I sincerely appreciate the information.
I read the "spec" on both Publications and Niches, and this is my take:
If I wanted to take advantage of a specific Topic to funnel traffic and earn revenue by establishing a strong content stream, I have two options:
Niches -- topic/brand specific, very structured, less flexibility for niche owners, sluggishly-long startup process, or
Publications -- also topic/brand specific, with less formal structure, more freedom, and control for publication owners, quicker startup.
I see a potential problem.
Jonny suggests a niche, "Fried Chicken". Then he has to wait to see if the community votes to move it forward to bidding. If it makes it, then Jonny has to bid and compete for the Niche. If he's lucky he gets it. Then Jonny has to watch out for similar Niches coming out of the woodwork to compete with a popular niche. He'll have to downvote a suggested similar if he finds one, and report it to the tribunal if it gets past that point. Once he has "Fried Chicken" then he has to find moderators which is an arduous process that may never amount to any coming forward. And then Jonny has to hope and pray for content creators to come forward, or he has to recruit them.
If all the planets align, over the course of 2-3 months or more, Jonny has a niche and that channel has content, and no competition. Jonny's new niche channel is:
Everything is going great until Rex comes in, sees Jonny's niche, and says, "hey that's a great topic". In less than 15 minutes, Rex plops down $99 to buy a Publication called, yep, you guessed it, "fried chicken". That publication is approved in 72 hours or so, and then Rex gets his new channel at:
Rex has much more control over his content, channel, and moderators. Both the URLs are so similar that few would even notice they're different. If I created a storefront called, "Fried Chicken" and somebody opened up a business next door called, "Fried Chicken" that would be a huge problem, wouldn't it?
I'm not sure what the compensation model is for Publication ownership, but if the above is true, and I can just jump onto a clever topic niche by creating my own Publication, it seems that dilutes the potency of Niches all together.
I'm probably 100% wrong on all this, so enlighten me, please.
Sorry for my confusion and "new member" naivety. Thank you!