John Pettitt is the founder and CEO of Repost, a content syndication platform that allows you to easily republish content without it losing attribution, advertising and more. A veteran of the tech space, John has successfully lead two companies into an IPO, including CyberSource which was acquired by Visa for $2 billion.
What makes Repost a great tool for content creators?
Repost means you don’t have to create all the content yourself, and your original content can serve you beyond your own site generating audience and revenue. There is a very clear relationship between posting more and getting more traffic. In fact, traffic scales pretty linearly with the number of posts you make. Repost gives you a way of adding more content easily and quickly. Some examples – a hyperlocal site could add movie reviews from Fandango or a news site could add analysis from the Christian Science Monitor or The Economist. Sports sites can add national coverage from Fox Sports, SB Nation, FanIQ, and Bloomberg Sports.
On the outbound side, the best ad for your content is your content. Every time somebody embeds one of your articles it generates ad revenue, traffic, and brand exposure. Readers of embedded articles are 95%+ new to that publisher’s content. Where else can you get that exposure and great CTR’s with an asset you’ve already paid for?
One issue that people may have with reposting content is the issue of duplicate content, and its potential effect on SEO. How does Repost combat this, and what have your findings been so far across thousands of publishers?
We’ve not had any reports from publishers of negative SEO related to Repost, and we don’t expect to. When we designed Repost, we intentionally constructed the embed code so that it contains the title of the article linked back to the original as an inbound, “do follow” link.
However, the embed doesn’t contain the full article text; that’s loaded by our script in an iframe. Right now the search engines are not running our script so they don’t even see full content. If and when they do run our script, they will find the iframe has both a meta “no-index” and a canonical header to ensure that the content is not seen a duplicative.
Today, most online publishers make their money through advertising. Do you see that model staying the same, or will it evolve? If so, how do you see it evolving?
That’s a hard one to answer. Display advertising is still king, and we’re seeing publishers with strong RP/M’s from display where they have a good audience demographic. We’re watching closely the “native” ad space, our technology is ideally suited to delivering native ads and content marketing. Because our embeds reformat automatically, update in real time, and allow publishers/marketers to attach their own analytics tags, it opens up some opportunities for real creativity.
We’re also seeing a lot of publishers embracing or at least flirting with paywalls and subscriptions. The thing about paywalls is that the best ad for your content is your content, but when you wall it off, you lose that benefit. We have a few paywalled publications in the Repost system who are selectively syndicating content to drive audience acquisition. We regularly see 5% CTR from embedded articles back to the originating site, and one publisher averaged 11% over a three month period.
You’ve been involved in a lot of major technology companies, including BitTorrent and CyberSource which was acquired by Visa for $2 billion. What technologies are you keeping an eye on? What’s “the next big thing” in your opinion?
The next big thing? Well that’s the 64-billion-dollar question: look to science fiction for ideas. Seriously, pretty much every blockbuster product has appeared in science fiction way before the technology allowed its actual creation: computers you can talk to, tablets, and ubiquitous mobile communication using smart, location aware, devices. Wearable looks interesting although I’m skeptical about Google Glass. I suspect (showing my age) it’s the Lisa or Alto of wearable computing.
Great startups do one of two things: they solve a problem you didn’t know you had, or they solve an old problem in a radically new way. Closer to home, and not so much about technology per se as the social issues surrounding technology, I’m a pretty active supporter of EFF (the Electronic Frontier Foundation). I’m on their fundraising advisory board, and my foundation is a regular donor. They do amazing work protecting all our online rights and deserve way more recognition and funding than they get.
Where can people learn more about you?
You can find more about Repost at http://www.repost.us/, and I blog about technology and security on my personal site at http://p.tt/. My professional bio is on Linkedin at http://www.linkedin.com/in/johnpettitt/.