You are currently browsing the archives for February, 2007.

Federated Dept Stores Changes Name to Macy's; FM Remains Federated

From Mediapost:

“KNOWN AS FEDERATED DEPARTMENT STORES since 1929, the company said yesterday that it will change its name to the Macy’s Group, pending approval from its board.”

Phew, that ends all the confusion between us (Federated Media) and them (Federated Department Stores). ;)

iMedia's Best & Worst of 2006

Nanette Marcus surveyed Jon Epstein, Tom Hespos, Cree Lawson and a few other digital media folks (me included) on the highlights and lowlights from 2006 (iMedia Connection).

Ad Age's Jonah Bloom: Forget About Control

Jonah Bloom interview in London’s Independent:

“However, one of the challenges of marketing in cyberspace is control, or lack of it. ‘When you have huge amounts of money in the marketplace,’ says Bloom. ‘The tendency is not to let go of control of the message and the medium.’
….This comfortable monopoly on the marketing budgets is no more. Bloom says a good ad agency that can produce great content is more valuable than it has ever been but change is coming, and quickly. ‘The old structure, which saw hundreds of people sitting in a building producing advertising as if it were a factory is clearly going to go completely.’”

Google Will Share More Info With Advertisers

From Mediapost: Starting in Q2, Google will begin to share with AdSense advertisers the list of sites on which a campaign ran. This is big news, given Google’s historical aversion to transparency on both sides of the AdSense program — it hasn’t before told advertisers where they will (or did) run, and it hasn’t told publishers their actual share of the ad revenue Google generated from the pages of their sites. Could it be that Google’s competitors are starting to apply pressure??

“A report in The New York Times suggested that the move came in response from growing market share gained by contextual advertising firm Quigo, but a spokesman for Google denied the connection.

Stylman said it’s unlikely that Google would change its strategy based on a smaller competitor’s system, but that Quigo’s approach was gaining significant share in the market.

“I don’t think that Quigo is a significant enough player for them to change their entire system based on them,” he said. “Having said that, Google’s intelligent enough to keep an eye on market trends, and Quigo is definitely gaining some market traction.”

Quigo last week announced a multi-year partnership with Forbes to serve contextually targeted ads on its sites including Forbes.com, ForbesAuto.com and ForbesTraveler.com.”

How Independent YouTube Producers Will Make Money

At O’Reilly Radar, Tim O’Reilly picks up the thread Chad Hurley started at Davos: How will the independent content producers share in the money YouTube makes off their videos? Tim suggests an analogy where YouTube is a video distribution platform like the Internet as a whole is for blogs; ad models (such as AdSense for Content at the low end, FM at the high end) will emerge that share revenues back with the original content creators.

“Right now, even Google hasn’t figured out how to monetize YouTube. When they do, I’ll lay odds that they will provide self-service mechanisms that content producers can use to monetize their content, with some kind of revenue-sharing arrangement, just like Adsense for Content. And from there, I’ll lay odds that it will be the content providers themselves who lead the charge, just as they have done in blogging. Entrepreneurial content producers will find ways to extend whatever mechanisms are provided, and will invent new ones. And they’ll do it in-band using the service mechanisms provided by YouTube, and out-of-band by becoming celebrities monetized in other media. And there will be a rich ecology of players who grow up to help with that monetization (just like FM Publishing (in which I am, incidentally, an investor) in blogging). FM shows the right kind of collective action: build shared infrastructure for business services that exploit the opportunities that the new economy provides.”

With FM already working with content types other than blogs — UGC platforms like Digg, Metafilter and Newsvine and video sites like Ask A Ninja and Revision3′s Diggnation — maybe FM itself, rather than someone “just like FM,” will help this new indie-video economy along!

IntelliTXT Not So Intelligent

My colleague Andre Torrez tipped me off to another funny episode for the “contextual ad bots do silly things” file. This one shows Vibrant Media’s IntelliTXT serving an Apple ad attached to the keyword Mac, but the Mac in this context is Bernie Mac (User Centered).

Erika Milvy: Pro Journalist's Gripe with Blogs

My friend Erika Milvy, a 20-year veteran journalist, made her first foray into blogging this week (see OurChart). But, alas, it was to complain about this whole blog phenomenon. In particular she regrets the proliferation of bad writing (the product of an editor-free publishing model) and the overabundance of personal content that no one wants to read. My comment to her piece:

Erika–

Chas here. First of all, I’m so pleased to see you blogging! Even if your post is all about the evils of blogging. :)

But I do need to take issue with you. Not about you being straight. E gad! Does Pearl know?! It’s with your portrayal of the good old days of journalism and publishing: “In my day, …it required a publisher to sanctify and propagate the fruits of their labor for all the world to see and respect.”

I spent many years in traditional publishing and media — 2 book publishing houses, 3 magazine publishers and 1 cable TV network. We liked to tell ourselves that we made great content that satisfied the informational and entertainment needs of our readers and viewers; the proof was in the ratings, the circ and the pass along. The dirty little secret was this: our lock on distribution more so than the quality of our content drove our ratings and readership. Since no other tech-media company had $150 million to buy a slot on cable systems back in 1997, Ziff-Davis’s TechTV was the “best” cable channel dedicated to computer stuff, according to viewership numbers. Then again, it was the only one! If Parenting Magazine isn’t covering the modern (or gay) parenting experience very well, what’s a journalist to do? Raise $50 million to launch a new magazine that can compete for a spot on the newsstand?

Among the 100-odd million blogs on the internet (yikes!), plenty are littered with spelling errors and bad writing. (See mine, http://chasnote.com!) Lots are narcissistic personal diaries. But there are also a few thousand world-class publications with great writing and stories (news stories or personal ones) that aren’t being told in well-funded traditional publications. For professional journalists like you who sometimes face editors (backed by publishers and advertising supporters) who tell you they won’t publish your piece, as important and well-written as it may be, what were your options? The internet and its easy-to-use blogging platforms now enable you to publish that story, and the imperfect but improving algorithms of Google let your audience — even if it’s an audience of 3 people — find it.

The advertising money will follow the readers and viewers. It always does. Journalists who attract an audience will (eventually) be paid in proportion to the size and quality of the audience they bring to their content. And this time around, they won’t have to give such a large share of that sponsorship money to expensive executive staffers at Conde Nast or Time Warner!

Wash Post Wants “Paid Blogroll” to Include 1500

From PaidContent: “For now [The Washington Post] has signed up 100 blogs (list here) in this program, but is considering increasing it up to 1500. Adify, the company managing this network, believes that it can get up to $8-10 CPM on these blogs, much above the general ad networks.”

Maybe the strength of the Washington Post’s brand and their relationships with advertisers will make it different this time. But every other time I’ve seen a publishing company or network go from a small portfolio that allows them to sell advertisers on the unique value and quality of individual properties (FM works with 110 sites) to a broad network that can only be sold by “channels,” ad pricing drops off precipitously. If rich-media expandable units and pop-ups can drive higher click-through rates across those 1500 sites, effective CPMs might be as high as that $8 they hope for, but outside of punch-the-monkey creative the Washington Post will lose its ability to charge a premium advertisers looking to build brand.

Clorox Pushes the Product-Placement Envelope

Clorox’s new telenovela, “Dame Chocolate,” produced in partnership with NBC’s Telemundo, “will launch in mid-March with Clorox so tightly integrated into the soap opera that plot twists and characters’ lives literally hinge on the effectiveness of the brand’s products” (AdAge). For example:

“In one Clorox moment, the heroine returns from Mexico carrying a Mayan flower crucial to the secret chocolate-making formula the bad guys are after. Only Glad plastic bags can preserve the flower’s freshness….In another Clorox cliffhanger, a character is about to be falsely imprisoned on a murder charge. The evidence is a blood-stained T-shirt. Clorox bleach removes the stain, and the police leave empty-handed after finding only a snowy-white shirt.”

Yahoo's Re-Org as Google Backlash Gains Steam

ClickZ reports on a leaked email from Yahoo CFO Susan Decker that outlines the company’s new Advertiser and Publisher Group. Greg Coleman will run the “Demand Channels,” which sounds like display and brand ad campaigns and products, and Hilary Schneider will run the “Supply Channels,” which rolls up search marketing, the Yahoo Publisher Network, marketplace and local advertising. The “Demand” side is where Yahoo has shown leadership historically, so I’m most interested to see what the “Supply” side can do to gain ground on Google.

Perhaps the time is right (maybe overdue?!). As the TV networks rebel against Google’s view of IP and its demand for long-term deals to lock up partners before they have viable competitors (WSJ), the Google backlash might create an opening for Yahoo.