What does an official scanlation site mean?


I heard the news yesterday that Viz Media will soon come up with their own manga scan services, or at the least will be persecuting sites that illegally distribute such materials. For those that don't know, various websites have been using translators to come up with translated scripts of weekly chapters of manga. These scripts are then put to the manga themselves so that Western readers can see them sometimes months before they come out. Most sites give them out for free, while others make a profit from advertising and others charge for downloading. Yours truly has always used the free sites and has brought the manga-Naruto!-when it has come out. These sites have been around for years, and have been largely tolerated by publishing because of the sometimes chaotic shipping scales of their titles. It's been a reasonable way for readers to stay interested in a manga; I know I wouldn't still be interested in Naruto if I couldn't read it off the sites every week. Of course, sometimes the translations are so bad that we in the manga community have to wait until the official translation comes out to even know what's really going on.  
Some of you may be wondering why we do not get the large manga books like Shonen-Jump!. This has been, for me, a matter of not being able to afford it. And plus, I really don't want to have to keep track of 6 or 7 other unrelated stories lines. It's far easier for me to just read one. I also have my Marvel titles I pull every month to look forward to.  
What I really want to ask, though, is how will this affect manga online, and also how might it affect digital based comics or whatever they are called. I think this may have an effect on Western-based comics. I know that the audiences are two different demographics, if people are willing to pay money for online manga scans, it may become an alternative to manga altogether instead of just a quick fix for those of us who read the paper copy. Though by now, it appears that all publishers are at the very least looking into digital based comics, this could be a real showing of how well a large firm can handle rampant pirating and making one medium productive while still keeping the other in production. Or maybe this is just another nail in the coffin of paper based comics...
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