going to be transparent here and say that I’ve been guilty of doing it in the past.
    I think a Blogger with a strong style can take a concept and write a quick original post for One Degree and use their own Blog to either expand on it (add colour) or give a brief overview and link them over here.
    It’s also easy to just put something unique here and something unique on their own Blog. I see no real benefit of cross posting at this point in the Blogosphere. If I love Kate Trgovac (and who doesn’t?), I want to get my Kate fix over at My Name Is Kate and here as well. I see no added value in having the same post in two places (so, I’m agreeing with Joseph Thornley).
    I think the biggest thing is to not get trapped by using traditional print media terms like “exclusive” and “embargo.” The Blog world is about quick, short and fast brain blasts.
    Great writers have tons of material. I would encourage all contributors to Blog for One Degree (and the One Degree readers) when posting here and Blog for themselves on their respective Blogs.
    I personally have too many feeds, but I love the Bloggers I follow, and if they can add value here AND on their own Blogs… all the better.
    I’m against cross-posting, but all for more (and original) postings from the Bloggers I love.

  15. Sean Moffitt6
    Sean Moffitt6 August 29, 2007

    I’m late on this one but here goes:
    – exclusivity > free for all : normally I don’t choose this option, but this is the best of canada with a distinct voice
    – if you want more populist feel, establish a meritocratic hierarchy – if people are super-zealous about posting with no pedigree, get a trial post and evaluate based on a panel of their peers
    – cross-posting: I agree with Mitch and Joe, there is plenty enough fodder for good blog content and it doesn’t need to read like Joyce – if you can’t afford 1/2 hour of good unique blog fodder once every so often, you’d have to question the enthusiasm for contributing to begin
    – love the 5-7 questions format
    – need to hear from more different voices, perhaps even voices we’re not used to hearing from, including Quebec, there is some incredible unique stuff going on in the Belle Province
    – create a circle of friends – 100 respected people taking polls and providing an ongoing pulse for what’s going on in their worlds
    – a live meetup/conference may cement relationships
    – some regular weekly piece you can count on as a regular stop – The Tuesday New Campaigns Alerts, The Thursday 5 Questions With
    – a provocative manifesto that says this is who we are, take it or leave it
    – more visuals, screenshots – we are quickly leaving the static word behind and replacing with static and dynamic visuals

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