Our blog | Blogads

Archive for November, 2008

Memory RIP

by henrycopeland
Sunday, November 30th, 2008

Michael Greenberg in NYRB:

members of the Cambridge Psychological Society were asked to reconstruct a meeting of the society that had taken place two weeks before. The average person was barely able to recall 8 percent of what had happened, and almost half of this was incorrect, peppered with the recollection of events that had never occurred or that had occurred elsewhere.

Blogads on tour

by henrycopeland
Friday, November 28th, 2008

Sean-Paul Kelley, who spearheads LBAN, at Angkor Wat.

BlogAds Does Angkor Wat

Arianna and Croesus

by henrycopeland
Monday, November 24th, 2008

Huffpo is apparently on the verge of raising $15 million from the likes of Oak Investment Partners to replenish the political web publisher’s nearly depleted coffers.

Word was the site needed to raise at least $5 million by January to make it another year.

If I were investing in a political site, I’d want to see three months worth of post election traffic data to get a baseline for projections. And if I were investing in a publisher at a time when ad revenues are in an as-yet-undetermined downtrend, I’d do my best to delay buying for another month or three. And if I knew my negotiating partner was a few days from the abyss, I wouldn’t be catching the express train to conclude a deal. Why not walk?

So Arianna has got to be a hell of salesperson to get VCs to accomodate her burn-driven timeline in this dire environment.

Arianna’s feat is triply impressive because VCs rarely invest in publishers. While tech companies can grow exponentially (for a period), a publisher’s growth is linear.

Credit default swaps lead to hell

by henrycopeland
Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

The key words are at the end of the video (below) are “ad infinitum.”

Credit default swaps (wikipedia article) sound like pretty abstract stuff, but it’s huge (>$60 trillion) and deadly. And when they start exploding they explode ad infinitum.

Unfortunately, none of the credit default swap risks are offsetting (since almost never done with the same counterparty). They are cumulative. The weakest player’s insolvency becomes everyone’s insolvency. The CDS infinite loop may be the unstoppable nuclear reaction that destroys all concepts of money, credit and trust that our economy, culture and society rest on.

It’s possible that the collapse in insurance company shares (MET, PRU, HIG) and certain banks (C) versus the relative stability of the Dow Industrials (green), reflect CDS risk.

And the fact that gold prices have been relatively stable for three months even as all other commodity prices tumbled also suggests an undercurrent of positioning for risk. At the edges, society is already starting to price for this instability. Cans of spam, shotguns and gold coins are in high demand. (Is there also a quiet run on penicillin and water filters?)

Sounds crazy, right? The collapse of a giant edifice of reason and rationalization is, by definition, crazy.

Untangling credit default swaps from Marketplace on Vimeo.

Also here’s an overview from This American Life.

Layne de Noon

by henrycopeland
Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

Few things better than Wonkette deconstricting Peggy Noonan’s weekly column.

Journalism bailout?

by henrycopeland
Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

Six Apart has launched a grand sounding scheme to rescue journalists from their capsizing employers. Simon Owens, writing for PBS’s MediaShift, forced me to think hard about the scheme. Turns out I gave it low odds of success:

Copeland told me that journalists — even good ones — often don’t adapt well to blogging. The medium requires more than good writing and reporting skills. You also have to know how to network and promote your content, something about which many journalists are clueless.

“Journalism is kind of like being a monologist, and journalists are very used to pontificating,” he said. “And I know a lot of people think that’s just what bloggers do, but bloggers are more like someone in an improv theater group. It’s just a different skill set.”

What makes a blog successful, Copeland argued, is its personality — or rather the blogger’s ability to connect that personality to his readership. Though he wouldn’t go so far as to say that these laid-off journalists weren’t cut out to be bloggers, he said at the very least they would need to understand that in the blogosphere you often have to become your own marketer.

“There’s just an awful lot of competition, which these people have not experienced recently,” Copeland said. “At a newspaper the competition is really at the corporate level, and once you’ve won your slot as the metro reporter for City Hall, you might have competition with one other reporter in the town, you might have zero competitors — either way it’s not very competitive. And for every 100 reporters that look for jobs online, only one of them is going to be paying the rent a year from now. And whether that’s with Six Apart or Blogads or Federated [Media], that’s really beside the point. The point is that only one of them will have an appreciable audience that can be monetized.

When we created Blogads in 2002, we dreamed of saving journalists from the inevitable collapse of their uneconomical employers. Turns out a lot of what I wrote then has come true:

As an information processor, the blogosphere superfluizes old media’s expensive and carefully constructed infrastructures and franchises.

Suddenly, Vivendi, AOL-Time Warner, EMAP and Newscorp are factories whose economies of scale are swamped by infinity, networks that have come unplugged, refrigerator salesmen trudging into the next ice age.


The old economics of media – he who controls distribution wins the most readers and serves advertisers best – will be plowed under by a new economics – she who relates best attracts the most valuable audience. (Since relate means connect and tell.)

The metrics do not yet exist to describe the blogosphere’s commercial potential. Anyone who blogs knows we are operating in a new dimension beyond brand or marketing footprint. The newspaper or TV station with 10 viewers has, um, let’s count them, 10 connections. The blogger read by nine other bloggers participates in a network of up to 45 direct human relationships. (I don’t know the formula — draw ten dots in a circle, connect each dot to every other dot, then count the lines.) 1,000 bloggers generate more communication value than 100,000 readers.

(Sure, a power law distribution may result, but the possibility of 500 million bloggers boggles traditional media — 10 blogs each may serve 100 million unique users a day, 1000 each will serve 10 million readers a day, 100,000 each will serve 1 million readers a day, 10 million will draw 1000 readers a day and 489,898,990 will serve 100 readers a day.)

Blogs serve passionate, activist citizens who eat, drink, drive, argue, influence and buy more voraciously than their couch-potato neighbors. (The blogger’s energy is a cause and effect of blogging, I think.) Blog readers, wired to value peer knowledge over brand, are a prime audience for new messages.

The blogosphere’s self-organized networks offer adventurous advertisers the opportunity to target unique and previously unarticulated demographics.

Advertising in a blog or blogset will enable an advertiser quickly to communicate with a critical mass of thinkers.

Too many words, but the sentiments were right. (Particularly if you substitute “social media” for “blogosphere.”)

Crowd-sourcing the selection of fourth Suxorz panelist

by henrycopeland
Thursday, November 20th, 2008

The Suxorz has been approved for SXSW ’09!

The Suxorz panel, for those of you who weren’t in Austin last year, seeks to identify and vilify the year’s worst social media marketing campaigns. Last year, we did three rounds of four nominations, with each round followed by a vote, then a final pitch and round.

HP won followed closely by Cisco. (My favorite line from the morning was when someone in the audience from Target (a runner-up) was overheard huffing “this wasn’t us, it was the agency.”)

This year’s panelists will be Zadi Diaz, video-auteur at EpicFu, Jeff Jarvis aka The Buzzmachine, Mike Monello, creative director at CampfireNYC and Blair Witch.

I had a bunch of great women in mind for the fourth panelist. Spoiled for choice, I’d like to throw the fourth seat open. The fourth panelist is whichever woman you nominate and select.

Go to the Suxorz Facebook group to make your nomination this topic thread. Then we’ll either have a vote among Suxorz FB members or throw it open to the whole world-wide web.

(Like the rest of the panel, she’ll be responsible for contributing a bunch of nominees to the FB page, pitching three of them on stage. She’ll get a SXSW badge and cover her own transport and lodging.)

Some recaps of ’07 from Scott Monty, BFG, Jess Kutch and mine. And a photo:

Suxorz Panel at SXSW by Rohit Bhargava.


by henrycopeland
Thursday, November 20th, 2008

After over 1.5 million nominees, you can now vote for the Perezzies. Here are my choices.

Hottest Hookup Biggest Breakup
Lindsay Lohan and Sa… Joe Jonas and Taylor…
Favorite Jonas Breakout Star of the Year
  Katy Perry
Baddest Bad Girl Biggest Scandal
Britney Spears Madonna and A-Rod’s …
Best Dressed Worst Dressed
Anne Hathaway Aubrey O’Day
Hottest Hottie Cutest Celebuspawn
Megan Fox Kingston Rossdale
Most Improved Worst Trainwreck
Paris Hilton Britney Spears
Most DVR-worthy Series Biggest Box Office Blowout
The Office The Dark Knight
Celeb of the Year  
Barack Obama  
Who would you vote for?
Go to PerezHilton.com to vote!

PR Week puts Perez on top

by henrycopeland
Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Surveying its readers, PR week discovered that their favorite newspaper was the New York Times, their favorite TV show was Mad Men, their favorite journalist was a tie between Thomas Friedman and Diane Sawyer and their favorite blog was… Perez Hilton. Gawker was the runner up.

Another nasty jump

by henrycopeland
Thursday, November 20th, 2008

“In the week ending Nov. 15, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 542,000, an increase of 27,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 515,000. The 4-week moving average was 506,500, an increase of 15,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 490,750.”

We’re solidly in crisis territory. Previous peaks were:

10/82: 695,000
3/91: 509,000

Here’s a graph for historical context.

Our Tweets