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Friday, June 10, 2005

Of Em-Dashes—and B2B Blogs 

We get e-mails:

Just wanted to drop you a line and let you know that the Boston chapter of American Society of Business Publication Editors is going to be launching a weblog very soon; I'll let you know when it's public [It is now, and can be found here.]

BTW, the HTML code for an em dash, should you choose to use it, is:

— [The code being ampersand#8212]


Excuse me for being a busybody on that one, but I do copy editing, and every time I see the two dashes instead of a real em-dash, I cringe! ;)

Martha Spizziri
Webmistress
American Society of Business Publication Editors


I'm an em-dash user and abuser, so I'll try my best to insert the proper code in the future—such as now. But there are no guarantees!

And congratulations to the Boston ASBPE crew. As they point out, there aren't too many b2b media-focused blogs. But I'd add the following to their list, which includes Paul Conley and the ABM's MediaPace (not all are b2b media-focused, but are very relevant to what we do):

Rexblog. Not necessarily always about b2b, but always relevant to issues of technology, content and publishing. Rex Hammock is also posting to the rapidly improving ABM blog.

B2blog. Dave Jung posts from the b2b reader/customer perspective. He's the 'who we publish for,' and his perspectives help me stay focused on that.

Alan Meckler. The CEO of Jupitermedia posts on technology and media, often from a b2b perspective.

Hugo Martin. Posting from Germany, Hugo offers an excellent perspective on b2b media.

Paul Woodward blogs b2b media from Hong Kong, and like Hugo, brings a unique take to our business.

Brian Carroll's B2B Lead Generation Blog delves deeply into what our advertisers want most--(oops!)leads—and how to successfully make the complex sale.

IDG's Colin Crawford blogs on technology and its impact on b2b media.

Rich Westerfield blogs on trade shows, conferences and meetings, as does Sue Pelletier and Jeffrey D. Brown. All three are terrific reads.

Can you add to this list? If so, drop me an email. I'll be working on my em-dash skills in the meantime.

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Thursday, June 09, 2005

One Meeellllion Dollars* 

Top Management Gets Big Payouts in Successful Equity Deals

Nice piece from Folio:'s Tony Silber on how top management may or may not be rewarded when a private-equity backed company sells.

Grab: “The opportunity exists for a CEO of a successful leveraged deal to make several million dollars, and for the top management team to make seven-figure returns,” says one former executive who is familiar with the structure of such deals. “However, it all depends on the returns that the equity-investors get. It could be zero or it could be a lot of money.”

Tony crunches the numbers on who typically gets paid what in such a transaction.

*I really don't know how to approximate Dr. Evil's infamous ransom demand in print. So here's an audio clip.

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Print Advertising Critique 

The always excellent GameDailyBiz takes a critical look at video game print advertising, and finds it weak.

Grab:

For all the progressive talk in our industry about new ways to interact with games (and other people), [video game] publishers have seemed remarkably content to follow a herd mentality when it comes to video game advertising—print advertising, specifically.

Which leads me to wonder about b2b print advertising in general. Are we as b2b publishers focusing attention on what kind of creative works best in print for our specific audiences? If print ad creative becomes an afterthought to marketers, it's clear that results from print ad placements could be poor--and add to a continuing perception that print advertising is dying, or at least, less valuable than other forms of advertising.

Better than any survey on the value of print media, I think, would be print ad campaigns that work. I've never had trouble selling space to an advertiser who is getting results from advertising in my publication.

So are we providing critiques of and feedback on print creative to our clients? Are we providing them with tools to improve their ads? We should be.

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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Competing with Google and Yahoo 

PAPERS LAUNCHING
OWN SEARCH SITES :


A few newspapers are launching their own pay-per-click programs.

Grab: "Newspapers are among the highest drivers of traffic to Google's Adsense," said Melinda Gipson, electronic media director for the Newspaper Association of America. "A number have come to believe that they do so well driving traffic to Adsense that they should have their own money."

Via IWantMedia.

Update: See Colin Crawford's blog for additional information.

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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

More on the Google/Millward Study 

A round up of comments on the Google/Millward Brown study.

Rex Hammock posts on ABM's Mediapace blog.

Grab: Also, it must be noted, when it comes to B2B advertising online, the Google business model -- how it makes its money -- is the "advertising sales agent" business model. Their success in this arena is dependent on them generating revenues FOR online publishers, not in "siphoning off revenues" from them.

Hugo Martin posts auf deutsch on his b2b blog.

Grab: Wenn sich Fachverlage über diese Entwicklungen Gedanken machen und Lösungspakete anbieten, dann war diese Studie für B2B Medien erfolgreich und nützlich. Dann gibt es für Fachverlage auch wieder ein Stück mehr aus dem Marketingbudget der Anbieter und dem "Lesebudget" (bzw. Nutzungsbudget) der Nachfrager aus Überzeugung!

Note: you can use the translate function in your browser to get a general idea of Hugo's message. I tend to use my college German, which is more limited than I would like to admit. Hugo's general point: If specialized media can create solutions around the implications of this study, then the study was useful, and there might be the opportunity to get a larger piece of marketing budgets and "reading" budgets (a nice turn of phrase!).

Paul Woodward posts on his Asia Business Media blog.

Grab: And I am intrigued by the argument that Google is not siphoning revenues at all but acting as an ad agency. The success of that argument depends, I suppose, on the extent to which searchers are still going to use home pages at the traditional media companies rather than Google's own or web-only sites.

Paul has also added a comment to my post yesterday, here. He asks:

Google, though, remains suspiciously quiet about the effectiveness of the ads themselves: no doubt that people are using search as a more effective 1st step in a research process. Of course they are. So, Google wins hands down on its effectiveness as a research medium, but what about advertising effectiveness?

My thoughts:

1. The study is limited to enterprise software application buyers, so may not be transferable to other markets. Even so, enterprise software is not a cheap purchase for corporations, and is by no means a credit-card buy. If this study convinces a major enterprise software maker to shift more dollars away from print, that's not going to help an already battered sector of the B2B market.

2. The Google study, as I see it, clearly sets search up in opposition to print advertising and e-mail newsletters. It doesn't talk about how these work together. Rather, it shows how search is more effective than trade advertising in a critical phase of the buying process. Perhaps ABM should field some research on the impact of an integrated media buy: print ads, trade show booths, web ads, direct mail, email and search. What's the right combination for a marketer--and for a media company?

3. Google may be an advertising sales agent for publishers, but it also sells those ads direct to marketers. We're often in competition with our potential print advertisers for ranking in AdSense, and in general search rankings. (Side note: Google's commission structure, at least for my clients, is veiled in secrecy. We get whatever money we get, with little explanation for the rise and fall in per-click dollars, other than a guess that there's a change in the bidding on the advertiser side. For every publisher who uses AdSense, Google provides incremental, impossible-to-budget, revenues. It's nice to have, but it sure isn't making up for the declines in print ad revenues we've incurred.)

4. I love Google. I primarily use Google's search engine. I use Google's Blogger program. I use Picasa. Yet I remain worried about the less-than-subtle impact Google has on the b2b media model. And I'm concerned that they'd bring a study to market which could have a negative impact on a chunk of their customer base. Do they really need b2b media in its current form? Or can they grow their b2b search revenues without us? I tend to think that they tend to think the latter.

Addendum: Complaining about something we can't change (that is, the impact of search on the buying process) is useless, of course. But I'm still unclear on how b2b media companies can profitably navigate a world where search has disintermediated our usual offerings. But I guess that's really the core problem we face in the next ten years. Are b2b media companies and media products, in their current form, relevant anymore?

UPDATE: Check out DeSilva + Phillips' report on Search Engine Marketing companies. Perhaps b2b media companies should be acquiring some of these, or at least offering search engine optimization as part of an integrated media sale?

UPDATE TWO: I'm well aware of the personal implications of using "More on" in my post's title!

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Folio: Blurb on ERI Journal 

A New Read for Retail

Thanks to the folks at Folio: for blurbing the launch of ERI, the magazine we helped launch for Retail Systems Alert Group (RSAG). My partner Scott Chase and I are pleased with the book, and the response from the marketplace. RSAG's editorial team--Eric Olson, Dan Berthiaume, Steve Rowen and Mike West--did a stellar job. But there's still a lot of work to do do get this publication out of 'launch phase' and moving toward maturity.

I've had a few questions about what GRID Media (our company) is and does. Generally, we manage media properties for media owners on an on-going basis, serving as the outside publisher. We do this for a select group of magazine owners, and for a news syndicate.

We also do launches. My friend Kevin Condon, the ceo of Proximus B2B LLC (the owner of RSAG), tasked us with creating a magazine which realized the vision of Tom Friedman, RSAG's founder, of the interlinked retail value chain--from supplier to retailer to consumer. We oversaw the development of the magazine's editorial and advertising position, and the sales process. Our goal is to breathe life into the publication, and then help hire our replacement, a full-time publisher who will carry it forward. We'll be working on that over the next few months.

So essentially, GRID Media brings outside talent to a media company's internal resources, in order to develop, manage and grow new and existing media properties.

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Monday, June 06, 2005

B2B Media's New Competitor: Google 

Potentially frightening piece from Adweek's IQ Interactive on a Google-sponsored study of technology executives involved in purchasing enterprise software applications.

The study was designed "to show how search advertising is more effective than ads in trade magazines and other traditional business-to-business media."

Grab:

The online poll found search was used 30 percent more frequently than trade periodicals in the research phase of the buying cycle. Search was 21 percent more frequently used than the b-to-b press in the consideration phase and 62 percent more in the final purchase phase.

It probably won't be too long until Google fields similar studies of buyers in other markets.

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Maybe This Internet Thing Will Be Big Someday 

First Quarter 2005 Highest Internet Ad Revenue in Nine Consecutive Growth Quarters

According to the Internet Advertising Bureau, Internet advertising reached $2.8 billion in the first quarter of 2005, up 26% over the same quarter in 2004.

According to Tom Hyland, Partner and New Media Group Chair, PricewaterhouseCoopers: "The economics are too compelling for marketers to ignore."

Interesting caveat in the press release: "First and third quarter revenue reports are estimates, with the actual figures being released along with second and fourth quarter data respectively."

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Wi-Fi Fly High 

United Airlines Approved for In-Flight Internet Service

United Airlines will offer inflight wi-fi by "mid to late 2006," according to the NY Times.

The Scobleizer blogged from 32,000 feet last Friday on SAS.

So, United--and probably other domestic carriers--will wait a year or so before offering this service (at a price). They don't need to move any faster, do they? After all, the airlines are such profitable businesses as they are now.

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E-zine "Ergonumetrisonics" 

Interesting take on e-zines from Tradeshow BluesBlogger Jeffrey D. Brown, who posts on IAEM's E2 Exhibitions & Events

Grab:

Did I want to print it out in whole and try to read it like a print magazine? Probably not (it doesn't feel like a magazine). I might print a page or two (or more)... which I will add to one of the several (many) stacks of papers in my work area. OR... do I just want to read this on the screen? Probably. In which case, I'm thinking I'd rather be reading it as screen text.

Brown awaits "high quality lightweight e-pads with the all-encompassing, ergonumetrisonic look-and-feel experience." (Cool made-up word).

This weekend, I found myself at a group dinner, trying to explain the impact of the Internet on publishing, something you shouldn't try to do after a large glass of wine (or two). I eventually found myself babbling about e-ink and e-paper, and other potentially 'ergonumetrisonic' readers, and then wondered if these readers-of-the-future need to happen merely to transition us old folks away from our addiction to ink on paper. As a fellow conversationalist noted, his teen-aged sons don't do ink on paper at all, if they can avoid it. Their written word media model is text on the screen.

Which takes us back to Brown's point. E-zines look good. And the horizontal layout (with new and interesting ad positions--check out the IAEM e-zine) is functional. But do we want to read them on the screen? Or print them out? Or what?

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