The advice I have dispensed in this column to premium publishers these past 10 years has been fulfilling for me to give -- and generally ignored. That's not surprising. What I do find perplexing is how so many people in this business of premium publishing ignore their own guts.
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. …
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.
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.