After a summer of establishing blogger guidelines and fair use, the Associated Press is considering charging online customers for a 20-30 minute head start on breaking news stories. According to a report by the AP's Jeremiah Marquez, the AP's chief executive Tom Curley made the announcement at the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents' Club. Curley suggested that because the AP licenses stories to major hubs like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft's MSN, these outlets would be willing to pay for scoops.

In late July, ReadWriteWeb covered the AP's controversial introduction of a digital-permissions framework The service alerts the outlet every time a blogger uses AP materials to ensure that content is being used and credited properly. While the news registry effort was met with blogger uproar, this new attempt to monetize breaking stories may meet with different reactions.

Writes Marquez, "Tom Curley did not clarify how a product that provided some news earlier would work or specify the target customers for the potential new service." However, more than anyone, we know the value of this service.

Independent bloggers continually struggle to scoop rival outlets to the point that embargoed releases are often broken. Some outlets have even chosen to forgo embargoes all together; however, ReadWriteWeb makes every effort to honor them. To a tech blogger, a 30 minute lead may mean the difference between the front pages of Digg, Techmeme and major traditional outlets, or appearing like a pack journalist. The groups that purchase a 30 minute lead on tech stories will solidify a huge influx in feed subscribers and mobile app downloads and as a result, gain more favor with advertisers.

Photo Credit: Marina Campos Vinhal