Tag Archives: advertising

Can Andrew Sullivan make post-industrial journalism pay?

The state of journalism as described by the Tow authors — media theorist Clay Shirky, journalism professor Chris Anderson and Tow Center head Emily Bell — is a landscape where the major media entities in virtually every field are being disrupted and unbundled, and where smaller players targeted at specific niches stand the best odds of success. It’s an almost Darwinian view of the industry, with slow-moving giants who are gradually replaced by more nimble and flexible species. And it’s also a more personal and human-sized approach, one that Sullivan clearly sympathizes with:

“We believe in a bottom-up Internet, which allows a thousand flowers to bloom, rather than a corporate-dominated web where the promise of a free space becomes co-opted by large and powerful institutions and intrusive advertising algorithms.”

The model Sullivan is banking on — which features a $19.99-per-year subscription, free incoming links from blogs and social media, as well as a “pay whatever you want” donation option — is similar in many ways to the freemium or membership models other sites have staked their future on, including Mike Masnick’s tech-opinion and analysis site Techdirt and Josh Marshall’s political news and opinion network Talking Points Memo. But while those sites are offering extra features for members (such as member-only discussion forums and access to extra content, etc.) Sullivan says non-paying readers who merely follow links to his content will get exactly the same thing paying readers do.

via gigaom.com

I love his point about the ‘free media’ we consume coming with the invisible pricetag of institutional/corporate perspective. It’s sad to see how ‘revolutionary’ it appears to ask people to pay for excellent content.

Pay Facebook to Force Your Friends to Read Your Updates

Only 12% of your friends see your average status update, but Facebook is testing an option called “Highlight” that lets you pay a few dollars to have one of your posts appear to more friends. Highlight lets the average user, not Pages or businesses, select an “important post” and “make sure friends see this.” A tiny percentage of the user base is now seeing tests of a paid version of Highlight, but there’s also a free one designed to check if users are at all interested in the option.

Facebook is playing with fire here. The service has always been free for users, and a pay-for-popularity feature could be a huge turn off, especially to its younger and less financially equipped users who couldn’t afford such narcissism.

via techcrunch.com

FTC Final Privacy Report Draws a Map to Meaningful Privacy Protection in the Online World | Electronic Frontier Foundation

 

FTC Final Privacy Report Draws a Map to Meaningful Privacy Protection in the Online World

 

Earlier today, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released its final report on digital consumer privacy issues after more than 450 companies, advocacy groups and individuals commented on the December 2010 draft report. The final report creates strong guidelines for protecting consumer privacy choices in the online world. The guidelines include supporting the Do Not Track browser header, advocating federal privacy legislation, and tackling the issue of online data brokers.

 

 

Why Google+ Doesn’t Care If You Never Come Back | TechCrunch

Maybe when it first launched, Google+ had aspirations of stealing away some of your content feed reading time from Facebook and Twitter. While it needs a lot of work, the design and features Google+ have launched are solid, and I have the utmost respect for a team doing the best it can. The problem is that it doesn’t solve a problem. Facebook owns the social graph and the relevance-sorted news feed of your friends’ activity, and Twitter owns the interest graph and the firehose of news and real-time updates.

But that was not why Google made building social functionality a priority. Nor was improving its already dominant search feature. It’d would love this engagement but it doesn’t need it. Google scrambled to build Google+ because it watched Facebook and saw users were willing to volunteer biographical data to their social network, and that data is crucial to serving accurate ads users want to click. Search keywords and algorithmic analysis of your Gmail and other content weren’t enough. It had to start the journey to identity after shortsighted years of allowing users to sign up without asking who they really were. 90 million signups is a good start.

Pages With Too Many Ads “Above The Fold” Now Penalized By Google’s “Page Layout” Algorithm

Do you shove lots of ads at the top of your web pages? Think again. Tired of doing a Google search and landing on these types of pages? Rejoice. Google has announced that it will penalize sites with pages that are top-heavy with ads.

Top Heavy With Ads? Look Out!

The change — called the “page layout algorithm” — takes direct aim at any site with pages where content is buried under tons of ads.

From Google’s post on its Inside Search blog today:

We’ve heard complaints from users that if they click on a result and it’s difficult to find the actual content, they aren’t happy with the experience. Rather than scrolling down the page past a slew of ads, users want to see content right away.

So sites that don’t have much content “above-the-fold” can be affected by this change. If you click on a website and the part of the website you see first either doesn’t have a lot of visible content above-the-fold or dedicates a large fraction of the site’s initial screen real estate to ads, that’s not a very good user experience.

Such sites may not rank as highly going forward.

Interesting. Take that, /Film!

Startup Aims To Build Billboards That Target You, Personally

Immersive Labs introduced its smart billboard technology at TechStars‘ Demo Day in New York on Thursday. The software combines video analytics with environmental factors and Twitter and Foursquare information to decide what the best ad to display at that moment is.

If a young man is looking at an ad, for instance, the billboard will know to show an aftershave ad instead of a tampon ad. If the room is loud, it might not show an ad that has an audio component. If Twitter or Foursquare data indicate that there’s a sports game going on in the area, it might show a Nike ad instead of a FedEx ad.

New York Times Agrees To Apple Terms For Paywall Plans | Peter Kafka

The New York Times has finally unveiled its paywall plans, a year-plus in the making.

And with the Times’ announcement, Steve Jobs gets his first big publisher to announce it is signing on with his new subscription plan: The Times says it will sell access to the paper’s apps through iTunes, on Jobs’ new terms.

As for the packages themselves: As predicted, they hover around the $20-a-month mark, starting at $15 a month for Web + phone access, up to $35 a month for all-you-can-eat on every platform.

Crucially, the plan gives free access to all platforms for subscribers who get the Times delivered, in paper and ink format, to their homes. Those subscribers, for now, are the papers’ most treasured resource, and it wants to hang on to them for as long as it can.

Not coincidentally, the cheapest way to get the most access to the paper continues to be a print subscription, at least for new subscribers, and at least for now. (Thanks for the reminder, Ari Weinberg)

The last point is particularly interesting. The NYT is in a fantastically lucky place, in terms of being able to leverage threir literary celebrity to brazenly declare what was free suddenly off-limits, by erecting a toll booth in front of the communal trough. It takes balls, and I respect their decision, because I think they do deserve it.

But how interesting to find that part of their plan all along has been to price the digital media packages above the price of the print subscription, then make the more expensive service a ‘free feature’ of the other one!

They’ve just found the surest way to get newspapers back into houses that no one’s ever heard of. If this is just being unveiled, I imagine we’re in on the ground floor of a very cleverly designed transmedia campaign to get households back to see newspapers and especially the NYT as still relevant in the digital age.

I do think there is a market of 20 somethings that would suddenly look to getting their very own first print subscriptions…!

Kudos to NYT.

Disposable art. Beautful design & advertising from SXSW, pt. 2: Posters

Some of my favorite posters from SXSW. 

These things get put up all over the place – primarily on circular structural columns, stacking up 4 and 5 layers deep before being peeled off, but soon many areas turn into adhoc bulletin boards.  It can actually be tricky to get good shots of these as they get damaged and abused, which is part of what I found so interesting.  All this effort goes into creating unique images on high-quality stock, only to be used for 5 days, then discarded.

Facebook Turns Friend Activity Into New Ad Format

Facebook is rolling out Sponsored Stories, a new ad format that turns your friends’ actions into promoted content.

Sponsored Stories is “a way for marketers to sponsor activities that happen throughout the News Feed,” Facebook Product Marketing Lead Jim Squires told Mashable. Companies can choose to take certain user actions — such as checkins or actions within Facebook apps — and feature them in the column on the right side of the News Feed.

For example, if you’re Whole Foods and you’re looking to increase your exposure on Facebook, you can pay to have a percentage of all checkins to Whole Foods featured in a Sponsored Stories slot in the right-side column. Your content wouldn’t be shown directly, but the actions of a user’s friends would appear. Users seeing their friends “liking” or checking in to Whole Foods will drive increased trust and increased traffic.

“The advertiser is not controlling the message; it’s about actions,” Squires said.

Here’s an example of an action that could potentially be sponsored:

And here’s what it might look like as a Sponsored Story:

It’s actually a really intuitive, non-invasive form of social media advertising. Hurrah!