In a Buzzfeed blog post, founder and CEO Jonah Peretti detailed BuzzFeed’s 2020 plans. And the most notable element of that plan is its declaration that it’s “building the switchboard for culture and commerce.”

Building the what?

It wouldn’t be BuzzFeed without buzzwords. BuzzFeed plans to solve a “longstanding problem in the media industry” in which content creators “provide the inspiration” to purchase a new product, but Google and “other middlemen” end up capturing the economic value.

Got an example?

You betcha. If you read this article on Buzzfeed, 13 Useful Tips To Know Before Traveling to Spain, and were informed, educated, and inspired to book a certain hotel, airline, restaurant reservation, etc — you’d likely wind up buying the flight, for example, through Google Flights or Expedia.

BuzzFeed wouldn’t see a penny. That annoyed Peretti enough that he made a pretty-ish graphic to illustrate the current way things work:

The Old Model

“The two most important players in this chain are the publisher [Buzzfeed] who inspired a consumer to take action and the companies that actually deliver the product [The airline, hotel, etc],” Peretti wrote. “But most of the profit is captured by digital middlemen [Google and Expedia in this case] who didn’t create much value.”
Peretti doesn’t think that’s fair and rather than pout about it, he’s planning to
create a new ecosystem in 2020 that works like so:
Buzzfeed's Plan

How? By forming direct partnerships with airlines, hotels, and other brands, such as the recent plant subscription service BuzzFeed launched in partnership with Miracle-Gro. BuzzFeed is currently working with online marketplaces and product companies to get them going direct-to-consumer. Peretti says this model will be beneficial for all content companies, particularly digitally native ones.

Will it work? Time will tell. But one thing’s for sure: Google could do with a little less.

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