Our blog | Blogads

Archive for February, 2008

Stupid comScore and stupidder journalists

by henrycopeland
Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

ComScore released an estimate yesterday suggesting that the number of clicks on Google ads has fallen. Even as Google’s traffic is growing 40%, comScore asserted that clicks were down 7% in January versus December and flat year on year.

The press uniformly covered the story as though comScore’s numbers are fact and not an estimate. “Google hit by economic slump.” “Google growth isn’t clicking.”

Even the SJ Mercury News, which should know its way around a story like this or at least be able to pick up a phone and call some people who know something offered this lame and incomplete gloss: ” Google’s paid “clicks” on search ads fell 7 percent between December and January and have not grown from the previous year, according to comScore, which measures Internet audiences.”

Missing words: “estimated” or “projected.”

Kinda like reporting a pre-election poll as the outcome of the election. And journalists would never do that, right? (Hmm.)

Google’s value fell 7% at one point early in the day.

Compounding the silliness: a little checking would show that comScore’s numbers are notoriously flawed, manufactured from a series of estimates of estimates, interpolations from tiny samples. A stroll over to the desk of the resident newspaper web teams would yield a stream of colorful comments about how clueless comScore is when it comes to guestimating web audiences and activity.

My money says comScore and the hundreds of journalists who reported its projections as reality will end up looking like idiots on this one.

Update: other folks familiar with search and comScore seem to agree. See David Rodnitzky for example. By day’s end, even comScore was backpeddling vigorously.

Meanwhile, Brian Morrissey at Adweek reports: “SearchIgnite, a search management technology company employed by agencies and marketers, reports that in the first month-and-a-half of this year, paid clicks on Google are up 45.7 percent compared to the year-ago period. Advertiser spending climbed 40 percent. What’s more, ad impressions rose 60 percent.”

More comScore crow-munching. .

I think the dudes at Google are gonna have a major laugh when they publish Q1 results.

Conspiracy of dunces

by henrycopeland
Sunday, February 24th, 2008

Conspiring in broad daylight, the banks, insurance companies and regulators are scrambling to use bank money ($3 billion) to backstop the companies that insure the bonds ($2 trillion) that the banks own so the bonds be downgraded and drop in value. The WSJ reports:

“It became clear to all the different stakeholders…that if you had the right people talking, there was an intersection of interests that could be discovered,” a senior Treasury Department official said. “Our goal was to have people focus on the potential of that intersection.”

Take a look at the numbers, and you’ll see the whole thing is a shell game conducted in slow motion with drunken, arthritic hands. It wouldn’t fool a fifth grader, but then most fifth graders don’t have enough money in the bank and have a wish stake in seeing the shell game succeed.

Halloran on Russia

by henrycopeland
Thursday, February 21st, 2008



by henrycopeland
Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

Claiming that little journalism is original these days, UK investigative journalist Nick Davies

commissioned Cardiff University’s journalism department to do a study on the state of the industry.

The study looked at all domestic news stories over a two-week period from five British newspapers, including the quality papers–the Times of London, the Daily Telegraph, the Independent, the Guardian–and one mid-market paper, the Daily Mail.

The researchers looked at 2,207 stories.

They also had the Guardian news desk send along all of the material–such as press releases and wire stories–that the journalists had access to during that period.

The survey found that 80 percent of the stories in these papers–some of the most prestigious in the country–were wholly or mainly or partly based on information from pr departments or wire stories. The researchers weren’t sure on the origins of another 8 percent of the stories.

Only 12 percent were clearly original.

Further, the researchers found that when stories hinged on a specific fact, there was clear evidence that fact was checked in only 12 percent of stories.

Words that matter

by henrycopeland
Monday, February 18th, 2008

Tony and Kareem

by henrycopeland
Saturday, February 16th, 2008

The web is host to many miracles, small and large.

In chapter 153,479,934 of the web’s weird, wired wonderfulness, my buddy Tony Pierce helps teach one Kareem Abdul-Jabbar how to blog.

Subhed of the week

by henrycopeland
Saturday, February 16th, 2008

“Gore and Pelosi See Role as Honest Brokers in Tight Contest.”

The Onion?

No, front page, right column of the New York Times.

Ruffini vs Ron Paul

by henrycopeland
Saturday, February 16th, 2008

Patrick Ruffini, one of the tiny handful of GOP strategists who get online and social media, is gleefully pushing for Ron Paul’s primary defeat.

Here’s what Ron Paul says about TX-14: ‘If I were to lose the primary for my congressional seat, all our opponents would react with glee.’ Give what you can. Ron Paul is running scared ‘ using his Presidential campaign’s donors’ money to subsidize a desperate last-minute attempt to save his Congressional seat.

Ron Paul is, of course, the GOP presidential candidate who did not write the anti-Semitic, racists, paranoid bile that appeared in his eponymous newsletters for several decades.

Belated Valentines: DK says it best

by henrycopeland
Saturday, February 16th, 2008


Austro Hungary in three sentences

by henrycopeland
Saturday, February 16th, 2008

Christopher Hitchens in the March Atlantic:

In his essay on Malinowski, Ernest Gellner wrote of how the borderline and marginal peoples of Austria-Hungary needed three things from their benign, whiskered old monarch. The required insurance against mutual fratricide, protection of local and eccentric cultures and guarantees against the ambitions of Germany and Russia. By giving way first to micro and then to macro anti-Semitism, not only did this fair approximation of a civilization lose its best minds; it lost its collective min, and thus managed to invite the two worst possible fates by beckoning on first a German and then a Russian imperium.”

Our Tweets