You are currently browsing the archives for October, 2005.

Big-Butt Metrics for the Long-Tail World

Check out Jeff Jarvis’s post on audience measurement at BuzzMachine. He makes the point that traditional panel-based and survey-based methods, which ain’t perfect even for mass media (see ChasNote 8/29/05), really fall apart when they attempt to count audiences at niche publications:

To get apples-to-apples numbers for those other, older, major media, advertisers rely on allegedly representative samples. But you can never get a sample big enough to deal with the mass of niches…. they’ll never get enough knitters to measure the knitting bloggers. They can measure a few of the biggest bloggers. But that’s not what this medium is all about.

His second (perhaps more important) point is that the blunt instruments of reach and frequency (bare-bones quantity metrics) ignore qualitative aspects of audience behavior that would give advertisers greater insight into suitability of various ad environments:

This isn’t just about collecting and verifying audience and pageview numbers — and demographics and behavior — though all that is important. This is also about collecting data that can be collected only in this medium of the people and gives us unique value: authority, influence, conversation-starting, relationships, loyalty, engagement.

The gang here at Federated Media whole-heartedly supports the effort to build new measurement standards! When I brought up “big butt advertisers” on the panel last month, I meant not only that lots of niche publishers create meaningful mass when they band together; I meant also to remind us online publishers that the big-volume ad spenders (beautiful big butts, in my opinion) will demand that we work on their terms, providing performance metrics that are as much Broadcast 1.0 as they are Web 2.0. What’s great about Jeff’s recommendation is that it includes enough from the old-school (authority, influence, loyalty and engagement) to build a credible foundation onto which we can add some new fangled blog metrics like “conversation-starting.”

ChasNote RSS Feed Enabled

ChasNote is ready to plug into your very own news aggregator! I haven’t yet figured out how to post one of those fancy orange buttons on the site, but click here for the ChasNote RSS feed. Or type “” into your RSS reader. (Thanks, Andre!


How to Beat Back the Blogs

Forbes offers tips to companies on how to fight back against the blogs (reg req): “Attack of the Blogs”.

Blogs started a few years ago as a simple way for people to keep online diaries. Suddenly they are the ultimate vehicle for brand-bashing, personal attacks, political extremism and smear campaigns. It’s not easy to fight back: Often a bashing victim can’t even figure out who his attacker is. No target is too mighty, or too obscure, for this new and virulent strain of oratory.

How is it that these obscure crazies — these bloggers — who post lies to home-cooked websites no one visits have so much dang power?? I’m starting to wonder if these unstoppable brand-bashing bulldozers are, in fact, terrific platforms for introducing & enhancing those very same brands. If you agree, CALL ME! No, seriously. Get in touch via Federated Media’s site.

For more insightful (and funnier) commentary, check out Xeni’s post at Boing Boing, which begins, “Won’t someone please think of the corporations?”

Rishad T on Trading Demos for Passions

Check out Business Week’s piece on SMG’s Rishad Tobaccowala, “Hey, Advertisers, TiVo Is Your Friend”. His secret to success: “abandoning consumer demographics in favor of targeting buyers’ passions.”

Loyalty Created by Taking, Not Just Giving

Seth Godin presents an interesting theory on the connection between personal cash investment in an organization (say your alma mater) and loyalty to that organization, “Ben’s Insight”. Even if the dollar amount is insignificant, the act of taking someone’s money increases his or her loyalty to you.

Yale wants Ben Stein’s money so that Ben will be inclined to do the things that Yale really wants: send over great students, hire graduates, talk up the school and maintain its place in the pantheon of liberal arts colleges. And donors are far more likely to do that than disconnected alum.

I would extend this concept to non-cash contributions as well. In my days at CNET, we saw that readers who posted comments or user reviews (investments of time and ego) became more frequent visitors to those sites. Loyalty to the leading blog sites, which bring their readers even more deeply into the content creation process, seems to support the theory as well. More than 80% of Boing Boing readers and 75% of Searchblog readers report to reading those sites at least once a day. Once a day! On a webcast panel last week, Pajamas Media’s Vik Rubenfeld shared similar stats for two of their politics sites: Little Green Footballs, where 75% claim to read daily, and Roger L. Simon’s site, where 57% do.

This pattern, if it holds, means that citizens’ journalism has much more to offer media companies than just cheap content.

Separating the Blog Stars from the Blog Dogs

The title of a recent Gary Stein post made me laugh, “Are Blogs the Ad Inventory Solution?” Poor old blogs — the butt of every joke these days! When Gary takes his tongue out of his cheek, he offers up some sound advice: Amidst all the hype around blogs, all 19-odd million of them, it’s crucial to separate the stars from the dogs before you invest big ad dollars in them:

the write up of the sale of WebLogs, Inc to AOL has BusinessWeek writing about blogs as fantastic source of ad inventory. Advertisers might take heart in this fact, but the existence of blog ad inventory should be taken with a huge dose of caution by advertisers, and their decision to advertise needs to come down to one critical factor: quality.

TV Commercials for iPods

Rafat wonders when TV-style commericals will make their way onto iPods (

For now, ABC, which is providing TV show downloads for it at $1.99 an episode, says that won’t be the case.
But skeptics don’t believe it. “TiVo and satellite radio were not ad-supported but they are loosening their guidelines to accept ads,” said Brad Adgate, research director at Horizon Media. “It really depends on the finances of Apple.”

While Apple may own the decision in the short term, I’m guessing on-demand mobile video will proliferate beyond iPods, and the content providers (have you heard this one before?) will trade the pay-per-view model for widespread, ad-supported viewership. Yup, podmercials are coming.

When Does a Blog Become an “Online Publication”?

A colleague recently asked me to define “blogs.” Here’s what I came up with:

The term “blog” (short for “weblog”) is used to describe websites that are built on easy-to-use software platforms (eg, TypePad, WordPress, MoveableType or Blogger) that allow writers with no engineering know-how to publish their content to the web. One aspect of these platforms is that each new “post” — an original article or a link to another site — automatically appears at the top of the homepage, pushing previous posts down the page. So most blogs organize their content in chronological order (newest to oldest), rather than into features, sections or content categories the way standard online magazines do. But as blogs get more sophisticated and have deeper archives of content (see GigaOm or Gadgetopia) some have begun to categorize their content around topics. I’m guessing that a year from know we will have a hard time telling the difference between blogs and other online publications.

Jakob Nielsen’s post on the top 10 biggest usability problems across the blogosphere ( has some great advice for blogs that are ready to make the move. He advises against several of the crappy UI features you see here — chronological archiving that buries the best posts, calendar-only navigation, and, worst of all, “Having a weblog address ending in,, etc. will soon be the equivalent of having an email address or a Geocities website: the mark of a naïve beginner who shouldn’t be taken too seriously.”

Those of you reading this at, please visit my more sophistocated alter-blog at!

Tom Foremski Pitches for IBM Ad Dollars

Tom Foremski argues in his SiliconValleyWatcher post that IBM should change their no-ads-on-blogs policy. Right on, Tom!

I’m not too worried about IBM’s decision not to advertise on blogs because I’m certain that it can be changed.

Especially since IBM will, sooner than later, realize there is something much bigger going on, and that it has an opportunity to play a large role–maybe even a historic one–in helping to birth the new media.

It would take but a fraction of its massive marketing budget to help the new media sector find business models that work. And those models might look very different from today’s models, based on advertising/marketing messages found in newspapers and magazines.

I would add that the new media sector is likely to find business models that work, whether or not IBM helps shape them. The question is, does IBM want HP, Dell and Microsoft alone to define those models?

BW's Jon Fine Launches Blog

Jon Fine’s On Media column has spawned a blog, Fine On Media. I like the headline for his post on The Journal’s Saturday edition, Weakend.