This week Forbes magazine again touted its success with the business model it calls Entrepreneurial Journalism, without so much as a titter (or a twitter) from the media. Forbes' journalism model, pioneered (then dropped, then readopted) by Nick Denton at Gawker Media, was very recently considered a controversial and even a heretical approach for journalists. The value proposition, however, is deceptively simple and makes sense: Pay writers bonuses based on the audiences they can attract.
It was easier to have dinner with a group of friends in New York City the night before New Year's Eve than New Year's Eve itself. My friends picked out a hot spot in the meatpacking district. I live on the Upper East Side, so with earphones playing a soundtrack for my evening's commute, I headed out towards the subway station at 77th and "Lex."
It's that time of year again, when the press smack around a company they were in love with only moments ago. The most recent target: Groupon. Why? Not because any of the company's fundamentals actually changed, but rather because it's cheap journalism with that magical elixir of wunderkind and controversy. Better yet, it drives pageviews (read: revenue) for publishers. The only problem: it's total bullshit.
A dispatch from a once gilded abbey, now in a state of disrepair: My Dearest Publisher, Over the past couple of decades, we have weathered wave upon wave of challenges -- and, frankly put, it shows. Our carefully built walls of distribution have all been washed away by Search, and we can easily see the tides of Social building on the horizon. A few of us hold out a distant hope for tablets, but in my heart I fear these walls may never be rebuilt.
A client recently told me that it had taken two years for his IT department to deliver a site redesign. The first deadline was six months, but the project had been extended repeatedly. Now he wondered what was reasonable. Unfortunately, too many publishers have experiences like this because they get suckered by two concepts. First, they are convinced that their site has to be "unique" and therefore must be created from scratch. Second, they are tricked to believe the developers who say "don't worry, all the software will be free."
Question from a seller of digital advertising: I recently sat down with a very knowledgeable, respected, veteran, media buyer for a meeting. And after the usual pleasantries, he said "So my team tells me that you're more expensive than your competition -- which of course is getting more business from us." Please tell me, why is price still the most important issue over product, promotion or placement?
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