Aftonbladet also shuts down blogs

I had barely posted my latest blog post about how Expressen had decided to stop hosting blogs, before I read on DagensMedia.se that the other Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet is doing the same. Aftonbladet has two types of blogs – blogs by the editorial staff and blogs that readers publish. It is the latter group that is being shut down because they are unprofitable.

Reader blogs will be taken offline on June 30, so bloggers will have to move their content elsewhere if they want to keep it online. As noted in my previous post, Aftonbladet recently added the ability to export the content to WordPress.

In other words, three large Swedish newspapers have either decided to shut down our outsource the hosting of readers blogs, in the last three months. What will that mean for blogging in Sweden? Not much, I guess. There are plenty of good options and I would suspect that many of the active “newspaper bloggers” will continue to blog, either take their content to a new platform or start fresh with a new blog.

Expressen stops hosting blogs

expressen-blogIn February, the free Swedish daily Metro said it would shut down all of the thousands of blogs they hade been hosting since 2007. Metro eventually found a solution to keep the blogs running and move them to a new platform (WordPress). Today another Swedish newspaper, the tabloid Expressen, announced they would stop hosting blogs. All blogs except a few reader blogs Expressen considered “worth keeping”, and the blogs of its own journalists, will be shut down.

– Our blogging platform is lacking in functionality, we have been focusing on other things and we are now offering our bloggers to move over to other platforms. We do not have the resources to keep the blogging platform running, says Mattias Carlsson, editor in chief, digital media at Expressen (my translation).

It’s not surprising that newspapers have a hard time competing with other blogging platforms and the question is how long Aftonbladet will continue to host blogs. Since April 2011, bloggers have the ability to export their Aftonbladet blogs to WordPress. Maybe it is a sign of what’s to come?

Footnote: Here’s how Expressen presented the initiative as a success after it launched (in Swedish).

AP: “Obama bin Laden killed”

It was probably inevitable that some news organizations would get the Obama/Osama names mixed up, but I didn’t expect it to be the Associated Press. In a news story that was published early this morning, AP says in a photo caption (my bold):

“Crowds climb trees and celebrate in Lafayette Park early Monday, May 2, 2011, in front of the White House in Washington after President Barack Obama announced that Obama bin Laden had been killed. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)”

The text has since then been republished by news outlets such as the Washington Post, the Denver Post and Independent Mail.

obama bin laden

Update: Fox News made a similar mistake, see photo here: http://twitpic.com/4s76an

Metro promises to save blogs from deletion

I blogged earlier this week about how Metro had decided to shut down its blogging platform Metrobloggen.se, leaving thousands of bloggers with no other option than to cut and paste, if they wanted to move their content to some other platform. In a statement, Metro now says it is going to “save” all blogs from deletion. My translation below:

“Metro will soon, and well before April 25, offer all bloggers on Metrobloggen the ability to continue blogging. Current content will also be saved. We will get back with further information shortly.”

I think that Metro could have investigated this before they communicated that the platform was being closed. This new statement comes just a few days after the first one. Still, we don’t know if they are offering some tool that enables exporting of content or if they just offer to save the content as is. Either way, it is positive news that they will help bloggers to keep their blogs up in some form.

Metro pulls the plug on thousands of blogs

The Swedish free daily newspaper Metro has been hosting blogs on its blogging platform Metrobloggen.se since 2007. Back then it was described as an immediate success, with more than 2,000 registered blogs during its first 36 hours of operation. The original idea was to share advertising revenue with bloggers, but that model was soon ditched. And apparently the blogs have not generated enough revenue to keep the platform running, because Metro announced today that it is shutting down the service on April 25.

Metrobloggen.se is currently home to at least 10,000 blogs, possibly a lot more. Many are of course no longer active, but Metro’s decision comes as a blow to many bloggers who are left with no help in transferring to a new host. In a note today, Metro says:

“You can continue to blog on Metrobloggen as usual until April 25. After that date, the site can no longer be accessed and no content will be available or saved any longer.

Up until April 25, you can manually or in other ways save your content. Metrobloggen can unfortunetely not provide any tools or help in order to automatically copy your content.”

Exporting content to another blog platform

I do not oppose the closing down of this platform per se, I am sure they have looked into the business model and found that it doesn’t make good business sense to continue. But it’s sad that they offer no help for the bloggers who have generated millions of page views and ad impressions. Metro could have come up with some means to export the content and easily transfer it to another blogging platform. Many bloggers will probably not bother to copy and paste every single blog post and move it elsewhere.

WordPress has an RSS importer for self hosted blogs, but I haven’t tried how it works and most of the bloggers at Metrobloggen probably are looking for easier solutions like blogg.se or blogger.com.

Metro says they are working on a solution, but they say there is no guarantee they will find one before they close the site down.

Update: Ted Valentin has developed a solution to help bloggers export their blogs from Metrobloggen to Blogger or WordPress. Check it out here.

UK newspapers can charge for links, says High Court

The British newspaper industry is fighting tooth and nail to stop commercial services from aggregating links to newspaper content for free. In January 2010, The National Licensing Agency (NLA), which is owned by eight newspaper publishers in the UK, started charging sites that link to newspaper’s online articles as part of their paid-for services.

Today the High Court in the UK ruled in favour of the National Licensing Agency in the case against Meltwater. The Court concluded that aggregated web links taken from newspaper websites are protected by copyright law.

Separate Copyright Tribunal proceedings on the matter are expected to take place in February 2011.

Full story on the Press Gazette.