Thursday, July 19, 2007

SEO and the perfect headline

With SEO playing an ever increasing role and the need for tight descriptive headlines overtaking the old art of headline writing as honed by generations of newspaper subs, it's good to see there's still room to pack a punch with a headline that would work just as well online as off. Here's the Glasgow Daily Record promoting a story about John Smeaton:

Via Stewart Kirkpatrick.

Blogging Future of Media 2007

Congratulations to Ross Dawson and his team for yesterday's Future of Media 2007 Summit. The event was a great success.

The technology worked, the panel discussions were terrific, and the audience participation across both San Francisco and Sydney was valuable too - although a little hard to manage when you can only see one group. Ambitious, but hugely worthwhile.

Meanwhile, Scott Karp makes the point that newspapers are at the nexus of the digital media revolution. I couldn't agree more.
There are two phenomenon that everyone interested in the future of media should be tracking closely. The first is the iPhone, which is the first breakthrough mobile media device. The second is the transformation of newspapers [...].

Monday, July 16, 2007

RSS in plain English

It's one of the most powerful tools of the new web, but one of the least understood. RSS still has a geeky air to it, but the folks from Common Craft have the perfect explanation ...

SEO tips from Neil Patel

Patel claims he doubled TechCrunch's Technorati ranking after just six weeks, by providing better linking and leveraging sites. In this video he offers some tips for success.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Future of Media Report 2007

Ross Dawson has just released the Future of Media Report 2007 [PDF] ahead of next week's Future of Media Summit.

Some highlights in the report include:

Eight developments in Media from July '06 to June '07. Examples of key developments, including industry transactions and acquisitions, layoffs, new channels, intellectual property, and censorship.

Shifting global advertising channels. Data and commentary on shifts in advertising spending, and a comparison of ownership of the online classifieds segment in the US, UK, and Australia.

Comparison of fastest growing properties and internet access. Exclusive original research from Nielsen/NetRatings, comparing uptake of new media properties in the US, UK, and Australia, and different online browsing behaviors across nations.

Key elements of Media business models. Following the Future of Media Strategic Framework from last year, this year's report has four complementary frameworks looking at scalability, value of distribution, value of advertising, and media personalization. These can be applied to understanding emerging media business models. Each of the frameworks is explained in detail.

Media industry network analysis. An analysis by Laurie Lock Lee of the recent acquisition of Southern Broadcasting Corporation by Macquarie Media Group, and insights on the impact on the Australian media industry landscape.

Media transactions. A list of media mergers and acquisitions of at least US$1 billion over the last 15 years, putting the massive surge in recent media industry activity into context.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

AOLs new personalisable pages

(via Techcrunch) - The best of these is easily Mgnet. It's a cool, simple way of selecting a news feed mix via images. It's got some smart technology behind it that learns from your individual image selections to present, over time, individually filtered stories to suit your tastes.

They've also launched a customisable homepage that's tab-related to Mgnet.

All good, as we say in Qld.

I think the value here is the mix of functionality and third party content (and widgets), and ease of use. It's a step beyond a standard personalisable news page.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Backfence demise not the end of community journalism

One of the more prominent early adopters of "citizen journalism" is shutting up shop. Backfence started in early 2005 with high expectations and now its unfortunate demise is being used as an excuse to call game over for local news and community publishing ventures.

But looked at logically, why should the failure of one community news site, or the survival of others, say anything categorical about the future or viability of community journalism?

Many of the sites that identify with the community media movement look and feel like old media. And there's the rub. Old media is still not quite comfortable with the whole web thing - let alone real communities, mobile extensions etc etc.

Real community journalism remains a significant challenge for traditional media organisations, but one that can be met. Calling for the undertaker because Backfence fell over is giving up way too easily.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Murdoch scores Dow Jones

According to former Sunday Times editor, Andrew Neal:
"Rupert Murdoch has succeeded with his $5 billion bid for Dow Jones, owners of the Wall Street Journal, according to sources acting for the Dow Jones board. Negotiations on price and matters of principle have been completed, though some details remain to be resolved. None is regarded by either side as a deal-breaker.

"The Dow board is confident that the terms of the deal will be accepted by the Bancroft family, which controls a majority of voting shares in Dow Jones, over the next few working days. A formal announcement is expected next week."

Driving transactions through social networking

According to social networking doesn't necessarily drive sales.

A Jupiter survey found "53 per cent of online shoppers go straight to the site they want to buy from, rather than being directed there by a social network site".

This is sort of stating the obvious, I would have thought. Yes, online shopping behaviour is reasonably well established and social networking with any sort of commercial outlook is still fairly new.

But what is interesting is that "12 per cent of online shoppers quizzed said they buy more than planned as a result of using a social networking site".

I reckon this points towards an important development. Add to that "social networking sites serve to reaffirm purchasing decisions, with 29 per cent of respondents saying they make better decisions using them", and there looks to be a definite trend.

Australian Augmented Social Network ...?

linkau is a new social network site. Just launched. It's purportedly Australian, but their Ts&Cs are based on a template created and distributed by a British legal site and they are "governed by and construed in accordance with English law, and any disputes relating to this notice shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England".

That's kind of odd for an "Australian Augmented Social Network on the Internet", which is how they describe themselves.

Not much information about who's behind this, but Laurel Papworth has their number:
"Dunno about you, but I would've said that generic networks with no value add are over. MySpace had it's time, and we've moved on. Perhaps there is traction in local ads and classifieds - sort of craigslist for Sydney - and the 'entry portal page' concept, but the whole user experience needs an overhaul if that is the case. I'm of the opinion that copycat sites that are adapted for niches can work, but there has to be some adaptation."

Friday, July 06, 2007

Print cannibalisation by online a diminishing concern

A new study [PDF] shows that UK newspapers’ online editors and managers generally see print and online editions as complementary products. And concern at a number of major UK titles about cannibalisation has diminished to the stage where it is not a significant influence on strategy.

There are still sites charging for columnists, archives, digital editions, e-mail alerts, and mobile services, but the study shows most are finding it best to make content free to increase overall traffic.

Future of Media 2007

Back by popular demand, Ross Dawson's inter-continental Future of Media Summit is happening Wednesday week, July 18.

The list of speakers in both Sydney and San Francisco is impressive. I'm not actually speaking myself but will be doing a few intros from the Sydney end and helping Ross who'll be in San Francisco juggle the technology for the multimedia panel discussions taking in participants from both Sydney and the US simultaneously.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

News site relaunches

There have been a number of notable news site redesigns/relaunches recently which I just haven't had a chance to get to.

The Guardian, ABC News are just two that spring to mind, and watch out for relaunches of and shortly.

Here at APN we added our two cents worth with the launch of on Monday. Sunshine Coast news will never be the same.

Meanwhile, Read/Write Web has a review of new looks for three major US news sites: AOL News, USA Today, and CNN.
"... while CNN likely has the most attractive and professional-looking site (they could certainly win some web 2.0 design awards), USA Today has social media down cold. The fact that their users have embraced commenting and rating on news stories so vigorously, so quickly such that every day there are at least two or three stories with in excess of 200 comments is amazing and an affirmation of a tactic that has clearly paid off."
I'm personally not so sure that two or three stories a day with that many comments counts as social media success. Still, it's always interesting to see how a new look and feel reflects the news organisation's view on where online publishing is heading.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Fairfax buys into Southern Cross Broadcasting

In a deal with Macquarie Media Fairfax is acquiring part of the Southern Cross Broadcasting network and getting back in to radio and taking on some TV production assets.

It's a smart deal and gets them some useful distribution points and content supplements in markets they are currently not strong in, as well as Sydney and Melbourne.

On today's news we can expect Fairfax to launch an online news site in Perth a la the Brisbane Times fairly swiftly.