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Archive for February, 2004

Blogads at the Oscars

by henrycopeland
Thursday, February 5th, 2004

The folks at DigitalHit wrote me tonight. “We’re going to be backstage blogging the Oscars for the sixth year in a row…hell, we were doing up-to-the-minute backstage reports even before we knew it was “blogging”. ;-)”

Go buy an ad from them. Only $25 a week!

When, 93 minutes into the event, 200 million Americans Google “Renée Zellweger flashing” — your ad will star!

News flash

by henrycopeland
Wednesday, February 4th, 2004

Blogs had a huge traffic surge Sunday night minutes after Janet Jackson’s breast-baring. Traffic on Blogcritics went up 50-fold in minutes. As blogger Adrian Holvaty noted, it was impossible to get this news “flash” from traditional outlets:

…I saw it — live. Er, I thought I saw it. I wasn’t sure. The camera cut away so quickly that I couldn’t really tell what’d happened. So I did what any self-respecting Internet-junkie would do: I flipped open my laptop and hit the Web. CNN had nothing. MSNBC had nothing. Neither did the New York Times, Washington Post or Chicago Tribune. Google News didn’t say anything about it, either. I checked a bunch of other big-media sites but couldn’t find any coverage. [Via Jeff Jarvis]

In part, this was a question of those outlets decency standards. They couldn’t show the actual event.

But, as we sort through the logs and aftermath, it appears that much of this traffic was, actually, driven through search engines. Search engine Lycos reports

Prior to this week, the most-searched event in the history of the Lycos 50 over a one-day period was the September 11 attack on America. Although it is very difficult to compare searches for the two events, it looks like the Super Bowl halftime show was the equal of September 11 when it comes to Internet attention. That is, to put it bluntly, mind-blowing.

Why is it difficult to compare? The Super Bowl halftime show was a single event. Searches revolved almost entirely around two phrases, either Super Bowl halftime or Janet Jackson. Everybody knew exactly what they were looking for.

On September 11, however, nobody really knew what they were looking for. Confusion about what had happened, not to mention multiple attacks, caused Lycos users to search for a huge number of different terms, from the places attacked (World Trade Center, Pentagon, New York City) to those attacking us (Osama bin Laden, Taliban) to a hoax about a prediction of the attack (Nostradamus).

Now, when you add all those different terms together, you get less than half as many search requests as we received on Monday for Janet Jackson and the Super Bowl halftime show. However, you also have to consider the massive rise in searches for terms like breaking news and latest news on September 11, and searches for news organizations from CNN to FOX.

There was no similar rise in searches for news organizations on Monday, with one exception: The Drudge Report, which posted pictures of the exposed breast, received 30 times the searches it gets on a normal day.

Add the increase in news searches on September 11 to all the specific searches for September 11-related topics, and the total is roughly equivalent to the number of searches for Janet Jackson and the halftime show. Still, the fact that a single breast received as much attention as the first attack on United States soil in 60 years is beyond belief.

I’d say this trend doesn’t say so much about American interest in the two events as about American consumption of news in the 25 months since September 2001. Here’s my post about how September 11 turned me into a rabid blog reader.

A fun toy

by henrycopeland
Wednesday, February 4th, 2004

Try it yourself…

Study: publishers should sell print subscriptions online with credit cards

by henrycopeland
Wednesday, February 4th, 2004

WSJ reports newspapers who sell print subscriptions online do better:

“The cost of acquiring a subscriber historically has been lowest in telemarketing, but that doesn’t factor in how long you keep the subscriber,” said John Murray, vice president of circulation at the Newspaper Association of America. According to an NAA study, new subscriptions generated through telemarketing have a retention rate of 28% after one year, the weakest result of all marketing tools.

But when a subscriber signs up over the Internet, the retention rate after one year jumps to 51%. Direct-mail and carrier solicitations, meanwhile, retain customers at a rate of 50% and 53%, respectively, after a year. Those who sign up unsolicited, known as “voluntary” subscribers, have a 60% retention rate.

The most effective way to hang on to subscribers is by offering so-called easy-pay programs, in which subscribers are automatically billed on their debit or credit cards. Those programs have retention rates of 85% and 79%, respectively, the NAA study found.

Despite those high rates, industrywide less than 5% of newspaper subscribers pay by credit card. “The low usage of easy-pay appears to be attributable to a lack of promotion,” said Fred Searby, newspaper analyst at J.P. Morgan, in a research report.

Dean blog copied in f’urn countries

by henrycopeland
Wednesday, February 4th, 2004

Doug Arellanes reports from Prague that Czech “fugitive financier and EU parliamentary candidate Viktor Kožený’s website design was stolen lock, stock and barrel from US Presidential candidate Howard Dean.

Put your right foot in…

by henrycopeland
Wednesday, February 4th, 2004

Ever the athlete, my friend Rick Bruner tackles a new challenge.

Advertise on Instapundit

by henrycopeland
Tuesday, February 3rd, 2004

Steve Outing gets credit for scooping everyone but Glenn Reynolds by reporting that Instapundit is now selling blogads.

The story now isn’t old media versus new, print versus pixels, journalists versus bloggers, broadcast versus network… it’s corporate media versus the corpuscles.

Okrent: All the news that’s fit to print… or just NYT news?

by henrycopeland
Sunday, February 1st, 2004

A cutting self-analysis by Dan Okrent in today’s NYT, highlighting three recent stories that the Times missed. missed. “In the last several weeks, three stories launched elsewhere have been either diminished or disregarded by The Times. (Of course, among major news organizations, this not-invented-here attitude is no more exclusive to The Times than are commas.) In each case, the effort to maintain a high level of what people around here call ‘competitive metabolism’ has not served the readers well.”

1) “Last October, The Blade in Toledo, Ohio, published a series of articles revealing that ‘members of a platoon of American soldiers known as Tiger Force slaughtered an untold number of Vietnamese civilians over a seven-month period in 1967.’ The series was the product of 10 months of research conducted on two continents and in seven states.” The Times ignored the story until December 28. Executive Editor Bill Keller, writes Okrent, “told me that if his own staff had developed the Blade series, he would have put it on the front page. Yet at least partly because it was someone else’s, it ended up diminished, delayed and, in some eyes, devalued.”

2) The Times didn’t have access to former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, when his book blasting the Bush administration was released. “For the historical record provided by the newspaper of record, explosive revelations about a sitting president by one of his appointees were consigned to Pages A11, A22 and A13.”

3) Finally, the Times failed to report a nuanced and powerful report about Iraqi arms in the Washington Post. Checking the facts would have been too hard, rationalizes the NYT, says Okrent. The Times excuses itself by saying it doesn’t rehash other people’s stories. “But it’s not as if The Times, and every other newspaper on the planet, doesn’t consistently publish material it hasn’t gathered on its own. When a district attorney announces an indictment, The Times doesn’t assume it needs weeks to interview witnesses, check allegations or otherwise vet the prosecutor’s charges. When a politician makes a speech, there’s often so much taken at face value a critic could argue (and in my e-mail, many, many do) that the paper is shilling for the politician. Having read Barton Gellman’s words for many years, why can’t Times editors have as much faith in them as in John Kerry’s, or Dick Cheney’s, or the Santa Barbara County prosecutor’s? They – the editors – may read The Washington Post. But how many of their readers do?”

“I understand why competition is necessary to inspire the troops. I also understand that Macy’s never carried anything with a Gimbel’s label sewn into it. But maybe The Times’s insistence on stamping its own brand on everything it touches ends up diminishing what it delivers. If the goal of newspapering is to inform the readers and create a historical record, shouldn’t the editors be telling us about everything they think is important, no mater where they find it?”

Okrent sure sounds like a blogger.

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