Monday, February 19, 2007

News Corp rolls out first netus play: a blog network called Allure

netus, the News Corporation-backed venture capital firm about which I have blogged before, is about to get rolling with its first launched company, Allure Media. Philip Sim has the scoop over at his blog Squash which reprints about half of a story posted on Phil's MediaConnect/ITJourno portal for Australian IT public relations practitioners and journalists.

In short, as I have had it told to me by those who have heard the pitch, netus' strategy is to copy the business model of five successful American Web 2.0 companies and launch local versions for the Australian marketplace. netus has A$40 million in the kitty, and a targeted 100% success rate. After Allure, I presume we'll see green-and-gold-themed clones of four out of the following: Technorati, Wordpress, Digg,, delicious, Netvibes and Flickr. Allure Media appears to be their copy of Gawker Media, a parallel made all the more stark because Allure is licensing Gawker content.

After the cut Phil makes on his snippet, the ITJ piece (which I have access to) goes on to question Allure MD Chris Janz about whether it makes sense to have a localised version of a blog. Janz tries his best to justify netus's decision, but I think the idea is weird. Much of the Australian journalism industry, especially in magazines, is built on localisation of US content but in an Internet context it is hard to understand how anyone would think that people would not go directly to the original source. Aren't blogs about bypassing the gatekeeper function of MSM? Why would readers put up with a gatekeeper filtering content based on their own prejudices of what Allure's demographic is supposed to be, when they can get the unedited version at Gawker sites? This might make a little bit of sense if we were talking about an old MSM masthead which had trusted brand recognition, but no one knows Allure or any of its brands.

The whole netus affair reeks of News Limited desperately trying to feed off the energy and hunger of a lean startup, while retaining oversight control and middle management overheads. It's not going to work. At least, not unless the netus people learn that A$8 million can get burned pretty damn quick in Surry Hills.



Anonymous Phillip Molly Malone said...

There is only one topic in Australia worth doing a Digg Clone of and that is AFL footy and you can find the site at!

Anything else is over kill!


11:47 am, February 20, 2007  
Blogger Laurel Papworth said...

I started up some "american web 2.0 clone" sites for about $10 bucks. How much should I sell them for? *blinks dollar signs* $$$$$$$ Love Laurel
*waves to Molly*

1:52 pm, November 22, 2007  

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