In stark (and deliberate) contrast to the official raising of their competitor's paywall, the Guardian has launched a free syndication service for website owners running the popular Wordpress system. The Guardian News Feed plug-in allows users to search for and embed whole Guardian articles on their own sites. Adverts will be embedded within the Guardian blog posts hosted on other sites to build a global ad network, but bloggers will keep any revenue generated on their own sites from the ads. In a press release, the system is touted as the first-ever full article news feed plug-in released by a major publisher.
The WordPress plugin is a product of the Guardian Open Platform, which was first covered on Editors Weblog in May 2009. Unlike the NYTimes syndication system, the Guardian permits commercial use and multiple tiers of license options. In an interview with Journalism.co.uk, Matt McAlister, head of developer network at Guardian Media Group said that:
"What this does is allow you to publish entire articles in a really simple way (...) or perhaps if you're a very active blogger you may want to use it to supplement what you publish. We have a lot of great coverage, and it might be useful to publish Guardian articles where we have reporting that you like on a particular story, for example."
The plug-in shows some of the benefits of the Guardian's Open Platform system without the need for developing experience, said McAlister.
"Now that the Open Platform has a commercial model it's easier to explore different ways for people to use the Guardian. And that shouldn't be limited only to developers. You shouldn't have to know what an API is to reuse Guardian articles in a way that's mutually beneficial. So, this is one approach to answering that."
A second videos explaining the Guardian's OpenPlatform system is available here.