That Word, Syndication, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means

Jon Udell, Jon's Radio, May 12, 2008
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This issue comes up on a regular basis, but it's so obscure it's really hard to get people excited about it. But it's really important: it's the difference between (open) syndication networks, and (closed) federations. Why is this distinction important? In the case of syndication, data exchange is open and automatic. But in a federation, you must first negotiate a business relationship. This leads to the formation of cartels and closed markets. Which is exactly what you want to create if (for example) you want to force people to pay money for (what would otherwise be) free content.
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