Protect the ownership of your Content and your Data!

Prevent digital sharecropping!

Stefania Fornasier
Content Marketing Manager @ THRON

There is a threat that involves all companies with an online presence. It is called “sharecropping”. You can protect yourself against it, like in a video game. However, we have to choose the best tools from among those that are placed at our disposal.

  • A centralized archive that you have control over where you can place all your content
  • Intelligence
  • Archive integrated delivery

 Before joining the game live, let’s start out with a real-life anecdote.

A Lifetime Renting

In my city, there was a historic building. It wasn’t just the building that was historic, but also the shop that it was home to. It was a point of reference. My best friend’s mom would meet her friends in front of the city’s most famous record shop where, almost 20 years later, we would arrange to meet on a Saturday afternoon. Two floors full of CDs, LPs, books on music, singers’ calendars, etc. It was always full of people until, a few years ago, it closed its doors to the public.

If you are asking yourselves why, it was because of the rent. The building’s rooms that played host to the shop were rented. If the owner decided that the rent would triple, the shop would have had to triple its turnover, or close.

At a time when digital technology was imposing itself, between MP3 players, iTunes and so much illegal burning, they couldn’t manage it. They didn’t manage it.

This is not just an anecdote from 10 years ago that I wanted to tell. It is a real-life example of what could happen to us online from one day to the next. When we create a website, open an e-commerce store or, especially, a social media profile on a platform that we don’t own, we are not in our own territory.

We have established a contract with a sharecropper: one who can change the contract’s conditions whenever they want. They can kick us out. As though that weren’t enough, it’s as though we were handing over the ownership of the content we publish. In a worst-case scenario, this includes the contacts we make.


What is Sharecropping and what problems does it involve

It is the phenomenon of sharecropping. The sharecropper is the one who gave us their land to cultivate, only to keep part of the harvest. Today, modern sharecroppers are the large digital platforms where we create our websites and our profiles. WordPress, Facebook, Google, to mention but a few.

If we carry out lead generation on WordPress, the contacts obtained are ours, even if the platform decides to “throw us out”. Where will our customers come to find us though? And what will become of all those contacts if it is the CRM that closes instead?

We would find ourselves without a point of reference for them anymore. The same goes for the company. It is even harder with social networks, closed systems that hardly give you the data you collect. The most skeptical don’t hesitate in saying that you do the work, while they reap the benefits. If they decide to change the rules of the game, you are cut out.


How to protect yourself from Digital Sharecropping


You need the right tools.

An archive of content under the direct control of the company that produces it, allows you to

  • Avoid losing it, should the platform be closed or blocked.
  • Avoid losing data relating to its use on behalf of users.
  • Avoid losing user data (by integrating the archive with the CRM system, customer and user names and email addresses will be shared).

Obviously, having a content archive is not enough, because we should also publish it somehow. Here, the need for delivery is explained. With this, for example, you can publish the images on my website, but you can remove them whenever you want. Should the website be closed, the image remains in my archive, alongside all the data that tell us how many users viewed it, how much and how. To have owned data, Intelligence is needed instead. Not Google’s or Facebook’s analytics, but a Content Intelligence platform. Thanks to this, the data on how users look at a piece of content are linked to the content itself (which is housed in the archive) and not on the third-person platform!

We cannot prevent the cost of hosting from increasing, or them deciding to block our page, apart from following the rules of good conduct. If the rules change, however, we could find ourselves in difficulty.

The Intelligent DAM is an excellent form of prevention, as well as being a streamlined tool to manage content easily and improve the performances of our online channels.