Monthly archive

September 2005 - page 4

You can't aggregate what isn't there

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Earthlink joins the hordes trying to do local via aggregation, in this case using Topix and Google. Both are fine services, but can only deliver the volume and relevance freely available online. And locally — where most people live and spend their money — it just ain’t there.

That’s why any successful local play has to be a hybrid of original content and aggregation.

A pivotal moment

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To expand on my earlier post about Katrina and new media: This does look to be an accelerator for the acceptance of change in the who, what and how of information delivery:


"I think something very important happened in New Orleans," [Jeff] Jarvis
says. "Something profound happened in the news business when the
presses broke and the broadcasting towers came down… It’s a moment
we’re going to look back on from journalism schools for years hence as
a moment when the news business really changed."


"The best reporting in the world [~] no hyperbole, the best reporting in
the world [~] this week came from the web division of the New Orleans
Times Picayune, nola.com," says the Radio Open Source weblog.

Of course, it wasn’t just the web outlets of the traditional providers — Much of the life-saving information was coming out of blogs, some by professionals like Brian Oberkirch, some by concerned neighbors.

One key problem here: There’s no good way to separate your wheat from your chaff among the cacophony of blogs and wikis, and the MSM is doing a lousy job of making use of citizen contributions.

No room! No room!

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I spend so much time talking up Pegasus News these days that it’s rare that I get thrown a curveball in the Q&A section. But last week, someone challenged me on how we’d allocate ad inventory if we were so successful (!) that we had more ads than pages.

At the time, I thought it a strange question — but apparently some online ad networks are facing just such a problem.

But, if you’re selling behavior instead of space (ie: the ad is tied to the user(s) not the page) and charging on a pay-for-performance basis), I have a hard time thinking that there would be much of an inventory issue. Unless, of course, your users don’t…use.

Link via Adjab.

Katrina and new media

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I continue to be amazed and saddened by the fallout from Hurricane Katrina. Many folks with computers and internet connections have done a remarkable job of connecting people with information and donations.

A few media-related themes have emerged:

  • "Citizen’s Journalism" is now the official term, as decreed by CNN and the other MSM outlets getting their best stuff from non-professional journos.
       
  • While the efforts of many to connect many are remarkable, the need for editors, for filtering, for (dare I say it) centralization are in sharp relief.
       
  • Internet coverage doesn’t do you a bloody lot of good when you have no electricity and no connectivity. It’s not a cure-all, but if this country was where Japan and Europe were two years ago in terms of mobile phone technology, people would have had a better chance of getting and relaying information.

Some interesting thoughts from Jeff Jarvis and Mark Cuban.


UPDATE: Yahoo! has the tool that’s been needed to unify the databases of lost & found.

The price is right

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WARNING: Serious media geekery below…

If I had a dime for every minute I’ve spent in a conference room with other media folk debating the right price, if any, for a subscription to the online version of a print product, I’d have a lot of freakin’ dimes.

Perhaps because it hit on the holiday weekend; perhaps because it’s 55 pages of equations and terms like "heteroskedacity," there hasn’t been the discussion I would have expected on Matthew Gentzlow’s Valuing New Goods in a Model with Complementarity: Online Newspapers.

(For the record, I support the rights of those of all skedacities.)

The upshot is that, for The Washington Post online, at least, economic analysis suggests that the correct subscription price is around .14-.20/day. Interestingly, with advertising, the real optimal price is around .09/day. But credit card processing fees make such a low price unattractive.

Further analysis from Rich Gordon.

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