The big news in the blog world today is the $2.75 million in funding received by Publish2, a startup founded by former GigaOM contributors Robert Young and Scott Karp. I wrote about the company quite some time ago and still have not seen a working prototype, a worrisome sign in my book.
One of the reasons the company is getting so much attention is that the funding came from Velocity Interactive Group, the fund that was created out of the ashes of Com Ventures and the Ross Levinsohn-Jon Miller investment vehicle previously known as Velocity. Just because VIG invested in the company doesn’t mean that Publish2 is a slam dunk, however. I have to wonder if Miller-Levinsohn were just itching to do a deal, any deal.
I’m not saying Publish2 is a bad idea. Karp and Young are very smart guys, much smarter than simple scribes like yours truly. But is it a big enough idea to command $2.75 million in Series A funding? Reading various blogs today, you get the sense that this is a Digg-type service for journalists. However great the product might be, that’s a small market — and thanks to the current downturn, it’s only going to get smaller. So while the concept may be sound, I have to wonder about the business potential.
9 thoughts on “Publish2 Gets $2.75 Million. For What, Exactly?”
I don’t know, Om – isn’t the idea that a more efficient system geared specifically toward journalists (who we inherently trust more than the average blogger) could possibly improve the chances of traditional media-folk surviving in a digital world?
I am not against the idea of Publish2, except it is not clear that the system is, and what/how they are going to change the game. I am all for helping traditional media use tools to survive, but are tools really the problem with the media today?
I think it’s one of the problems – it’s so hard to filter out spam and unqualified opinions when you’re looking for new information online.
Reading news on the internet used to be cool because there was a technical barrier to entry – now that it’s virtually gone I can’t seem to find new information without weeding through pages and pages of noise.
I finally gave up and just added 10 trusted sources to my feed reader (one of which is gigaom 🙂 ) – I might as well be subscribing to the paper (albeit a paper that is specifically tailored to news I’m interested in). That’s cool, but I’m missing one important piece of the puzzle – a good source of content discovery. All of the resources available right now, in my opinion, suck.
I don’t know if Publish2 is the answer, but I think it’s premature to write them off as irrelevant.
What newspapers need is not more “tools” or strategic “advice” from outsiders, but improved revenue generation from advertisers. They must convince those advertisers who normally place ads in their print product to also place ads on their websites.
You are spot on with your comment… which is consequently what we at Publish2 are in the process of developing… a new business model for news (which will be unveiled soon).
And Om, thank you for reserving judgment until you’ve had a chance to take a detailed look at our service… which will be very soon.