You are currently browsing the archives for March, 2008.

Adweek: Not All Ads On Facebook Perform Poorly

From Adweek’s coverage of a panel at Ogilvy’s Verge conference. Outgoing Facebook chief revenue officer Owen Van Natta defended the company’s Beacon advertising concept, while Gawker’s Nick Denton slapped back:

“Gawker media publisher Nick Denton said he believes the ‘innovation’ in social media ad models is mostly a result of their failure as media properties. Even MySpace gets higher click rates than Facebook display units, he noted.”

FM’s Battelle disagreed:

“Not all ads on Facebook perform poorly, though. John Battelle, founder of Federated Media, said Facebook applications like Graffiti Wall are running ad campaigns for companies like Dell that are performing well by all metrics. ‘There’s no engagement in ad networks,’ he said. ‘We haven’t yet figured that out yet, and I think social media will.’”

Why Information Works Better Than Simple Promotions

From a Lee Gomes piece in the Wall Street Journal (I saw it at Boing Boing):

“What is it about a Web site that might make it literally irresistible? Clues are offered by research conducted by Irving Biederman, a neuroscientist at the University of Southern California, who is interested in the evolutionary and biological basis of the human need for information…..

“When he hooked up volunteers to a brain-scanning machine, the preferred pictures [ones that "presented new information that somehow needed to be interpreted"] were shown to generate much more brain activity than the unpreferred shots. While researchers don’t yet know what exactly these brain scans signify, a likely possibility involves increased production of the brain’s pleasure-enhancing neurotransmitters called opioids.”

I’m no scientist, but this suggests to me that ads built around content (like JCPenney’s or Symantec’s) will do a better job engaging consumers than ads that simply offer up a discounted rate.

Blogging For the Health Benefits

Research from Swinburne University of Tech says bloggers are better adjusted and have healthier social lives (from TechCrunch). However, “some ‘potential bloggers’ start from a less socially integrated position.” Hmm. If I knew what’s meant by “less socially integrated,” I might be worried about my own well being.

Revenge of the Experts?

That’s the headline at Newsweek. Sigh.

Will the day ever come when journalists and pundits at large media companies recognize that authority and expertise have never

fallen out of favor at audience-supported content? By “audience-supported,” I’m making a distinction between most of the 15 million blogs out there that are wonderful platforms to share stuff with friends but have no real audience to speak of (content but not media), and the few thousand sites, print magazines, newspapers and TV shows that have a following big enough to show up in an audit. Which is a more useful distinction than “published by a big company” versus “user-generated content.”

It’s just that “expert” status now comes from the quality of the work delivered, not the corporate entity listed on the author’s business card.

Newsweek Revenge of Experts

The “Voodoo Bullshit” That Keeps Media Companies In Business

At South By Southwest today, Ask A Ninja’s Kent Nichols explained how his budding media empire makes so much money: The “voodoo bullshit” performed by “sweaty people who drink,” aka, the ad-sales team at FM. While we all do our best to keep our perspiration to a minimum (no comment on drinking), he does have a point. And even if I didn’t agree with the characterization, let’s be honest: I’d never pick a fight with Ninja.

But what is it with the ad-sales-people-are-like-farm-animals stuff? Here’s Arrington at TechCrunch in a comment last week. (The original post discusses FM’s value, valuation and acquisition rumors from a few months back.) A stud?! I’m blushing.

Arrington Comment

Kent and Mike, thank you both for the kind (and evocative) words!

Guardian Recognizes Boing Boing, Dooce, TechCrunch, Mashable, Gaping Void

The Guardian UK is out with their list of favorite 50 blogs, including several official “friends of FM”:

Boing Boing: “Their dominance of the terrain where technology meets politics makes the Boing Boing crew geek aristocracy.”

TechCrunch: “Techcrunch began in 2005 as a blog about dotcom start-ups in Silicon Valley, but has quickly become one of the most influential news websites across the entire technology industry.”

Dooce: “Though there were personal websites that came before hers, certain elements conspired to make Dooce one of the biggest public diaries since Samuel Pepys’s (whose diary is itself available, transcribed in blog form, at”

Mashable: “Founded by Peter Cashmore in 2005, Mashable is a social-networking news blog, reporting on and reviewing the latest developments, applications and features available in or for MySpace, Facebook, Bebo and countless lesser-known social-networking sites and services, with a special emphasis on functionality.”

Gaping Void: “Things started going gangbusters when he pimped his cartoons on the internet, and as he built an audience through his blog, he started writing about his other passion — the new world of understanding how to adapt marketing to the new world of the net.”

Dooce, Pioneer Woman Clean Up at 2008 Bloggies

Heather Armstrong of Dooce picked up several honors at the 2008 Bloggies, including Best American Weblog, Best-Designed Weblog, Weblog of the Year, and Lifetime Achievement. Congrats, Heather!

Ree of Confessions of a Pioneer Woman took home Best Writing of a Weblog and (for her other site, Pioneer Woman Cooks) Best Food Weblog. Go, Ree!

Pioneer Woman Cooks

Battelle to SMBs: You're In The Media Business Now

In a recent post on American Express’s Open Forum site, Battelle tells business owners who interact with their customers online: You no longer just selling widgets, you’re in the media business. The point is this, don’t define yourself by what you sell (“we sell trains!”) but rather the service you provide your customers (transportation services). American Express — the company that’s paying Battelle and other business authors to license their content — gets it. The Open Forum site isn’t about selling plastic debit cards, it’s about empowering their customers with tools to grow their businesses, plastic debit cards and insightful business content included.

David Byrne Reads Boing Boing, Except at Denver Airport

From LA Times:

“Then in February, [Talking Heads founder David] Byrne came to town. The musician, who was here on a layover, tried to visit the popular hipster technology blog Boing Boing. The site was blocked by the airport’s Internet administrator for falling into the category of ‘Incidental Nudity, Blogs/Wiki.’

“Byrne commended the airport for its free wireless but wrote about the incident on his blog.

“Boing Boing, by many measures the most-read blog on the Internet, linked to Byrne’s post. The local alternative weekly spotted it and blogged about the mushrooming controversy….

“[Boing Boing editor Xeni] Jardin and others at Boing Boing have been on a crusade against Web-filtering software, which she noted is used by repressive governments such as Saudi Arabia and Sudan. She said Boing Boing evidently became classified as offensive by some filters because it once showed an image of the cover of a design book that replicated the cover of a risque men’s magazine.”

Doritos Ad Created By Ask A Ninja

I meant to post this months ago, when the Doritos “Strong Snack Productions” campaign was running in Ask A Ninja episodes. Better late than never! A bit of conversational marketing stolen from old-school radio: The DJ read. It’s not an endorsement (so radio DJs do that also), but it’s more powerful advertising because it’s done in the host’s voice and shares its tone with main programming.