Tuesday, May 15, 2007

When Channels buy so-called authoritative information sources

Independent information agencies are essential for effective functioning of markets. A few years back, the financial services industry came under attack when information about investments (buy/sell ratings) were provided by brokers with particular slant. Imagine if Nielsen Media was owned by NBC or CBS (thankfully it is not the case!) or Nielsen/NetRatings were owned by Yahoo or MSN (again thankfully, it is not the case).

Amazon announced on May 14 that it has acquired dpreview.com--the web's most comprehensive site for digital camera information and reviews. The press release highlights the following:

“One of the difficulties of operating dpreview.com independently has been
the balance between producing content and delivering new site features,”
said Phil Askey, founder of dpreview.com. “Now, with the support of Amazon,
I’ll be able to devote more of my time to expanding and improving our
features – such as product reviews and discussion forums while still
delivering the high-quality content that our readers have come to expect.”

Dpreview.com offers in-depth reviews of the latest digital cameras and
accessories, active discussion forums, digital photography and imaging news,
sample images, a dynamic digital camera buyers’ guide, side-by-side
comparisons of the most popular models, and the web’s most comprehensive
database of digital camera features and specifications

It will be worth watching if the acquisition by Amazon creates any bias in terms of directing visitors (7 million unique visitors over 22 million sessions) to the dpreview.com site to buy digital cameras from Amazon.com at the expense of other sites. Or will dpreview.com continue to maintain its independence and authority? At least, we should be thankful that it is not being acquired by Nikon or Kodak.

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