Hyperlocal news startup Fwix is one of the smart new breed of hyperlocal players finally making a go in a fabled yet long unprofitable space, and yet apparently story telling now extends to their latest payment idea.
According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, Fwix is "going where Google and other giants haven’t: sharing revenue with the people who write the news" by "agreeing to split revenue with the people who write the local information."
It gets better: from the CEO: “One of the things I want to change in the industry is how we pay people that are producing the content."
Yes, apparently this revenue sharing thing is new and radical, a massive shift in what has been done before, because revenue sharing is such a amazing idea that it has never been tried before.
Except that it's one of the oldest payment models in blogging and has been used by every one from two man blogs through to huge concerns for years. I should know, I was a co-founder of a VC backed blog network that was founded in 2005 exclusively on revenue sharing for...wait for it...bloggers.
The sarcasm aside and the obvious lack of research from the Wall Street Journal, the original Fwix release doesn't actually claim credit for revenue sharing. Somewhere between the release and the Wall Street Journal, the interesting part was overlooked until later in the article: Fwix's new AdWire service is not just rev sharing with their bloggers (nothing new), but with sites that embed their widgets and send them traffic as well.
I can't recall having previously seen rev share applied to people running widgets before, although widgets used for advertising purposes (with money changing hands) isn't new. I'd give a review of the widgets except for two things: Fwix has perhaps the most detail-less info pages I've ever seen for a service like this, and every site they claim is running the widgets don't show the widgets when I visit them. On the last point I'm thinking geotargeting, given there's a dirty great big blank space on The DailyKos where I'd presume there would normally be an ad...or in this case, the Fwix widget.
To be fair to Fwix, it's more likely that the Wall Street Journal is following in the proud tradition of its parent company with sloppy reporting, but likewise the record could have been corrected.