As Shafqat at NewsCred notes on his blog, these two differences are pretty important, and I would argue that the Guardian has really put its money where its mouth is in terms of turning its paper into a platform (to use the title of a blog post I wrote when the NYT came out with its open API). Not to denigrate what the Times has done at all, mind you — an API of any kind is a huge leap, and one that many newspapers likely wouldn’t have the guts to take, limits or no limits. But to provide full-text access to all Guardian news articles going back to 1999, and to allow all of this data and more to be used in profit-making ventures as well, takes the whole effort to another level entirely.
(read the rest of this post at the Nieman Journalism Lab blog)
In effect, Rafat has built something that in an earlier time would have been a magazine — a trade mag perhaps, not unlike something Ziff-Davis or CMP would have owned. But he was able to do it substantially cheaper and faster, and I would argue that the entity he created is infinitely more flexible and adaptable than any printed magazine (and when I say that he did it quickly and easily, obviously it took years of hard work and vision by Rafat). Kudos to him and the rest of the team. Jemima Kiss at the Guardian, who knows Rafat well and has written for PaidContent, has some more on the deal. PaidContent will become part of the trade-press and professional services division of Guardian Media. My friend Om Malik has some worthwhile thoughts on the deal as well.
Kara says she’s been asking around to see who else in the online space might get snapped up, and apparently TechCrunch has been talking to AOL about a deal in the $20-million to $30-million range. I’ve got an email in to Mike Arrington to see if he has any comment.