Niche sites striking content deals with portals?

Paid Content’s David Kaplan says specialized bloggers and aggregators are creating syndication deals with content-starved portals like MSN, AOL and Yahoo (but not Google?). It’s an interesting piece. Here’s a snip:

“Not too long ago, small time content sites would have been happy for just brief attention from major portals. But now, the drive to deliver more varied content has led to syndication and ad-sharing deals that rarely demand exclusivity on the part of largely unknown providers.”

Kaplan summarizes a Nov. 12 article by WSJ reporter Emily Steel titled, “Portals think small for latest news. (Here is a link; the article was in the clear when I read it this morning but I’m not sure it stays visible.)

Here are a few thoughts from the WSJ article: the “poster child” for the niche site with portal deals is ” . . . an obscure provider of financial news.” The Journal said other content providers with similar deals includes, “financial sites such as Seeking Alpha and the Simple Dollar, real-estate site Zillow and celebrity photo site X17online.”

The Journal says:

“Big Internet companies such as MSN and Yahoo have small teams whose job it is to “discover” these smaller sites before their competition does. They scan the Web, attend industry conferences and hobnob with start-ups to get names of talented but obscure content providers.”

The Journal names some of these content-buyers: Marty Moe, vice president and general manager for AOL Money & Finance and Mark Interrante, general manager of Yahoo Finance. One other encouraging note for niche publishers looking for a syndication deal. The Journal says:

“In the past, the big Internet companies traditionally demanded some window of exclusivity with smaller content providers. Today, the big sites will often not only give the smaller sites a portion of the ad revenue but also allow them to work with other companies. “The notion of exclusivity is gone,” says David Liu, a senior vice president at Time Warner’s AOL unit.”