Archive for December, 2009

Yahoo News developing politics, opinion site similar to Huffington Post

December 24th, 2009

According to a recent posting on Yahoo’s job board, the company is looking for an Editor-in-Chief to oversee a new opinion and politics section. The new section appears to be geared toward people who favour sites such as the Huffington Post.

The news editor will be tasked with building a network of freelance writers and bloggers who will write opinion and analysis articles, as well as blog posts. Yahoo says its goal is to make its news site deeper and richer with content that will “complement” breaking news from AP and Reuters. For those who follow news, it’s perhaps no surprise the highly-trafficked Yahoo News site is looking to broaden its reach into new media, as sites like the Huffington Post have shown a growing reader appetite for opinion pieces and political news.

The Huffington Post has also attracted a great deal of attention from advertisers, something all media executives have noticed. According to comScore numbers, Yahoo News attracted 138 million unique visitors worldwide in November 2009 – more uniques than Google News, CNN or the New York Times.

In the U.S., Yahoo News attracted nearly 39 million unique visitors in November 2009, while the Huffington Post pulled in about 9 million uniques. The Huffington Post has grown 27 percent year-over-year, while Yahoo News’ growth was relatively flat over the same period.

According to MediaPost, Growth at Yahoo News, the No. 1 site on the list, was flat at 38.7 million uniques. CNN Digital Network had the highest average of sessions per person at 7.3 in November, while the Huffington Post increased its traffic in November 2009, up 27% to 8.9 million year-over-year. Yahoo News hopes to tap into that growing population that craves politics and opinion.

The company is looking for someone in Washington, D.C. who has with seven to 10 years experience at a newspaper, magazine, wire service or online news site. Election experience is a must, and the editor will be asked to make appearances on shows such as Meet the Press and This Week.

Yahoo News says the editor of its new politics and opinion section will play a vital role going into election coverage in future years.

Liveblog Debate: How can media survive, adapt and prosper?

December 15th, 2009

Layoffs, buyouts and plunging ad sales have plagued media outlets this year. But how can all forms of media adapt to the Web and find new business models to prosper? Join this liveblog debate to add your insight to journalism’s most pressing challenge.

We’ve seen the headlines about the state of journalism today: NY Times Sees Print-Ad Sales Falling, Declining print media readership blamed for job losses in Canada, White House has no plans to bail out the newspaper industry. Media outlets around the world are being pressured to adapt or die.

Some executives believe charging for content is the future, while entrepreneurs want to create new media start-ups associated with the rise of Web 3.0.

Which avenue should journalism ride down? What new business models are emerging from the ashes of axed newspapers, TV outlets and magazines? Is citizen journalism one part of the answer, or should an online overhaul touch every old-school media venue in the world?

Join Digital Journal’s liveblog debate below as we discuss these important questions.

Digitaljournal.com staffers will be joined by a very special guest, media expert Alan D. Mutter. He is well-known for his blogging work on Reflections of a Newsosaur, and he’s spent decades in the trenches of various American newspapers. To comment on this liveblog debate, scroll down and hover over the embedded widget below.

Click “Watch now” to participate. Just pick a username and start commenting right. It starts at 12 p.m. noon (Eastern) and lasts for one hour. You can read through the whole debate after the event as well.



Huffington Post to offer advertisers spot in comments, twitter feed

December 15th, 2009

As advertisers look for new and more effective ways to reach out to consumers, the Huffington Post thinks it has the answer: monetizing social media.

According to AdAge, the Huffington Post will let advertisers pay to put comments among reader-submitted comments, and sponsored Tweets into the site’s live Twitter feed.

The Huffington Post, often called “HuffPo,” is a U.S.-based news and commentary site founded by Arianna Huffington.

While nobody has bought into the advertising idea quite yet, the idea has piqued interest in the world of advertising.

“It’s interruptive, potentially, but it also presents an opportunity for the advertiser to say something worthwhile,” Ian Schafer, CEO of interactive agency Deep Focus, told AdAge. “In theory, there’s more upside in doing it that way than in buying a banner ad. With those the default behavior is to ignore them. With this the default behavior may be to pay attention.”

Greg Coleman, the site’s president and chief revenue officer, said paid posts will be clearly marked and advertisers will get help on the best ways to join conversations. Coleman argues the format would give advertisers a way to start dialogue with readers.

For example, a discussion on football could include a sponsored post that includes relevant sports stats. Furthermore, a company that makes vitamins or health products could sponsor a tweet related to lifestyle and health.

“Although they’ve had a few years to get used to it, advertisers are still wary of social media sites because of the uncertain nature of user comments,” writes David Kaplan of PaidContent. “But as the ad recession has dragged on and standard display units are regarded tepidly, publishers and marketers are desperate to find ways to connect with audiences.”

The Huffington Post says advertisers need to see this as an opportunity to add value to a conversation rather than simply try and sell product.

The move into new forms of advertising comes at a time when the site is putting increasing attention on monetization. Coleman says the site expects to double revenue by next year and it’s now hiring more senior sales execs and buying third-party research on traffic and visitors. Coleman did not give AdAge any specifics on current revenue.

The Huffington Post is not the first site to look at sponsored posts, but with an increasing footprint in the social media world it’s getting a lot of attention with every move it makes.

“Clearly Ariana Huffington has spotted two trends in Twitter that make it a neat match-up for the news aggregation in HuffPo: Twitter’s growing userbase, and the way the system is increasingly being used by PR professionals for networking, client contacting, and news promotion,” wrote Kit Eaton of FastCompany.

The Huffington Post attracted nearly five million monthly uniques in November, according to comScore. And while the site is most well known for its political commentary and coverage, Coleman said 82 percent of pageviews in November were from non-political content such as entertainment and business.

If advertisers start adopting new methods of marketing their products, it remains to be seen how readers will react. While the Huffington Post says paid posts will be clearly marked, reader reaction to sponsored comments and tweets may be less than favourable.

Furthermore, it’s not entirely clear how the site will react if a company does not pay for a comment post, but instead engages in dialogue in the comment section anyway.

Got a question? Ask me

December 8th, 2009

I recently came across a new service called ForumSpring that allows you to accept questions from your readership and responses can be posted to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Blogger.

I don’t know quite yet what to expect, but I’m curious to see how it works. Go ahead, ask me anything.

Opinion: MySpace to integrate Facebook Connect in 2010?

December 7th, 2009

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

It’s a cliché I would avoid like the plague if it weren’t for the fact we’re talking about MySpace potentially bowing down and using Facebook Connect on its site. According to insidefacebook.com, Facebook Connect will be “everywhere” on MySpace next year.

For those unfamiliar with Facebook Connect: It’s a service from Facebook that lets third parties access member data and site features. Using Facebook Connect, a third-party can share a user’s activity on their site with that user’s friends on Facebook. The goal is to make your activities online more social because your activities become more transparent to your friends.

On MySpace, for example, it would make your MySpace activity more visible to your friends on Facebook (and in the long run promote MySpace to your friends who may not use the site).

So what’s the big deal if MySpace promotes itself on Facebook? Simply put: MySpace would be using a competitor’s site to gain exposure because the competitor’s site does a better job of attracting people. In real-world terms, it would be akin to AMC movie theatres promoting themselves in commercials that run in Cineplex theatres because Cineplex is bigger and does a better job of getting people in the door.

MySpace and Facebook have a long-standing rivalry that only now seems to be fading.

It’s important to remember MySpace once ruled the social media world; beginning as a site where musicians could promote their music, MySpace evolved into a destination where anyone could share their lives. The idea took off and News Corp. bought MySpace for $580 million (USD) in July 2005.

Then Facebook came along with a simpler layout, a better user-interface and more bells and whistles to wow Web wanderers. In a very short period of time Facebook’s transition into the world’s largest social network began and today the site has more than 350 million members.

So what does MySpace do in the face of dropping traffic? Integrate the competitor, of course.

Citing “industry sources,” InsideFacebook.com says MySpace will make Facebook Connect “a key part of the site,” because Facebook currently does the best job of mapping people’s real-life relationships.

Few details have emerged, but the report says it will be used all over MySpace and some News Corp. managers were “shocked” by how deep it has been integrated.

InsideFacebook.com makes some healthy assumptions, suggesting MySpace Music could use Connect so people can share music with their Facebook friends.

MySpace and Facebook had some vague public discussion about this in October, suggesting to the Telegraph that MySpace could become a Facebook Connect parter.

“Hypothetically speaking, as nothing has been formally arranged yet, MySpace could become a Facebook Connect partner – which would allow people to share content they liked from MySpace with their Facebook network,” Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, told the Telegraph.

In fact, MySpace’s CEO Owen Van Natta used to be Facebook’s chief revenue officer, and he still maintains a relationship with his former employer. Exploiting that relationship could prove beneficial to both camps.

It seems that new blood in MySpace’s executive management team has been focused on reviving MySpace to brand it as a social entertainment site for music, games and videos. That re-branding could be critical to the social network’s resurgence.

It remains to be seen just how deep Facebook Connect will be integrated into MySpace (if it will at all), but the new direction would certainly be a big step in a different direction for MySpace. Being more visible on Facebook and promoting users’ activities is exactly what MySpace needs.