Reporting on David Sifry’s latest “State of the Blogosphere,” The NY Times points out,
“that it’s becoming hard to tell what is a blog and what is mainstream media. Mr. Sifry calls Boing Boing a blog â€” and so it is. But it also does some original reporting, and has professional journalists on its staff. And oddly, Mr. Sifry calls Slashdot, a technology site with material created mostly by users, a mainstream site. Meanwhile, more and more mainstream media sites are blogging. In the end, users are most likely drawn to sites for the quality and trustworthiness of the material presented.”
Reading FT’s interview with Bill Gates (I read it at Searchblog), the topic is China. But when Gates says,
“The internet overwhelmingly makes information available. It is not possible to block information, it is just not. You can make it so that the average person who just clicks on popular websites, with no extra effort, certain things donâ€™t show up there. But in terms of actually blocking informationâ€¦”
which is great advice for corporate bloggers. What’s the point in spinning & hyping when a dozen credible alternative sources of information are listed on the same search results page?
Today’s MediaPost talks about the benefits reaped by corporations who let their staff bloggers speak (at least some portion of) their mind:
“Pete Blackshaw chief marketing officer at buzz-monitoring firm Intelliseek, said that [Microsoft blogger Robert] Scoble likely has the authority to be quite controversial, given how helpful he’s been to the company’s PR efforts. ‘Robert Scoble is a one-man counterpoint to the argument that Microsoft is a close-minded, evil company,’ he said. ‘Even if you believe he crossed the line on this, he’s still such a net positive for Microsoft.’”
New York Magazine (Blogs to Riches) explores why the top blogs tend to remain the top blogs — the “power-law distribution” phenomenon brought to the web. “Internet studies have found that inbound links are an 80 percent-accurate predictor of traffic. The more links point to you, the more readers you have.” Or, at least, the more links that point to you, the more publishers and bloggers trust what you have to say (see ChasNote 8/3/05).
But take your eye off the ball (or stop publishing new content for a few days) and those inbound links start to dry up, say three Top 100 bloggers, Arianna Huffington (Huffington Post), Peter Rojas (Engadget) and FM’s own John Battelle (Searchblog).
Other noteworthy excerpts:
“Gawker even claims to turn away advertisers that are too low-rent; the site’s ad manager boasted to Mediaweek that it takes no Ford or Chevy ads because ‘we hate American cars’ and no pharmaceutical ads because ‘our readers are healthy and beautiful.’”
“As [NYU instructor Clay] Shirky puts it, ‘The Boing Boing thing is, they have more readers than Wired and yet they have a part-time staff of five. That’s the new math.’”
For the record: GM has been running ads lately on Boing Boing (an FM partner site), and we’d be happy to take ads from Ford or Chevy!
Reading yesterday’s NY Times article on Bob Greenberg, I couldn’t help thinking that Mr. Greenberg probably had some really smart things to say about marketing-as-a-conversation. But the article printed only a handful of kind of obvious soundbites, such as: “It’s not about linear communication, and the millennials understand that; it’s about symbols and icons and you click here and you click there and you control it…. Corporations have to create products that people want and customers are going to help them make that decision â€” and that means quality, imagination and transparency.”
Google is now selling ads in 28 consumer magazines, including full page display ads (AdAge). AdAge asks, “Because an advertiser can easily place his own ad, doesnâ€™t the program kick media buyers out of the process?”
Based on every conversation I’ve ever had with buyers of AdWords & AdSense, this development will create more
media-planner jobs. The jobs at risk, in my humble ad-sales-guy opinion, are those in the sales department at every magazine in the land.
According to AdAge, Verizon CMO John Stratton is not happy about the traditional approach his agencies & marketing partners took to spending his $1 billion last year.
“Mr. Stratton, who controls a budget of more than $2 billion, exhorted agencies to take action: ‘Your clients are in trouble. They are looking to you to save them.’ He said the ad inventory that has been sold for the last 50 years ‘no longer works,’ and marketers ‘have started to figure that out.’ In the process, ‘your clients will fire, hire, fire, and hire agency after agency … seeking someone â€“- anyone! — who can help them perhaps on where to go next.’
Verizon Wireless is among those seeking solutions. ‘Last year I spent well over a billion dollars buying space, time, air, hits and clicks across a multitude of mediums,’ Mr. Stratton said. ‘So if youâ€™ve been selling me this stuff, you probably need to know that Iâ€™m not perfectly happy. And Iâ€™m not alone.’”
From The NY Observer:
“At MSNBC, the MSNBC.com Web site sometimes earns more in monthly ad revenue than the cable channel does, said Kyoo Kim, the siteâ€™s vice president of sales.”
Even with 6,800,000 people receiving newspaper-supplement Relish and a publisher willing to sell brand mentions within editorial content, the publication had no takers in its first issue. Dick Porter, president-CEO of the Publishing Group of America (Relish, American Profile), doesn’t seem worried. I mean, with good old reach numbers above 6 million (actual readers is likely less than that), what’s there to complain about?
Well, the last line of the AdAge story suggests Porter has one worry: “The sooner we get the consumer totally engaged with the brand the better.”
I guess product placement inside a publication with 6,800,000 disengaged readers just isn’t worth much.
Thomas Hawk, another author who recently joined FM (Thomas Hawk’s Digital Connection), says he’s experienced the Digg Effect: “Having had several of my articles appear on Digg, Slashdot and Boing Boing all three, I can personally attest that Digg is moving traffic these days on par with Boing Boing and Slashdot.” (FM Signs Digg)
He reports that Digg has 140,000 registered users and 4 – 5,000,000 daily pageviews. That jives with numbers we’re seeing too.