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December 07 2011


May 20 2011


Did you know that LinkedIn can be a huge traffic source?

Most media sites are obsessively focused on how to get more traffic from Facebook and Twitter, but few pay attention to LinkedIn. Big mistake. It is one of the fastest growing social networking sites with deep user loyalty and engagement, and is quickly becoming a big potential traffic source, especially to news and information sites.

On B2B sites, in fact, LinkedIn refers more traffic than Facebook and Twitter combined, according to a 2010 study by LeadForce.

Since LinkedIn launched its LinkedIn Today news section, sites have seen a big uptick in traffic from LinkedIn. The chart below from Silicon Alley Insider shows how dramatic the growth has been recently.

chart of the day, referrals by linkedin, may 2011

I’m increasingly meeting people who now visit LinkedIn on a daily basis and who find new features like LinkedIn Today incredibly valuable.


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May 11 2011


12 great tips for digital media startups (from Startup 2011)

Silicon Alley Insider’s Startup 2011 conference this week covered cover all the hot topics in entrepreneurship, from pivots to bubble talk, and left a pretty positive vibe about the New York startup community, capped by NYC Chief Digital Officer Rachel Sterne telling Silicon Valley to “Bring it on!”

Here are 12 of the best tips and takeaways for VCs and entrepeneurs from the conference…

  1. “Execution matters more than the idea” – Union Square Ventures’ Fred Wilson
  2. “And a great team is required for execution” – Venrock’s David Pakman
  3. Startups should stay lean until their user base isn’t lean, Fred Wilson said. No need to raise more capital. As proof, he reminded folks that, “Gowalla raised $8 million and it didn’t do shit for them. They still got their ass kicked” by Foursquare, which only raised $1 million in its first round.”
  4. “Most companies don’t get murdered, they commit suicide.” – Esther Dyson, meaning that they die when they cease to innovate
  5. “Talent attracts capital, not the other way around,” NYC Chief Digital Officer Rachel Sterne, who also added that NYC has plenty of capital already
  6. Venture capital is a service business: VC’s should treat entrepreneurs as their clients. – Fred Wilson
  7. “Do what you love” – sentiments echoed by both BetaWorks CEO John Borthwick and MeetUp co-founder Scott Heiferman
  8. “Find out who your users are and religiously passionately follow your users,” Borthwick says. One thing we do wrong, he says, is try to figure out a business model first before we figure out what our users want. To be truly successful, follow your users.
  9. Focus on your product, what you can control and how to “delight your customers.” - serial entrepeneur Gina Bianchini
  10. When you don’t have a business model, be open with your staff. – Mike Lazerow, Buddy Media CEO, discussing pre-pivot startups.
  11. For smart digital media marketing, read ”PyroMarketing: The Four-Step Strategy to Ignite Customer Evangelists and Keep Them for Life” – Betsy Morgan, President, TheBlaze.com
  12. Just do it. Scott Heiferman joked that if he was starting today he wouldn’t get anything done, because they are so many distractions. “You could spend all day sitting in stupid conferences like this,” he joked, urging folks to stop going to conference and go out and just build something.

What other tips do you have for startups? Post in the comments below.

May 05 2011


What media sites can learn from the airline industry

What if media organizations could upsell their audience on a better customer experience, the same way airlines charge more for Business class? Oliver Reichenstein, from the design agency Information Architects, proposes that news sites should do just that, rather than focus primarily on pay walls and charging for information. In other words, what he means is that they should try upsell their readers to a better experience, not to more or better information.

Reading news online feels like flying Economy. Loud distracting banners, cheap stock picture material, sloppy typography, a lot of useless comment noise, machine generated reading tips, no human service, and a claustrophobic information design make the reading experience a torture….

To be clear: content pay walls are not what we are suggesting. Remember, whether you fly Economy or Business: the result is the same (you travel from a to b), and only the experience differs. And likewise Business Class and Economy class seats on news sites should deliver the same content.

The idea of creating a business class for online news where is not about buying information, but buying better experience, it’s about service and customer experience.


May 04 2011


Why and how The Daily needs to be more ALIVE and real-time

While The Daily has improved some of the technological issues that plagued it early on, CBS MarketWatch founder Larry Kramer says it still has a ways to go to truly take advantage of the medium. He’d like to see “more interactive and video content, in real-time, bringing the story to life with every form of media available to the IPad.”

As a digital product it needs to stress the advantages of the media, and bring content to the reader in real-time and easy to digest, quick to access content. It also needs to be a place where text, photos, video and interactivity are used as part of the story telling process, which SHOULD be a much richer experience that can only be offered in this interactive world.

The App should also be “alive” when the IPad is connected to the internet via either WiFi or 3G. It should be constantly drawing down updated content and letting readers know that the content has arrived. The reason we need digitally native news products is because they are uniquely positioned to take advantage of the new digital platforms, NOT to do a good job of translating an old media product on to a new medium. News Corp.’s own New York Post app and Wall Street Journal app do the best job of THAT.

Instead, The Daily needs to be a medium that SHOUTS the advantages of being digitally tethered to the sources of news. The publication should be delivering both content AND context in real-time, and its audience should expect no less. There has been little attempt to create context beyond an uncomfortable combination of magazine and newspaper display.

April 14 2010


Interview with Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Mark Fiore

Animated cartoonist Mark Fiore was just named the Pulitzer Prize winner for editorial cartooning. CyberJournalist.net interviewed Fiore back in 2002, shortly after he won the Online Journalism Award for commentary. In this Q&A with CyberJournalist.net’s Jonathan Dube, Fiore explains why “technology doesn’t make the cartoon” and that the key to making an animated cartoon effective is “having something to say.”

January 29 2010


Why the iPad could be bad for publishers

IAB’s Randall Rothenberg argues that the iPad could be bad for publishers because the proliferation of device-based walled gardens risks fragmenting audiences and “a company’s opportunity to create, sell and use advertising effectively and profitably will depend on its ability to deliver it seamlessly across multiple devices.”

“Without continuing, concerted, cross-industry commitment to managing transactional complexity in the marketing-media supply chain, the iPad and its ilk might only make publishers’ problems worse,” he says.

He offers two suggestions if ad-supported media are to survive:

  1. Device manufacturers and the proprietors of other walled gardens should work collaboratively to adopt consistent standards to allow the advertising and marketing economies to flourish.
  2. To the degree that the walled gardens create impediments to scale, publishers need to find other sources of revenue. Media companies must redouble their efforts to add marketing services to their sets of offerings.

January 06 2010


Michael Kinsley: Newspapers are failing because articles are too long

In an 1,800-word article for The Atlantic, Michael Kinsley says “one reason seekers of news are abandoning print newspapers for the Internet has nothing directly to do with technology. It’s that newspaper articles are too long. On the Internet, news articles get to the point.”

December 11 2009


Newspapers without newsprint

Guest Essay By A. E. P. (Ed) Wall

Eighty years ago I watched my grandpa as he read the Jamestown Post.

My grandma read Street and Smith’s Love Story magazine, while my mom was immersed in the CLSC – the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Society. I still have the diploma she was awarded at the Chautauqua Institution sometime around 1930. My dad went for detective stories.

I thought my grandpa’s choice was the best, because newspapers had comic strips. It was like learning how to play the game when, at age 4, I was enrolled in kindergarten, where Rose Crane taught me to read. Since then I’ve read every word that’s passed my eyes, beginning with signs posted in the streetcars warning that spitting was awful. It took me a while to learn that spitting may be awful, but the sign really said it was unlawful. So many words. So little time to learn them all.

Maybe it was genes, maybe it was destiny or maybe it was just plain luck that I became a newspaper reporter and editor. Maybe it was a blessing from God, like my children and grandchildren.

My life has been wrapped in newsprint.

So how come I’ve just cancelled my subscriptions to four daily newspapers?

Before that, things happened. Newspapers stopped using lead type and Linotype machines. They stopped using zinc for pictures. They even stopped using typewriters. Ways to publish the news have changed since Ben Franklin printed a page at a time.

The online newspaper editions are pretty good, and getting better. The arrival of an Amazon Kindle book machine at my house this week stirred things up. I stopped home delivery of countless pounds of paper and subscribed to two of the dailies via Kindle. The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune are ready for me by 5 in the morning, and dozens of papers are reachable through Kindle and my computer.

My dad earned his living playing the pipe organ during silent movies, providing the “bells and whistles” for the celluloid dramas. As a boy I learned how to set type by hand, reaching into the right compartment for each letter without a glance. Movie and publishing methods have gotten a lot better. Thanks for the memories, Mr. Gutenberg.

(Wall, 84, is former managing editor of The Honolulu Advertiser.)

This post was submitted by Arthur Wall.

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