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What it's all about

I’m uploading audio to the new music site right now and listening to the podcast with Bagg that was recorded in our office yesterday.  It closes with a quote I only want to hear about a gajillion more times:

This was, like, our first recorded interview anywhere.

Welcome to the Long Tail, friends.

Finding our level

You win some, you lose some.

Blair got into the Winter Meetings.

Kevin wasn’t so lucky:

From: Rose Bowl Media
[mailto:XXXXX@pac-10.org]
Sent: Tuesday, December 13, 2005 11:50
AM
To: kevinXXXX@pegasusnews.com
Cc:
kevinXXXXX@pegasusnews.com
Subject: Credential Status: 2006 Rose Bowl
Media

Dear Kevin McCrea:

Due to limited space
and an overwhelming demand for credentials, we are forced to limit issuance of
credentials to those media outlets that meet the credential policy for the Bowl
Championship Series Games. That being the case, I am afraid I must deny your
request for credentials.

Well, we’ll certainly bury the Rose Bowl coverage on the new Texas Gigs (which is launching Monday even if I have to swallow my pride and stick a "beta" tag on it).

A fair exchange

As we talk to prospective readers and partners, I’m pleasantly surprised that far fewer people than I expected are creeped out by the idea of behavioral targeting. (Or at least far fewer say so than I expected.)

Fred Wilson thinks that people understand the bargain that’s being made, and that as long as there is value to the user, people don’t mind giving up the info:

While this may be problematic in certain privacy respects, it is
hugely beneficial in most respects.  Do you want to know where your
teenage daughter is at 11pm after she fails to call you as she
promised?  Do you want to know where the nearest Starbucks or Jamba
Juice or subway stop is? Would you like to be able to text message your
buddies the exact location of the cool bar you are hanging out in?  I
think you get the picture.

This leads me to … Matt Blumberg, who wrote a post called The New Media Deal in the spring of 2004 which remains in my mind one of the most important posts I have read in blogs in the past couple years.

In this post, Matt describes the new deal consumers are making via
technology.  We are consciously or subconsciously sacrificing absolute
privacy in return for anywhere, anytime, my way content and
communication.

As Matt says in his post,

But I think it’s becoming increasingly clear that we have a New Media
Deal, which is that people are willing to sacrifice their anonymity in
a heartbeat if the value exchange is there.

So
we can wring our hands all we want about the privacy issues with
respect to geolocation on cell phones, or behavioral targeting on the
web, or saved search history on Google, but my feeling is that the
benefits of these technologies will vastly outweigh the loss of privacy
for most people most of the time and that’s really all that matters.

The new frontier

A new Forrester study is full of interesting info on youth media consumption. The upshot is that if you’re doing anything analog, stop.

Interestingly, what that means is that word of mouth is more important than ever:

Young consumers represent the social marketing vanguard. Fifty-two
percent say they rely on recommendations from friends or family when
making a purchase, compared with just 34 percent of adults.

Note that it didn’t say they rely on recommendations from strangers who posted a review to get an Ipod.

But for me, this was the most interesting point:

The Forrester study also dispels a myth about young consumers and
advertising. Young consumers are more open to advertising than their
parents are, although both generations are skeptical of the ads that
they encounter.

“Young consumers have no preconceived notions
of what advertising should be,” said Charron. “They have no problem
with the lines between advertising and editorial being blurry. Because
they have grown up to be more self-reliant in a digital environment,
they have confidence in their ability to distinguish between the two.
And there’s more good news for marketers: The viral nature of their
communication with each other is a behavior that marketers can tap
into.”

I suspect that in twenty years when we look back at the seizmic shift that occurred in how we consume media, the failure of mainstream media to grasp this point appropriately will have been the tipping point.

It’s hard for me to get, as I’m a straddler of the old and new worlds.

On the one hand, I and all my journalistic brethren have been bathing in the Kool Aid that we call the "Chinese Wall" or "separation of Church and State" for a couple generations. And that’s a Good Thing.

On the other hand, those greedy ad folk (of which I am also a member) are gonna see data like this and start advertorial-izing, product placing and demanding to sell front page stories.

And both groups will be wrong.

Markets are a conversation.

People talk about lots of things. Sometimes it’s the local football team. Sometimes it’s where to eat. Sometimes it’s accountability of government. Sometimes it’s what to buy.

The generation coming up now has seen so much media, so much meta-media, and so many cheesy come-ons that they know every trick in the book.

The Forrester study adds creedence to what I’ve been intuiting for a while. Advertising and content lines are going to blur. BUT, that will necessitate a more open, honest conversation no matter what the topic. Or you’ll be tuned out with the rest of the rabble.

"But advertisers will buy off the integrity of journalists!", you say.

Maybe in a world where you buy ad space in a publication and just hope something happens, that’s the danger. But when it’s pay-for-performance, and your audience is too savvy to be rooked by a crap product just because a talking head says so, the rules of the game are going to change.

Warm feelings for online journalism

It may be cold in Dallas, spurring school closings and cries of apocalypse, but I’m feeling warm about the prospects for pure online journalism.
Blair
First, the Pulitzer committee lurches into the late-middle twentieth century.

Then, I see our own Blair Lovern, Pegasus News’ first credentialled journalist, in this AP photo covering the MLB Winter Meetings.

Cool.

My Space (as long as I don't have to pay for anything)

Now that we’re letting out our inner music geeks, I’ve been paying a lot more attention to MySpace.

Interesting note from a band mailing list
about getting positioning on MySpace’s homepage.

One of the band members posted the numbers:

  • number of times their music was played: around 20,000
  • number of MySpace friend requests: 1200
  • number of mailing list signups: over 100
  • number of CDs sold: ZERO

There are a lot of theories on this one. Mine is that no one enters through the MySpace homepage once they’ve got their own profile.

Insidious

I’ve about had it with comments/trackback. You won’t see this, because I moderate now, but we got bombed with spam comments and trackback again this weekend. The annoyance is that there were real comments and trackbacks too, so I had to at least scan hundreds of emails to separate wheat from chaff.

(And yes, I know there are things I could do to force verification, but none of them work very well and it’s a waste of energy when I intend to move this blog into our publishing system in a few weeks.)

I guess I should be flattered that we get enough traffic to warrant. We’ve even become a target for splogs of late.

Russell Beattie
has an eeevill thought about how to capitalize on splogging.

I could make mad bank on "Citizen" Watches and Barbie and the magic of "Pegasus."

Buzzing locally

The latest issue of BusinessWeek focuses on the "MySpace Generation," a group we’re learning a lot about as we work on the TexasGigs site. Local promoters BuzzOven are the lead exemplar in the piece.

I’ve been struck that the MySpace phenomenon is a good example of where a "distributed" information marketplace is terribly inefficient. As we’re profiling bands, we’re finding that most maintain and update their own websites (usually with excessive Flash programming); a MySpace site; and often a PureVolume site as well.

When do they have time to make music?

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