The claims are that online advertising is failing, and as far as numbers are concerned – it very well could be. There is not a definite answer as to when advertising was first instituted for financial gain, but some say it was in the 1400’s when paper handouts the size of a large postcard were distributed to those passing by places of business. As any new business idea, I’m sure the concept had its critics and only through time and advancements in the technology to produce such advertising did it start to make sense and its benefits became noticeable. Such is the case with online advertising. Traditional advertising in print is arguably 600 years old (1), television advertising has a 68 year history and internet advertising is the first major disruptor since the first sponsored television broadcast in 1941 (2).

Eric Clemons, Professor of Operations and Information Management at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania states, “my basic premise,” that the ad industry will create a model that will replace traditional ads in traditional media “rejects this, suggesting that simple commercial messages, pushed through whatever medium, in order to reach a potential customer who is in the middle of doing something else, will fail. It’s not that we no longer need information to initiate or to complete a transaction; rather, we will no longer need advertising to obtain that information. We will see the information we want, when we want it, from sources that we trust more than paid advertising” (3). This statement embodies the foundational success of the internet and the key to advertisings rise or fall on the web: choice.

Agency to pick what we trust and consume is why the internet has “killed” traditional media as we know it. The ability to establish a URL’s offering as trustworthy takes time, just as it did with print and broadcast advertising. A brands following and their ability to become an “influencer” in the digital media space is said to be a large contributing factor to the brands success on the internet. Leigh Anne Dunkin has identified influence as one of the hardest things to measure on the internet and given some solid ideas on how to get started (4).

This understanding is why I feel that online advertising still has relevancy and a chance to become the next major distribution channel for advertising dollars. Is 20 years enough time to rule out a technology that is ever-evolving since its conception? Can we rule online advertising the main suspect of killing print and television advertising while Clemons claims it has already failed, and before there is another technology to knock it off the top of so many advertising budgets? It has always been a general rule of business advertising to never put your eggs in one basket, whether in distribution or with the firm who creates the content for distribution. This rule is ever more important to remember as one creates their budget, and that they understand they are participating in a distribution model that is still a babe when compared to the lifespan of other traditional medias. Don’t abandon the newest technology before a replacement has even arrived.

Sources:
1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advertising
2) http://www.oldradio.com/current/bc_tv.htm
3) http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/03/22/why-advertising-is-failing-on-the-internet/
4) http://mediaspace.com.washington.edu/space/pg/pages/view/1366/

Feedback survey for Drew

August 14, 2009

This link will get you to the feedback form for Drew. Remember he cannot edit it or see who wrote the comment. If you feel you need to identify yourself with a comment, you need to attach your name in the comment box. Use the form below to contact me directly with questions.

mosesHestonSo what does my little presentation on how to get Google Analytics started in your blog have to do with engagement? I believe this humanizes a company in a way. It’s kind of like them saying, “We trying to make the process of utilizing our tools easy, but we know it might not be that easy for everyone. Here is something else to help.” As a consumer that is important to me. There are several services I use over others that might be more widely accepted because the creator reached out to me through an instructional video or a slide show with step-by-step instructions. I appreciate that.

All digital media channels have a huge audience it is not reaching because of its lack of engagement. What we will call engagement crimes can come from poor UI on a company site, not contributing to consumer forums, or not having a social media strategy. Basically anything that limits consumers’ ability to voice their opinion or inhibits your ability to hear that voice is a crime on engagement. Here are my 5 Commandments for Organizational Engagement:

I. Thou shalt have an Organization Engagement Plan.
a. Know how you are going to engage your audience. Don’t jump on a browser and engage wherever you feel inclined at the moment. Map it out and follow your map.
II. Thou shalt learn new things.
a. How many channels are you not encouraging engagement in because you simply haven’t learned the media?
III. Thou shalt not choose engagement you cannot measure.
a. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.
IV. Thou shalt not censor or control the community’s voice.
a. It will govern itself. Squashing a voice is not appropriate even if it is negative. Only censor “offensive” material.
V. Thou shalt listen.
a. Engagement is not only for sounding off. The greatest asset your organization may gain from engagement is hearing the suggestions of your consumer.

View this document on Scribd

I disagree with Wasik that shorter content will remain to be free. I believe content is a commodity no matter what its’ length is. The value in content is what is says, not how long it is. One ironic example is Free by Chris Anderson, which was released for free initially, but if you wanted to “Cliff Notes” version it would cost you. If you think about it in academia as well, the value in say a scholarly journal used for a reference rests more in its’ citation and abstract than the article in full. It’s like the publisher would be saying, “Look, if you just want to know what these 234 pages are saying about the breeding habits of chimpanzees with hyper-active diarrhea in 500 words or less and cite it, you have to pay us; otherwise read it yourself.” This is the same principle as why groceries are cheaper at stores where you have to bag them yourself – “if we do the work for you, there’s a convenience charge.”

The fact of the matter is that our data and information is proprietary to those who have money, allowing the rich to continue to have the knowledge necessary to continue to be fruitful. This is called the digital divide and it plays right in to Wasik‘s (editor of the elite publication Haper’s) argument. It would be interesting to open his head and see if this is his expectation out of necessity, a self-fulfilling prophecy more than an educated conclusion. Shorter content in the traditional medias’ distributional models makes sense to give away because it doesn’t take up as much space than longer content. It takes up more space so it’s more valuable, right? Not necessarily, and since the web is a relatively cheap or free distribution model space is no longer a measure of value, it becomes about the quality of the content – not the length.

What is a show? Why does duration matter? And why the need to classify this stuff?”
As we start to realize this crazy internet media stuff isn’t just a “flash in the pan” we want to define what is what. We should be thankful that this is our task rather than organizing the alphabet, speech or mathematical equations. Video took the internet by storm mainly since YouTube hit in February 2005 and this is because of the tool that YouTube is as a publisher for the masses rather than for their content. Here we are four-and-a-half years later wanting to know what we classify as what in really a babe in its’ evolution.

I’m not engulfed in the video community like others, so from my perspective a segment of video has to have these characteristics for me to call it a show: video editing, characters and a plot. Quality has nothing to do with it being a show, but if it doesn’t show me a story, a narrative, about a noun then it isn’t a show. I wouldn’t call the nightly news a show because despite giving me a narrative of plenty of nouns it fails to give me a unifying plot.

The duration doesn’t not matter in definition because the internet as a distribution model only causes disruption to norms. Historically we would call a show 30 minutes to an hour, and anything longer is a movie. In some cases a movie gets to long for that title, then we call it a series. But plenty of people can produce content that displays over 30 seconds rather than 30 minutes that will establish characters, a plot and requires video editing. This quick format is not just done by the amateurs with no experience or equipment. For example, Showtime has produced a YouTube show called University of Andy which is a sub-show to the popular show Weeds that airs on Showtime. Even without seeing the “real” show, you understand who Andy is and what his life is about.

The need to organize, define and classify this stuff is not necessary for it to continue or “succeed” on the net. I would ask who needs this classification? I don’t, so it’s not needed by anyone else. My itch tells me that this need for boxes to drop everything in to is more necessary for the networks and those instituted in traditional media, more or less because it would be easier for them to drop something new in to one of their classification rather than them learning or accepting something new. In media, it’s very hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

Blog assignments by week

August 4, 2009

I am sure there are others than me that has been wondering if they have done all the blog assignments for Com597c. Below you should see everything that is on the class site (links and all), but it is unofficial. Get to the class site from here.

Week 1 – Set Up Blog/Video Project Ideas

Week 2 –

There are two “articles” I offer for your review. Please choose one and write how this concept of Socail Media could impact storytelling on the web.

This first is lecture by Clay Shirky at this years’ TED conference.
http://mashable.com/2009/06/16/twitter-facebook-history/

The second is a little news article about Microsoft abandoning the Soapbox platform. “The what?” you may ask. If you have any thoughts on how video is provided on the web, here is a starting point for you.
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10265858-56.html

Finally, once I get your blog urls I will throw everything into a feed aggregator like this. Unfortunately, FeedRaider has chosen this moment in time to shut down the system so I am uncertain what the URL will be. I will let you know once I fugure something out.

Week 3

In advance of the release of Chris Anderson’s new book “Free: the Future of a Radical Price,” a debate has erupted on the value of free in today’s marketplace. Anderson has been blogging about the tenants of “Free” over the past year to get feedback and solidify his premise. He postulates that in this digital economy pricing will gravitate toward free – YouTube (free entertainment & community); News outlets (free news); Open Source software, music, social computing, etc. This presents a major challenge (and many opportunities) for content creators who have built their success on charging for resources. Particularly for those resources that are becoming more readily available for free online and in the cloud. Understanding these concepts will help you better compete, coexist and thrive.
Here are four articles that frame the conversation. The debate is interesting since it provides several viewpoints.

Chris Anderson’s Blog
Malcolm Gladwell’s criticism to the Free concept
Seth Godin’s response to Malcolm Gladwell criticism
Marc Cuban’s response – Free vs. Freely Distributed

As we look to week three of the class, you can use this conversation to ponder these new questions about a “Free” economy:
· How do you monetize your resources – will your pricing model be relevant in the future?
· What are your competitors’ pricing and value strategies?
· How can you build value into your work so people are willing to pay for it?
· What are the disruptive technologies in the future, based on this free model? How will you engage users/viewers to stay competitive and engage your audience?
My personal favorite line in the articles is Gladwell’s assertion that, “YouTube will lose close to half a billion dollars this year. If it were a bank, it would be eligible for TARP funds.”
For your Week 3 blog Post, analyze the arguments of Marc, Chris, Seth, Malcolm, et. al. and tell us if you think Anderson is right. Most importantly, what is the impact on web-based storytelling? Blog your answer and post it by Tuesday Midnight July 7.

Week 4

Analyze a formerly print-based News organization using video on the web.

Week 5

I’ve been seeing a lot of press of late about the potential of social media. But the cynic in me says, “Not so fast.” Too much hype usually means flash in the pan. A significant amount of the work you will do and have done in this program revolves around the implementation and consequences of social media.
For your next blog posting I want to hear what you want to do with the knowledge you are gathering. What is your dream? Where does this all lead you? To prime the pump, here are a few blog articles that may help you frame the challenges and opportunities associated with social media. The first talks about Social Media newsrooms in a corporate environment. This is a little more corporate leveraging of the social media space. A report on the 140 Character conference. An advertiser’s guide to video snacking. An eyetracking study talks about search. The Witness Project. And finally, an article about how social media is changing the TV landscape (specifically, late night.)

I have presented a wide range of articles, not with the expectation you will peruse them all. We have a diverse group of folks in class with different interest and goals. The only thing that ties these articles together, albeit loosely, is social media. This topic is open for you to take in any direction. I just want to hear where you think you might be going in this landscape.

Week 6

Part of what we do in these hallowed halls of academia is work diligently to put things into little boxes. This effort to categorize is probably just human nature, our feeble efforts to make sense of a chaotic world. Honestly, I don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing.
At the beginning of this month the New York Times published a short article discussing the web’s use of longer video clips, as if the next “Gone with the Wind” had its own gravitational pull of lengthiness. But it got me thinking about content length on the web. Does it matter? If we go with longer shows on the web, what happens to the generation raised on “short attention span theater?” Will the video snack always be a part of the syntax of the web? Which led me wonder, how do we even define and classify this content. The Video Insider posed the question two days later, “What is a show?”

So that is the question I ask you… What is a show? Why does duration matter? And why the need to classify this stuff?”

Week 7

This assignment will be your last blog posting for class. The assignment is to view Bill Wasik’s talk about modern media. He believes that shorter content will always be free. Do you agree? Please write a blog posting discussing your point of view. Do you agree? Disagree? Why do you think so? Here is the link:
http://bigthink.com/billwasik/bill-wasik-takes-modern-media-to-task

Our discussion on subscription models is a battle that has been had since media chose the internet as a distribution tool. Time cannot distinguish a surefire success of a business model as the factors of advancements in technology, consumer behavior and many others will cause any business distributing through these medias to have to continue to evolve. When discussing the factors that decide how a business will make money, it is important to remember that the business cannot define a wrong or a right model, only the consumer can do this by using, paying, or a little of both. The only thing a business can do is give the consumer something to define the value they place on that companies content, goods, or services. This customer-defined business model is the “free trial converted to subscription” model, and may be the most stabile of business models on the net. Two reasons why a business needs to explore this model:
BaseCamp, Netflix, Adobe, Playboy and the Wall Street Journal as well as thousands of other companies used this model to some extent because they care about how you feel. When I first bought my Mac I used a free trial of Apples’ MobileMe product which at the time was only email, online storage and web hosting through other Apple software. The key to that experience which converted me to a paying customer for the past four years is how it made me feel. I felt more efficient with my time, more organized with my data and that I was now able to create and host a website with no experience in that field made me feel smart. I was in search of those feelings, MobileMe gave them to me and Apple continues to reap the benefits. Emotional connections is one of the key experiences consumers must have with a product or company to convert them to a subscription holder.
The second positive experience consumers have to have is not directly with your product, but with the site you distribute from. According to Joseph-Vaidyan (2008), poor web design can create distrust in your company, a brand, or a product before an individual has even had an interaction with the product (pg. 5). I personally place a huge value on the UW Libraries content and the information it grants me access to as a student, but their site is difficult and confusing. It is not about the colors, shapes and tools, but something as simple as navigation can push a customer away. Outside of being a student I would have a hard time paying for such a service because my trial experience would be full of searching the wrong databases and stumbling upon my results rather than easily finding the right database and executing searches that bring me desired results.
Other business models can be more successful though given the right circumstances and one should not default to the free trial method. A business I have started for example provides neighborhood businesses with an avenue to advertise online to people who reside in the neighborhoods their business serves. Businesses have a tiered pricing structure which gives them the most visibility by subscribing to our middle price point and the initial reviews by mom-and-pop shops is outstanding! Our fee is so minimal in comparison to the other advertising avenues they have had easy access to in the past that it feels practically free to them, so to actually give them a trial is giving revenue away for us. It is the same basic idea as to why Walmart does not have a card program like many other grocers in our neighborhoods, “Why give them more rewards with the base price is better than if you have the benefit of a card at another grocer.”
Online distribution will never allow a guaranteed business model because of how all of the pieces evolve over such a short period of time. Even Googles advertising model will not carry its growth or hopes forever and that is why you see them attacking mobile and desktop computing. A business will never reach its’ full potential when it places all of its’ eggs in one basket, or all in to one business model. The fact of the matter is that diversification is revenue streams is what will allow a business to collect the data necessary to see which business model has the greatest ROI and growth. Trials and free will bring consumers in to experience what you have to offer – if it is vital you collect something back quickly, open to advertisers while the look around. When they subscribe, give them a defined value over your free service with content that is not able to be found anywhere else such as in blogs from you best writers or tools that make their lives easier. Commit to the consumer from day one, that your product will always be focused towards them and their needs, and by day 30 or 60 they will see your commitment, feel good about it, appreciate it, and make a financial commitment back to you.

This link will show you what others have already signed up for.

Use this link to get to the form and sign up!

Even though I hate this about myself, if I’m honest; I’m a salesman. I don’t like the sales process, but I love giving people the information they need to make smart and educated decisions about what they buy. When I worked retail earlier in life, I wasn’t motivated by the goals my manager gave me, I was motivated by making the customer like me more than the other salesman, and customer service/education was they easiest way to become the favorite. Nothing brought more joy to me than when a customer would say, “I think I want it, but let me get Scott’s opinion first.”
This idea of educating others to make informed decisions and being a resource for them really excites me, but I can not deal with the mundane life of retail. A career that offered me an opportunity to work with multiple parties, each one with a different set of challenges would be ideal for me. That is why I feel working as a marketing and sales consultant would be the job I would die doing.
The MCDM program and the information it provides for me is key to me accomplishing this goal. Partly because of educational status, as well as the skills I hope leave with. I am not wanting specific skills as of right now, I am entrusting my school and its’ faculty will facilitate that. I don’t want to be the Kawasaki of Digital Media (but I’ll take it if offered,) but want to be able to sit down with the Johnsons to talk about their new hardware store, understand their challenges from a sales/marketing/media stand point and give them a good/better/best strategy.
I actually hope that the program provides me with a deeper understanding of where digital media has been, where it is, and maybe some conversation on where it could possibly go. This I think is more important to me than how to measure a social media campaign, so as the future does unfold I can reflect back and recognize the mistakes of the past. All in all, I just want a job that will intrigue my attention, keep my interest, challenge my limits, supply for my family and give me an opportunity to spread information. When weighing options, MCDM felt like it would provide the best opportunity for me to accomplish such a dream.