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Business Week cover story paints the wrong picture

Written by kathy on Sunday, 15 of October 2006 at 1:02 pm

I wrote the following on the blog about the Click Fraud cover story in a recent issue of Business Week:

I think the article explained click fraud pretty well but did so only after painting all online advertising as fraudulent. The cover itself, if one were walking by a newsstand, gives the impression that online advertising is somehow deceitful and not trustworthy.

As the director of Internet operations for a small daily newspaper in Northeastern Pennsylvania, I was especially annoyed by the unsourced statement on page 49 and repeated in the sidebar on page 56 that “There is concern that some media companies commit impression fraud by overstating the number of visitors to their sites.” Concern from whom? This so-called concern as never been brought to my attention or to the attention of any of my colleagues.

I’d like to know who is concerned.

I think it’s irresponsible for Business Week to parade click fraud, a very real problem on SOME Web sites, as the poster child for all online advertising. Your cover design was intended to spark fear in the market and your unnamed sources only served to fuel that fire without any evidence.

Please name the source of the concerned so that we, in the responsible online media realm, can address those concerns.

I’m disappointed that neither of the authors nor the editor decided to respond. I guess that’s answers my question about who is concerned about traditional media’s online media traffic stats — no one is.

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Category Kathy,Media

How clean is your fire truck?

Written by kathy on Sunday, 24 of September 2006 at 11:55 am

Seth Godin, change agent, marketer, not sure what he does — wrote this insightful post about why fire trucks are always sparkling clean.

Made me think about the change we are experiencing in our industry to become more competitive in the increasingly fragmented and digital marketplace.

Part of it is the ability to be interative. The Internet isn’t about perfection, it’s interative. If we wait for everything we produce to be perfect and to have a process in place to “control” it, we lose first-mover status which is important if you want to be innovative and all successful companies are innovative and iterative.

Here’s a quote from an article about what changes Proctor & Gamble are going through to meet the new marketplace demands which references my favorite reference to perfection as a hindrance by Meg Whitman:

Stop testing so much. It’s not the P&G way to put out a product without test-marketing it. But consumer testing takes time–a luxury that P&G execs increasingly don’t have. Says Susan Arnold, P&G’s beauty queen: “We don’t have time to cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s. This business is trend-based and fashion-based. You have to be intuitive, instinctual, and gut-driven.” … P&G has reduced product launch time from lab to roll-out from three years to 18 months companywide. Meg Whitman, eBay’s CEO and a P&G board member, believes that P&G should move even faster. “Perfection is the enemy of good enough,” she says. “I think that’s right,” says Lafley.

So, the next time you are heading into yet another meeting about whether or not to create a new online section or try out a new column in the newspaper, ask yourself if you’re just cleaning the old fire truck again.

– Sorry for the long post.
Kathy

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Category Media

Don’t believe the hype

Written by kathy on Tuesday, 19 of September 2006 at 10:24 am

There are lots of commentators predicting the death of newspapers. They point to falling circulation and the shift in advertising dollars from print to other media, including the Internet.

I don’t argue that the newspaper industry is undergoing a transition. But, it’s irresponsible to assume we are not actively participating in our transition. Sure, change is slow and our readers and advertisers are probably moving faster than we are right now. But, if you look closely, we are moving.

At the tiny Pocono Record, for example, we break news first on our Web site. Recently, there was a fire in downtown Stroudsburg around 9:30 p.m. We had it first on our site with pictures and subscribers to our text alert service got the news on their cell phones soon after.

The ongoing news reporting through multiple media makes our print presentation, which more than 50% of the market still wants, that much stronger. We were recognized by the Poytner Institute for our front-page coverage of that story. Click here for a screenshot of the coverage.

We recently started producing audio slideshows. The slideshows are a great way to capture the emotion of a scene through sounds that complement the fantastic photography of our staff photographers. Some would say, “big deal, lots of sites do this and even do video.” Well, they’re right. And we have plans to start capturing stories with video but I don’t think it’s the technology that’s makes a difference.

Anyone can do a slideshow. I make them for my family but that doesn’t mean they are any good. Any can shoot video.

But doing it well is a lot harder than it looks. Our reporters, photographers and editors are trained to tell compelling stories in ways that capture imagination and inform. To say it’s responsible is an understatement. We have a public duty to report. Do the millions of bloggers out there hold the same duty? I doubt it.

And who blogs about the Poconos anyway? Who reports on what the school board discussed last night? Who captures the images of the local 9/11 Memorial Ceremony to share with those who couldn’t attend? Who goes to every high school football games, writes down the statistics, takes pictures of the best plays, and compiles all that information into a package for online and print readers to engage with at their leisure?

Well, no one does that except the Pocono Record.

Are there challenges facing us and the industry at large? Absolutely. Are we sitting around doing nothing about it? Absolutely not.
Great content wins the day. Our business might be different in a few years, but we’ll still be the public record for the Poconos for many years to come.

My friend and colleague at the Knoxville News Sentinel wrote this in his blog:

The number one thing that newspapers have is that a newspaper throws away more content in a day than Yahoo makes in a year.

Shawn Riegsecker, CEO of Centro, a Chicago-based media buying firm

Riegsecker was speaking Tuesday at the Newspaper Association of America conference for newspaper investors. The quote was in a story in Online Media Daily from MediaPost CommunicationsHis point was the biggest advantage newspaper Web sites have over competitors like portal sites is a large amount of quality content that advertisers want to be placed alongside, the article said.

Another notable comment in the story was that Tribune Co. said interactive revenues will be $225 million or 6 percent of publishing revenues this year and will be 12 to 15 percent within four years.

Dying? No. Different? Yes.

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Category Kathy,Media

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The Schwartz Family is an active American family living in the northeast region of Pennsylvania. This site is a way to keep in touch with friends and family while also keeping up with and trying the latest technology. So, if something doesn't work, please let us know!