The way forward for aggregation is to break away from the current failed strategies, and to make it “ethical”.
This will need the technology that Dave Winer is pushing, amongst others: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Markdown
We need a clear separation of display formatting and content. In other words, content is published and formatted on the home site and displayed there, but it is aggregated to other sites as metadata. The content is still loaded from the home site, but the formatting is “hinting”, not finished formatting – the finished look and feel is defined by the aggregating site – the content (and hinted formatting) is loaded from the home site.
Thus the content is viewed from both the aggregating site AND the home site. Any edits or comments are published to and loaded from the home site. How they are displayed is up to the viewing site.
*** some temporary dynamic caching can be implemented to make scaling work, as needed ***
It's simple technology that makes aggregation real rather than stealing. How does current “bad aggregation” work? A number of ways:
1) Content is simply republished onto a new server. Comments and views are separated – the content is “stolen” from the host publisher site. This is the favourite parasitic strategy for the dot-coms like huffingtion post etc.
2) Headlines or excerpts are republished with a link back to the full article on the host site. Kinda OK but limited.
3) A silo is created and people are encouraged to publish their stores directly there, as done by projects such as Oximity. This is the most common and worst outcome.
How would what I am proposing be different? The outcome of this simple technology would be a widespread explosion of different sites full of content with radically different looks, feels, interfaces etc.
Content would spread organically. It would be placed in niche sites and good content pushed to the top sites to much larger distribution than you can get on any platform at the moment.
In my opinion, all current distribution is broken, we have to reboot.
Tools to use
Use RSS as the basis of the network to get 98% coverage of content from the project launch. And to give an easy output for other projects to build on. Existing CMS's like wordpress etc can then be used as sources and with plugins can become full members of the network.