Posts Tagged ‘tracking’


Part 2: Licensing – Monetizing Content in a 30-Second World

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

In my previous post published earlier this week, I suggested that content providers just come up with a way to charge for the use of the article when somebody reads the whole article instead of the hextract (header/extract)… do this regardless of whether that somebody is the first reader of the article or the recipient of it being passed along in an email. Make the charge a passive transaction and at a price the consumer considers fair. So the question on the table is why this hasn’t been done?

Pondering this question, two phrases immediately come to mind: “The Inventor’s Dilemma” (aPart 2: Licensing and Monetizing Content in a 30-second World great book by Clayton Christensen, 1997), and “like turning an aircraft carrier around.” The legacy environment is blinding. At the heart, though, I believe, is the much bantered-about idea of “engaging the consumer.” This is the “buzz” used by the folks attempting to do the engaging. The consumer is evidently not getting the message that they are being engaged; at least not by The Media companies’ definition, which is about adopting and paying according to its rules of engagement.

I was at a conference last fall with a significant number of aspiring media titans in attendance. The panels focused on devices, technology, and the creation of apps to support their existing revenue models. My takeaway was the tremendous amount of energy going into convincing the consumer of what their, the consumers’, needs are instead of discovering and meeting those needs that already exist.

This contrast became more apparent with the remarks of each and every one of the CEO keynotes: Jason Kilar, Hulu; William Lynch, Barnes and Noble; and Oprah Winfrey, OWN. They all shouted about the key to success being the result of a dialog with the customer, listening to them, and giving them what they wanted. The panelist’s focus was certainly not the result of these folks being from a culture that celebrates entrepreneurial thinking. The legacy rules discourage divisional collaboration and non-linear approaches. You don’t get your own castle without being able to protect the moat. Problem is that the market in which these rules worked moved and it didn’t happen in the dead of night.

The old marketplace based on scarcity of information has left the building and with it the providers’ absolute control of access.

So what to do . . . ?

After having given this way too much thought, I would suggest an industry strategic planning meeting be convened with a very select group of players. I would gather together Hearst’s Frank Bennack, Advance’s Donald or Stephen Newhouse, Google’s Eric Schmidt, Barnes and Noble’s William Lynch, and Clay Shirky, who consults, teaches, and writes on the social economic effects of Internet technologies. I would also include Ken Doctor, a leading news industry analyst, as the scribe. The group should be sequestered for a week and then every six months reconvene to make adjustments. With all the exclusive consortiums in play targeting “low hanging fruit,” this is one consortium that could actually move the needle, and create enough disruptive engagement to get all those “mortgages” paid for a long, long time.

My guess is that, in the end, a process of marking, tracking, and monetizing will emerge. The only absolute is that time is of the essence in the 30-second world or information.

The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace: Engaging Individuals One Poll at a Time

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

by Lauren Shapiro*

The White House recently announced that they are taking steps to create a manner in which online identities could be protected from hackers through the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC). This new initiative would provide individuals with online identification cards, ala drivers’ licenses or social security cards. This identity could then, hypothetically, allow for safe online banking and shopping. Although this program is quite a breakthrough and a necessity for the already burgeoning world of online transactions, it is not the first to discuss the issue of privacy in cyberspace.

White House

Flickr Image: ~MVI~ (Shubert Ciencia)

At the beginning of this year the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the FCC came to a head over the privacy concerns. And more recently the Federal Trade Commission considers implementing a do not track mechanism that would allow consumers to more easily manage targeted marketing.

What may be more interesting and certainly sets the NSTIC initiative apart is the communication strategy used by the White House.

The announcement of this program was made via a blog post by Howard A. Schmidt, cyber-security coordinator. In it, Schmidt describes the vastness of cyberspace, the relatively humongous role it plays in everyday life and the need for a greater emphasis on security within the online environment. The goal of the NSTIC is to, “reduce cyber-security vulnerabilities and improve online privacy protections through the use of trusted digital identities.” What better way to convey a message about cyberspace than in cyberspace!

The other PR savvy tactic: Mr. Schmidt asked for the public’s opinion on how best to mold this new proposal. By visiting http://www.nstic.ideascale.com/ you could submit ideas or opinions while browsing ideas already submitted and agree/disagree with them.

By empowering the nation to become an active voice in the creation of the NSTIC, Howard Schmidt has taken full advantage of one of the most beneficial aspects cyberspace has to offer – the ability to create an open forum of discussion and polling. Through this method, the White House will, theoretically, be able to create a system for the public by the public.

Do you use online polling or discussions during the creation of your PR strategies? Will we one day vote for the President of the United States via online polling? How does online privacy affect your professional communications objectives and personal activities? Please share your thoughts with the me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas. 

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*Bio: Soon after graduating from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, in 2006 with a B.A. in communication and a B.S. in business/marketing, I joined the BurrellesLuce client services team. In 2008, I completed my master’s degree in corporate and organizational communications and now work as the supervisor of BurrellesLuce Express client services. I am passionate about researching and understanding the role of email in shaping relationships from a client relation/service standpoint as well as how miscommunication occurs within email, which was the topic of my thesis. Through my posts on Fresh Ideas, I hope to educate and stimulate thoughtful discussions about corporate communications and client relations, further my own knowledge on this subject area, as well as continue to hone my skills as a communicator. Twitter: @_LaurenShapiro_ LinkedIn: laurenrshapiro Facebook: BurrellesLuce

News Organizations Sometimes Bend the Rules of Engagement to Keep Up with Today’s Frenetic Pace of News Cycles.

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

The 24 hour news cycle is nothing new. It started in 1980 with the launch of CNN, the very first 24 hour news channel. Prior to cable news we relied on the newspaper, radio, or the evening news broadcast to find out what was happening in the world. And if a big story broke during the day or after the news broadcast chances were we would be informed by having our favorite TV show interrupted with a special report from the affiliate’s newsroom.

Over the last few years, however, the rate at which we receive the news has been accelerating and, believe it or not, promises to become even more immediate. Some news organizations are applying extreme and sometimes controversial business practices to keep up with this increasing pace and to survive in the highly competitive online news space.

With more pressure to deliver content to their followers, organizations like Politico and Gawker are helping to ratchet up the intensity to an even higher level when it comes to reporting the news. Pre-dawn start times at agencies tortoise_Hare1along with bonuses tied to the number of pageviews a reporter’s story garners are adding to the sense of urgency in which a story is posted online. Tracking how many people view articles online is becoming a higher priority not only at new media, but old media as well – creating an environment to see who can post the most exclusive stories the fastest.

As a result, when a major national story is in the midst of breaking news, the rules of engagement sometimes become a bit blurred, with more outlets favoring “cut and paste reporting” over actual journalism. Last month Rolling Stone magazine was about to post the General McChrystal story in which he and his aids were critical of the White House – first sending an advanced copy of the story to the Associated Press (customary for magazines trying to promote a story) with some restrictions. But before Rolling Stone had a chance to publish the story on their website, on their scheduled date, two major websites (Politico and Times.com) decided to post a PDF of the entire story to their respective sites.  

Although it was seen by some as a breach of copyright and professional best practices, both companies explained that they posted the story as it was unfolding. Since Rolling Stone didn’t immediately post the article itself they decided to move forward on their own.  Eric Bates, executive editor of Rolling Stone, didn’t see it that way. Voicing his concern not only from his magazine’s perspective but from an industry perspective, he called it a “transitional moment,” adding, “What these two media organizations did was off the charts. They took something that was in pre-published form, sent to other media organizations with specific restrictions, and just put it up.”

However, the exhausting pace of online news isn’t just taking its toll on the media organizations themselves. It is also coming at a price to the individuals supplying the content. The longer hours and added pressure to constantly come up with exclusive stories has contributed to an increased turnover of staff at online news organizations with more journalists facing burnout at a younger age. A dozen reporters recently left Politico in the first half of this year and it’s very common for an editor to leave Gawker after just one year.

While some may debate the future of the media, one thing is certain: The online media race is on.  I’m just not sure if slow and steady wins this one.

Do you think that the media and their audiences, are biting off more news than they can chew?  As a public relations professional, what do you think about news organizations bending the rules of engagement to keep up with today’s frenetic pace of news and how does this impact the way you conduct media relations? If you’re a journalist or blogger, how are you handling the added pressure of constantly having to deliver? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

Are Shortened URLs Short-Changing Your Measurement Effort?

Friday, May 8th, 2009

Short Changed

by Jeffrey Barrett*

URL shortening services have existed since back when URLs had to be under 80 columns to fit in an email unbroken. They have become a mainstay, in no small part, because of the Twitter explosion. These services simply shrink a long URL like https://www.burrellesluce.com/freshideas/?p=230 which consists of 46 characters, to a small one like http://tiny.cc/8Hfyo, only about 20 characters. Go ahead, give both links a try; with either one you wind up at this article.

Everyone loves a short URL when composing in a 140 character bounded space. It leaves much more room for your thoughts, but there is danger in their proliferation. These mini-addresses are wreaking havoc for the destinations of these originates. When you click on a link to a website, such as https://www.burrellesluce.com/freshideas, logs show where you were when you made that click. But when you click on http://tiny.cc/p4YIm, a truncated version of that same link, it shows up under the name of that service. This is useless for understanding which actions drove you to the site in the first place and tracking the effectiveness of a given marketing campaign. If this was done for an ad driven content site it could impact the revenue of ad sales.

New services, like Tr.im, provide a partial solution to the lost metrics. Unfortunately, if Tr.im – a free service with no business model – folds its tent, you will lose the metrics it does provide. Furthermore, it’s likely your existing systems do not integrate with the shorter services. The end result: the need to manually massage your metrics.

There is a call for technology that will make it possible for people to easily run their own URL shorteners. Still in its early stage, RevCanonical is one possible solution. The application “checks to see if the link owner has published a shortened version of the given page using HTML link element.” Although it has some short comings (Chris Shiflett highlights a few), it is worth keeping an eye on. Your company and clients could benefit from getting behind the sort of technology that is needed to regain the knowledge of where their visitors came from!

If you really want to be prepared, though, it might be time to buy the shortest domain you can that either sounds like your “main” domain or has the key letters of your domain. Then you will be able to provide the convenience of a shorter URL without sacrificing your tracking and metrics.

*Bio: Currently I am the chief architect of BurrellesLuce 2.0, the portal used by thousands of PR professionals to monitor, share, organize, and measure online and print news. I started as a web developer for Merck & Company and I am an accomplished technologist with a focus on large scale system architecture and implementation. With over ten years of experience designing and deploying technical solutions for a wide range of companies, I most recently managed web projects for NBC Universal, where I delivered social networking applications and supported high traffic applications. Prior to that, I served as director of technology for Silver Carrot, a marketing firm, creating and delivering the technology that powered high-performance online campaigns. In my spare time, I enjoy reading about economics and anything that has to do with modeling social interaction and social media. LinkedIn: Jeffrey Barrett; Twitter: @BurrellesLuce; Facebook: BurrellesLuce