Posts from November 8, 2004

Ad:Tech: The blogging panel :

Ad:Tech: The blogging panel

: Denton, Calacanis, Bruner and others talk to money.

: Rick Bruner, now of DoubleClick, honchoed a study of blog audience sponsored by Gawker Media and SixApart and done by ComScore. He presented the first preliminary results for the first time today. This really was an outcome of Bloggercon II. Some big news here.

ComScore looked at 15,000 blogs and their audiences.

35 million Americans, more than 20 percent of U.S. Intrernet users, read from 250 blog domains (that is, some large domains such as and large individual sites; that mix does skew things a bit among big and small blogs; the numbers will be massaged, Rick said). That’s up 10 perecent over the proir quarter.

Blog readers are more likely to be broadband users (index of 113 vs total population), college educated (index 114), higher income (index 116 at 100k household income), Asian (index 136… go figger).

: Jason and Nick put together a joint presentation. Who says they feud?

Jason asks for the yucks whether there is anybody who doesn’t know what a blog is so we can make fun of them. A woman raises her hand. “You’re kidding, right?” Jason says. Apparently not.

What not to do: “faux blogs, bribe bloggers, blog when your company is not ready for complete transparency, write blog posts for your CEO.”

Nick: “Weblogs. They’re just websites. You say you don’t know what a weblog is? It doesn’t really matter. They’re just websites.” I don’t fully agree. Blogs have the added dimension of conversation; they have a new dimension of relationship.

Jason says that only 20 percent of a CNET page is content and blogs flip that.

Nick: “Weblogs are not for every single advertiser but for advertisers who want to reach influencers, tastemakers.”

Nick: “Of people who read weblogs, one-third write weblogs or are journalists… The result of that is that any message that is targeted at weblog readers will reverberate beyond weblogs readers.”

: Next: Mike Nazzaro from Intelliseek, which measures “consumer generated content” (Doc Searls would hate that phrase — they’re not consumers; they don’t generate; it’s not content). I’ve mentioned Intelliseek’s Powerpoint slides before so I won’t repeat now.

Companies like this create jargon: They call bloggers speakers and others seekers. Nope, everybody’s both. It’s a conversation. We all speak and listen.

He shows a great timeline chart revealing how the bloggers’ links to the Swifties preceded media coverage and Kerry’s response.

He shows another chart tracking the Subservient Chicken buzz, starting in blogs a week before it hit news media.

He makes a big deal about segmenting blogs into “credentialed news” vs. “non-credentialed news” and regarding their emotions (cynical, inspired…). No, it’s just people, man. It’s just people. That’s the point.

: At sessions such as this, the first question from nervous corporate types is, “What do the lawyers say?”

Jason: “If youi’re a bad person, blogging is very bad. If you’re a good person, blogging is great.”

Nick: “Business blogging is generally a bad idea.”

Someone at Salon asks what’s different about this: It’s just another medium. Nick says yes. I keep adding that one thing is different: It’s a conversation.

Advertising : I’m at Ad:Tech


: I’m at Ad:Tech and will blog as possible. This won’t be of interest to most but for those who care….

: First is a session run by Jarvis Coffin (no relation) of BurstMedia.

: Doubleclick says 38 percent of Internet users account for 73 percent of pages viewed. That’s what makes it hard to target across large audiences; you end up reaching the same people.

: The Doubleclick rep says that there needs to be a merger of data from servers (page views, unique users, etc.) and panels (demograpics). “We’ve got to understand the ‘who’ of online advertising.” Doubleclick is running tests with Nielsen, IMS, and ComScore and will come out with a paper in January. That will be valuable to show overall audience.

: A research guy shows the obvious: start with a message; test your message; you will increase your efficiency. I wonder whether citizens’ media becomes a good medium for testing message and creative (you’re not blowing the budget just to test).

His next point: Frequency is not good; frequency reaches a point of diminishing returns at 4-5 impressions (which says that we shouldn’t be selling month-long ads to advertisers for sites that are addictive). If it’s too damned frequent it reaches a point of “actual brand desruction.” Annoyance hurts brands.

Finally, he shows how the type of ad unit make a difference. Banners are at the bottom of that chart. Video is at the top. Say hello to the ecnomic justification for exploding TV on the internet. Advertisers like and it works.

: Bad ad creative is a big issue (for which publishers get blamed when they are not paid for click-through). An IAB study found only 1 in 4 brands had effective creative. The Doubleclick person says, though, that advertisers ask about the units that perform, not the creative. It’s not the size that’s matters, it’s what’s in it.

: Now I’m at a word-of-mouth marketing session.

The moderator is giving Dan Gillmor and his book lots of plugs.

: It’s a new world with its own jargon already: connectors, mavens, influencers, sneezers, talkability, spreadability…

There are a few companies using word-of-mouth agents. I’m not at all clear how this works. Bzzagent doesn’t pay its agents so I wonder why they do it. Tremor, started by P&G, says they want people to become advocates for brands but not necessarily users. I’m hearing very few specifics about how they work with blogs, Meetups, friend networks, and such. I’m confused.

Justin Kirby from DMC in England says that measuring what people are talking about is just more clutter. “It’s not just about people talking on blogs, it’s about people having influence.” Another smart line from him: “Not every product is an iPod.” Not everything is worth talking about.

I’m not hearing smart ways to interact with — not use, interact with — citizens’ media. An opportunity for us; we’re the experts in us.

: Transparency is an issue with this new industry and, well, it’s even more important than it is in news: Lie and be found out and you will do damage. There’s much fretting about what could “kill this industry.” It feels as if using us is an “industry.”

The word I’m not hearing from these folks — that I should be hearing — is “conversation.”

Then, at the end, somebody asked, “what’s a conversation worth?” One panelist says, “10 times a :30 spot.” Others scratch their head. Kirby says that’s like trying to value a cocktail party (where the real currency is whether you get laid, he says… the audience member asks what that’s worth…). They’re starting to value each conversation with us.

We will want our cut, folks.

: Kirby mentions the word “push” and the audience hisses. Bad memories, eh?

The decline of moral values

The decline of moral values

: Andrew Sullivan neatly summarizes this:

The percentage of people who said in 2004 that their vote was determined by the issue of “moral values” was 22 percent. In 1992, if you add the issues of abortion and family values together, that percentage was 27 percent. In 1996, it was 49 percent. In 2000, it was 49 percent. So the domestic moral focus halved in 2004. Obviously, the war took precedence, especially if you combine the categories of the Iraq war and the war on terrorism more generally. Again: the Republicans should be wary of over-playing their hand. If they believe the entire country is the religious right, the backlash could begin very soon.

The mullahs muzzle their people again

The mullahs muzzle their people again

: The New York Times reports today on the continuing crackdown on (read: repression of) speech in Iran, including the shutdown of web sites and blogs and the arrests of bloggers.

As part of its crackdown, the government has blocked hundreds of political sites and Web logs. Three major pro-democracy Web sites that support President Mohammad Khatami were blocked in August….

The crackdown suggests that hard-liners are determined to curtail freedom in cyberspace. Many rights advocates had turned to the Internet after the judiciary shut down more than 100 pro-democracy newspapers and journals in recent years.

The number of Internet users in Iran has soared in the last four years, to 4.8 million from 250,000. As many as 100,000 Web logs operate, and some of them are political.

The move to block Web sites has the support of a senior cleric, Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi, who declared in September in the hard-line daily newspaper Kayhan that Web sites should be blocked if they “insult sacred concepts of Islam, the Prophet and Imams,” or “publish harmful and deviated beliefs to promote atheism or promote sinister books.”

When the most recent wave of arrests began in September, authorities arrested the father of one Web technician, Sina Motallebi, who has taken refuge in the Netherlands. Mr. Motallebi had his own Web log and helped run one of the political Web sites. The father, Saeed Motalebi, was held for 11 days and then released.

“It seems that they do not want to deal with political figures who are behind the Internet sites and are willing to pay a price for what they are doing,” said Alireza Alavitabar, a political scientist who is involved in the Emooz Web site.

“Instead they want to deprive the Web sites of their staff and the capability to run them,” he said….

Omid Memarian, who was arrested Oct. 10, was a journalist and a well-known figure among private aid groups. He had his own Web log in both Persian and English….

“They want to find out how the Web sites are run, intimidate these young people and put an end to this medium,” said Rajabali Mazroui, Hanif Mazroui’s father.

The judiciary is drafting a law that will define cybercrimes. The chief of the judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmoud Shahroudi, has said the law will define the punishment for “anyone who disseminates information aimed at disturbing the public mind through computer systems.”

They will fail. This can’t be stopped now.



: A reminder that the Wall Street Journal online is free this week. This will drive more traffic to sell more advertising and, it’s assumed, drive more people to be so enthralled they end up subscribing. It’s like your cable company giving you HBO free for a week — only without the bare breasts.

: also launched an econoblog.