You are currently browsing the archives for April, 2008.
Following the controversy over P&G Productions’ sponsored storyline featuring two men kissing, P&G has opened a toll-free feedback line. What a simple and great idea: I bet the mere act of listening will dilute the critics’ venom, like Dell’s Direct2Dell site did following the Dell Hell blogstorm.
This forum — albeit an old-school telephone forum — does something else, too. It creates a platform for discussion (in a sense) among opposing points of view. The conservative group American Family Association started the fight with P&G. By opening the toll-free number campaign, P&G has let other customer constituency fight back on their behalf:
“Celebrity gossip site PerezHilton.com this morning posted a reference to the ‘Nuke’ controversy, urging readers to call P&G’s hotline in support of the couple. By this afternoon, Kip Williams, a blogger on the HuffingtonPost.com, also had weighed in, also asking readers to call P&G’s hotline in support.
“Perez Hilton, with an Alexa traffic rank of 430 indicating daily visits by 2.6 million people worldwide, and the Huffington Post, with an Alexa rank of 687 and around 2 million daily visitors, would appear to carry more weight in popular culture than Donald Wildmon, whose AFA.net site has an Alexa rank of 59,596, indicating daily visits from around 30,000.”
Let the big boys and girls wage battle while you sit safely on the sidelines. Man, I wish I has used that technique on the school yards of my youth. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that P&G choreographed this ingenious act of self-defense, given it makes the #1 antibacterial soap worldwide, Safeguard.
As part of its celebration of Earth Day 2008, Chevy kicked off a sponsorship of a green “group blog,” Best of the Green Web.
GM partnered with FM to scout sites that cover environmental topics — from design and trend-spotting sites such as Core77, TrendHunter, Boing Boing and Uncrate to do-it-yourself sites like Make and start-up news sites ReadWriteWeb and VentureBeat. For those of you headed to Maker Faire in San Mateo, CA, this weekend, you better arrive on your garage-built compressed air moped:
One post on the site (sourced from ReadWriteWeb) profiles a company, BadBuster, that makes a widget that grades the eco-friendliness of large, public companies — including GM. According to the widget, GM’s environmental-performance Judge Dredd psp
glass is a little better than half full (or, of course, nearly half empty). It’s doing better than its North American and German rivals but is still behind its Japanese competitors.
It’s refreshing to see that kind of content on a sponsored site. Clearly this is real content, not something pumped out by GM’s PR team. With its honesty it sends the message that Chevy is committing to the green conversation in a way that goes beyond “green washing.”
Announcing that it just launched a lithium-ion prototype Chevy Volt doesn’t take away from that perception either.
Credits: Adam Erhard and the GM Planworks team, along with Marcia Simmons, Matt Jessell and Jared Katzman at FM.
AdAge is launching a series of articles tracking the efforts of America’s 1,437 daily newspapers as they attempt to get their mojo (and revenues) back. The grim math by Annenberg’s Jeffrey Cole goes like this:
“‘When an offline reader of a paper dies, he or she is not being replaced by a new reader,’ he said. ‘How much time do they have? We think they have 20 to 25 years.’”
The series will also watch what the Project for Excellence in Journalism calls “decoupling of news and advertising.”
Here’s Battelle from a piece he contributed to American Express’s blog on the decoupling of content creation from advertising, about a month before the piece by the Project for Excellence in Journalism.
Watercooler’s Justin Smith lists (at InsideFacebook) CPMs and eCPMs that Facebook app developers are collecting through ad-sales partners such as Social Media, VideoEgg, Lookery, AdSense and others. Most of those interviewed report CPMs between $0.04 and $0.60, with a few above a $1.00.
FM sells advertising and sponsorships on a few Facebook applications, including Watercooler and Graffiti, with CPMs in the $6-12 range. Though it’s important to note, we currently monetize only a minority of the ad inventory on those applications; we partner with several of the ad networks listed in Justin’s post to backfill the remainder.
Some chart candy from Global Insights, originally published in BusinessWeek. Overall investment is up 2%, with the online segment up nearly 26%, broadcast TV down 1.5% and newspapers down more than 6%.
Marc Farley, a Dell blogger at Inside IT blog, shows the rest of us how it’s done. Dell is tapping the Techdirt Insight Community to foster a conversation among IT pros on storage, and what storage vendors like Dell need to be developing. (Here’s the site, The Future of Storage.)
EMC’s Chuck Hollis blogs his discontent about the project, namely that Dell’s role in the project isn’t disclosed clearly enough. That’s good feedback and always worth listening to. It’s Dell’s intention to be transparent; if certain visitors are confused, fix it.
Farley, a storage expert and Dell employee, admitted that he could relate:
“I didn’t understand myself for several days, including the whole posting process and was wondering what the %$#% was going on. In fact, I put up a completely wayward, post — wondered why it wasn’t being posted, then found out it was way off base. FWIW, there is a blog post that is pretty critical of Techdirt for the way the initial entries (insights) are handled. Mike Masnick’s reply to that review is good enough for me that they are working on improving things. But I don’t want to throw out the baby here, I think Mike is really onto something that is very, very good and that could fundamentally change the analyst business — something that Chuck would probably be very interested in also.”
That alone is refreshing — a representative of the brand (Dell) who publicly voices criticism of the brand or marketing practices. Then he goes on to articulate the project’s intent:
“So here’s how it’s working: Dell opened an Insight (request for blog entries) with Techdirt and they invited members of their community to contribute. These entries were screened by Techdirt editors for suitability (no Dell influence in this process) and then published on a Dell sponsored site called the Future of Storage, as a way to expand the discussion. We now have some of that going on and people can contribute there. Just keep in mind that the entries are moderated by Techdirt and it takes a little time for them to be published. I think if you look for the usual wolf in sheep’s clothing ads here, you won’t find any (at least that’s the goal). The point is not to pimp our stuff but to establish dialogue –- and this differs in a very major way from most blogs, including Chuck’s and mine.”
Techdirt’s Mike Masnick adds a comment to Farley’s post:
“On the issue of independent analysis, we actually think the Insight Community model works even *better* because you’re getting multiple viewpoints from multiple independent parties — and given how we recruit people, you can rest assured that there are always a varied set of opinions. The folks in the community are *passionate* and don’t back down. That’s what we like, and that’s why the Community generates such interesting output. As I’ve said before, the Insight Community model is designed to make you find out what you *need* to hear, rather than what you *want* to hear.”
An unusual conversation is underway: Editors, sponsors and their business partners are engaged in an open and professional argument over the important issues in digital media, and learning from each other. My hat is off to Dell, Farley, Hollis and Masnick.
“CNET Networks will also announce a much expanded editorial and advertising relationship with Yahoo that will give the tech news site broad distribution on the highly trafficked Internet portal…..
“Under the new deal, sources at both companies said a large swath of CNET tech news and also reviews will be carried on Yahoo, making it the major supplier of tech news content to the site. Rather than just focusing on its owned-and-operated properties, Yahoo’s more recent strategy has been to partner with media companies.
“In addition, under the terms of the deal, Yahoo will sell some of CNET’s remnant inventory and also allow CNET ad sales staff to sell into some areas of Yahoo.”
It suggests each company has begun to recognize its strengths — and begun to get comfortable with its weaknesses. Yahoo has enormous audience reach (it’s a portal) and sells lots of banners at low CPMs (it’s a giant ad network); it isn’t a leader in original content or high-CPM brand advertising. CNET has a great sales team that generates very high CPMs around premium tech content and an award-winning editorial team (it’s DNA is that of a niche publisher); it isn’t big enough to make the high volume, low CPM ad-network model work outside the core tech sites.
It’s a shame — given all the recent news at both companies — they didn’t do this sooner.