• What Publishers Should Learn From Brands
    Sadly, I often get the impression that digital publishers are forgetting that each of them is a brand, and each reader is a consumer of that brand's product. Instead, many digital publishers seem eager to behave as mere intermediaries, whose main role is lead generation: finding potential consumers for the products offered by other brands. Perhaps, then, I should not have been surprised that I did not meet or see a single person representing a publisher at IIeX Forums 2015, a conference whose focus on techniques like neuroscience and biometrics would have been extremely interesting to digital publishers.
  • Two Words That Hurt More Than Sticks & Stones
    Dec. 5, 2002: It was the day before my 36th birthday. On this date, my CEO informed me I was being promoted to vice president of sales. I felt the pride in my father's voice when I shared the news with him that evening. He had come to San Francisco to visit the previous year, and I took him to see "our" offices on a Sunday. He was unusually quiet as we walked around. After the tour he said he was "taken" by how much of my handwriting was on the whiteboards in the conference rooms we passed by.
  • The Inglourious Basterds Of Online Publishing
    With a title like this, you might think I plan to talk about ad blockers, or robots, or agency rebates. But no, today I want to take a mental break from these omnipresent topics and talk about spelling. Yes, s-p-e-l-l-i-n-g. Quentin Tarantino's film, whose title I borrowed for this blog, consists of two words, both of which are misspelled. When you are a leading movie-maker, you can get away with that. But if you make a living publishing content, misspellings are a sign of poor quality and can be a turn-off to persnickety readers like me.
  • Words Can Save The Day
    There is a lot of angst in the online ad business. It's not just reflected in the trades -- it is spilling out over drinks with people who sell online ads. Two digital media execs recently told me that the complexity of the sale was more numbing than the Scotch they were drinking. These two execs shared some horror stories about trying to collect on what they thought they had sold. They added, "It's even worse for buyers" -- which is leading to a lot of turnover on the agency side.
  • Five Suggestions For Publishers Struggling With Ad Blockers
    The rhetoric about ad blockers is reaching such a fever pitch that I am loath to add my voice to the current cacophony. Rather than simply lodging public complaints, I am going to try to offer some specific advice (with a heavy dose of complaints mixed in) for online publishers struggling with ad blockers.
  • Relevant Ads Are All Relative
    Our definition of relevancy does not match the consumers' definition, and this disconnect will continue to plague us. Ad blocking is not our newest problem. It's just the most obvious sign to date that we have one.
  • The Elephant In The Mobile Advertising Room
    Regular readers of this column will know that I have repeatedly complained about the annoyance of ads, which I have pointed out can be particularly bad for publishers. Based on some recent findings, I have come to realize that this annoyance is a particularly acute problem for mobile advertising.
  • Annoying Ads Will Be The Death Of Publishers
    The recent explosion in conversations about ad blockers shows that the public's discontent with digital advertising is a major problem. Interestingly, most of the comments I have been reading about ad blockers focus on their impact on consumers and on the advertisers. But what about publishers? Some have pointed out that ad blocking is bad for publishers because it can cut one of their major revenue sources. Others have complained that the publishers' focus on revenue is at the root of this problem, because in their desperation to generate advertising money, they are pummeling readers with unwanted, intrusive, distracting ads. ...
  • Why Does Randall Rothenberg Still Have a Job?
    If the rate of people who stopped eating corn tripled over a two-year period, would the head of the National Corn Growers Industry still have a job? If 41% of Millennials decided to stop drinking coffee, would the president of the National Coffee Association be under any pressure? The answers to these questions are obvious. So why, when consumers are blocking the serving of ads at these alarming rates, is the head of the Interactive Advertising Bureau still employed?
  • Learning To Love My Boss Jennifer
    When I was 24 years old, I was an assistant media planner at Young & Rubicam on Madison Avenue. I worked on the media plan to support the launch of Kraft fat-free mayonnaise. At that time, I wasn't a big fan of mayonnaise -- and I liked my boss, Jennifer, even less.
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