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Archive for July, 2005

Coverage of blog advertising

by henrycopeland
Monday, July 18th, 2005

Danny Glover gives a great overview of the revolution in advocacy advertising spawned by blogs in the National Journal. The lede says it all: “Advocacy is a staple of the blogosphere, and advocacy advertising on blogs is quickly becoming a popular tool for groups hoping to mobilize the online masses.”

I should also mention that Farah Miller, who has bought a number of blogads for books including Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore, Nicholson Baker’s Checkpoint and Camille Paglia’s Break Blow Burn, was the star of an article in Friday’s WSJ about new ideas in book marketing.

Book publishers generally stick to their tried-and-true formula for promoting a new novel: send the writer on tour, slip review copies to critics and negotiate strategic displays in bookstores. The Internet has been used to create barebones Web sites tied to new books, and the occasional advertising campaign on popular online destinations, but little more. Now, publishers like Knopf are hoping to supplement their traditional campaigns by wooing bloggers, giving away free copies online, and other initiatives.

You can see the full article here.

Buffett and the Washington Post

by henrycopeland
Monday, July 18th, 2005

Warren Buffett owns 20% of the Washington Post, currently valued at $1.7 billion dollars. It’s interesting to review Buffett’s steadily declining attitude towards the publishing industry and wonder: at what point does Buffett bail on WPO? Obviously, selling even 10% of WPO would be tough in the open market and destroy confidence in WPO’s business model. So what is a billionaire to do?

Charlie Munger, Buffett’s partner, said in 1986:

‘Newspapers are a marvelous business. It’s one of the few businesses that tend toward a natural, limited monopoly. Obviously, it competes with other advertising forms, but not with anything exactly like itself. Show me another business like that ‘ there isn’t one.’

Asked about selling shares, Warren Buffett in 2002:

“It’s not our natural inclination to sell. We’ve never sold a share of the Washington Post, Berkshire Hathaway (since we began acquiring it in 1962), Coke or Gillette.”

“We would sell if we needed the money for something else, but that hasn’t been a problem in the past 10-15 years. Earlier in my career, I had more ideas than money, but now it’s the reverse.”

“Now, we typically sell when we reevaluate the economic characteristics of a business; when we had one view of the long-term competitive advantage, but are modifying it. That’s not to say it’s become a bad business — just that the competitive advantages are not as strong as
we initially thought.”

“A classic case is the newspaper business. Decades ago [when Berkshire bought The Buffalo News and The Washington Post], it was impregnable. We still think it’s quite a business, but it’s not the same as in the 1970s. There are so many other sources of information now. Incidentally, the same thing has been happening to network television.”

And in 2004:

Buffett and Munger were surprisingly bearish on newspapers, a major investment for Berkshire through its large stake in the Washington Post Co. and its outright ownership of the Buffalo News.

After saying that he and Munger are “newspaper addicts” and that “it’s still an unusually good business,” Buffett struck a somber note.

“The economics of newspapers are very, very close to certain to deteriorate over the next 10-20 years,” he warned. “I see nothing that will turn around the erosion from both the circulation and advertising standpoints.”

Here’s a 15 year perspective on WPO.

Teething gains

by henrycopeland
Friday, July 15th, 2005

Tony Pierce, one of my favorite bloggers, finally started selling Blogads about a month ago. Yesterday, he wrote:

i have been using blogads since the day i was laid off and last month, full disclosure, i made $420. its not a lot but it was exactly how much the dentist charged me yesterday to do some serious work on me. and to rewind a little in the story, whats funny is nearly the second that blogads paypalled me the moola (so smart that they use paypal) the dentist office called me to see if i wanted to get my teeth worked on.

the beauty of having a paypal debit card is tuesday i was paypalled the cash from blog ads and wednesday i paid the dentist with the paypal debit card. my real bank stash was never touched and career builder and those indie movies basically paid for my dental work. the perfect circle.

Chamber of Commerce panels on blogs

by henrycopeland
Wednesday, July 13th, 2005

Damn, DC humidity is about 101% and my glasses fogged up walking through the door. I’m participating at a panel today sponsored by IDI and Rightclick at the American Chamber of Commerce.

On the first panel, Cheryl Contee gave a strong overview of blog phenomena — Rathergate, London bombing. Then some interesting stuff from Peter Hirshberg , a VP at Technorati.com. He shows a slide with the total number of bloggers, now 12 million. But how many of those are active? We get a hint in the next slide, charting the number of blog posts per day. Apparently this peaked last week during the London bombings at 1.1 million per day. So, assuming that some bloggers make dozens of posts a day, the media guy makes 3 and many make zero… do we have 200,000 active bloggers… ie people who post at least seven times a week?

A month ago, when I asked Technorati’s Dave Sifry when they were going to commercialize their blog tracking service, the answer wasn’t clear. Listening to Hirshberg, it seems they are a lot closer. I heard a bunch of things from Pete Blackshaw yesterday suggesting that his Blogpulse is going to take a big leap ahead in this dimension also in coming weeks.

Mike Cornfield or Pew Internet and American life project: bloggers are “gatekeepers for the gatekeepers.” But you’ve to go manage your boss’s expectations. “Everything interconnects. When you are online, you are one click away from e-mail, one click away from an institutional web site, one click away from gather money, mobalizing people, one click away from organizing people. Because interconnectivity is so easy, it is very easy to think you can go viral…. Things don’t go viral as part of anyone’s strategic command. We are riding the waves just like everyone else. Don’t go chasing after the big viral thing that is going to change the world because your boss will know you are full of it… Btu you don’t need to go viral to create action. Even if we only sign up 100 people or get four journalists to go to our website, we’ve succeeded.”

Pierced heart

by henrycopeland
Tuesday, July 12th, 2005

Tony Pierce: “mind over chatter.”

Alex Macris’ new gaming magazine offers a very usable update on the landscape display, something like what we saw previously with Seth Godin (in PDF) and the IHT.



by henrycopeland
Monday, July 11th, 2005

We’ve now published a page summarizing the mininetworks bloggers have been pulling together over the last couple of months. You can see it at www.blogads.com/advertise/order.

Tap this and can quickly advertise on a blogger-sorted list of Evangelical blogs, TV blogs, food blogs, gay blogs… all organized and supported by the members of those individual blogospheres. Note that, as an advertiser, you can click a bunch of these networks and build a “package of packages” and we’ll automatically cull duplications. (Are you a blogger who wants to form your own mininetwork? Drop me a line.)

Clark: blogads are ‘my favorite buzz seeding tool’

by henrycopeland
Friday, July 8th, 2005

Brian Clark, the philosopher king of blog advertising and maestro behind the Sharp, Audi and Levi’s blogads campaigns, has finally stepped from behind the curtain to talk about his strategies.

My favorite “buzz seeding” tool currently is the amazing network over at BlogAds.com in part because of the interesting things you can do when you leave the IAB standards behind…

I’m relieved to see Brian write this, because he’s been threatening to dis us to scare other creative advertisers away from his favorite fishing hole.

London echos

by henrycopeland
Friday, July 8th, 2005

Vauhini Vara does a good job of rounding up blogger reactions.

My favorite photo from yesterday.

How many bombers? The map says: one two

by henrycopeland
Thursday, July 7th, 2005

Looking this morning at the map of bombings in London, I was struck by the relatively narrow slice arc of London geography the bombers chose to attack. Why didn’t they also go for the tourist-strewn West End or posh Belgravia or strike right in the heart of the pin-striped City?

Looking again tonight, I notice that all those three trains and the bus passed through one junction — Kings Cross/St. Pancras tube/train/bus station. (I used to live right around the corner.)

Here’s the tube map. Edgeware road, Liverpool Street and Aldgate are all on the Circle line (yellow). And Russell Square is on the Picadilly line (blue), which also passes through Kings Cross.

TV commentators this morning suggested that the bombings may have been the work of 10 or 12 people. But the subway map suggests one person could have planted all three bombs simply by strolling around in the Kings Cross station and then surfacing to plant the final bomb on the bus on nearby Tavistock Square. And if the “cell” had more than one person, we’d have seen bombs on other transport axes.

Update: The NYT’s recap states that the two Circle Line trains were headed toward Kings Cross, but doesn’t specify the direction of the Picadilly Line train. If the latter was headed north, it’s conceivable that all three bombs were dispatched from the South Kensington station in the south west corner of the Circle Line, which is where all three trains might have crossed at roughly 8.30AM. But the Tavistock bus is tough to fit into this scenario. If there’s any truth to the lone bomber scenario, the good news is that he’ll be easier to identify in London’s omnipresent security cameras. The scenario also opens the door to non-jihadist Eric Rudolph-like culprits.

Huffington back at the anonymous well

by henrycopeland
Thursday, July 7th, 2005

Having decried anonymous sourcing last month the day after publishing anonymous speculation about Tom Cruise’s studio relationships — “I’m very much against the use of anonymous sources unless there’s some compelling public interest” — Arianna Huffington goes back to the well today after standing around with some insiders in Aspen, but not bothering to scribble down names.

A cluster of high-powered media insiders quickly switched over to ‘The Gossip-Driven Reality.’ The well-informed suppositions were flying faster than the peloton at the Tour de France. I can tell you what was said, I just can’t tell you who was saying it… According to the players, the key to whether this story has real legs — and whether it will spell the end of Rove — is determining intent. And a key to that is whether there was a meeting at the White House where Rove and Scooter Libby discussed what to do with the information they had gotten from the State Department…

Ahh, the joys of anonymous mud-slinging.

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