Tag Archives: Forbes

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What makes for a top post on Forbes.com

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Lewis Dvorkin, the chief product officer at Forbes, writes about the stories on its website that get the most reads.

Here are some of his conclusions:

1) Reporting Matters: Staff reporter Parmy Olson’s exclusive rags-to-riches story of WhatsApp founder Jan Koum hit the Top 15 four times — a full week after it was first published. It generated 10% of its total page views in the 7-day period and drove significant next-page traffic. In a digital-to-magazine triumph, her Inside Facebook’s $19 Billion Megadeal cover for the Billionaire’s issue was also a Top 15 post.

2) The Pile On: Former New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines was famous for “flooding the zone” — sending as many reporters as possible to cover a major story. On the Web, writers can flock to niche stories — and audiences respond. Right now, Tesla and Bitcoin posts are golden.

3) Text Over Galleries: In a smartphone world, news audiences gravitate to headlines and stories (photos of red carpet dresses excluded). A post about Michael Jordan earning $90 million last year generated the only non-Billionaires gallery to hit the list all week.

4) Search Still Rules:The Top 100 Inspirational Quotes was published in May 2013. It was on the Top 15 list six times. The upside: 8 million page views so far. The downside: little retention value.

5) Go-To Companies: Apple, Samsung, Walmart. They are audience favorites all the time. Facebook and Twitter? Nope. There’s something about things you can hold and retail.

Read more here.

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The value of licensed editions at Forbes

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Lewis Dvorkin, the chief product officer at Forbes, writes about what the international licensed editions mean for the business magazine.

Dvorkin writes, “Sometimes my focus involves our licensed editions, as it did when the Internet convulsed over the demise of Flappy Bird, a wildly popular app from a mysterious 29-year-old Vietnamese developer. I asked one of our editors if he knew who ran FORBES VIETNAM. He did. Within hours its editor texted the gamer, then flew from Saigon to Hanoi to beat all other journalists to the first interview.

“There’s a bigger point here. FORBES is the fastest-growing international magazine brand–and the only truly global brand in our direct competitive set. Our 32 licensed editions, all but 4 in local languages, have a total circulation of 1 million. The top five websites among them have a combined monthly audience of 10 million. It goes beyond bragging rights. By reaching out to a network of knowledgeable, hardworking reporters who know the ins and outs of their countries, we can bring more depth and understanding to stories gaining worldwide interest at the speed of the social Web.

“The FORBES global platform began to take shape a decade ago. Paul Klebnikov, who was killed ten years ago bravely exposing corruption in Russia, helped lead the way. Paul, a former FORBES magazine senior editor, moved to Moscow to become the editor of FORBES RUSSIA, one of our first licensed editions. He had reported on Russian billionaires while in New York and continued to do so when he hit the ground there. Paul’s work was the beginning of a model for collaboration. Fourteen licensees helped collect information for this issue’s 28th annual Billionaires List.”

Read more here.

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The value of the Forbes brand

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David Carr of The New York Times writes about the Forbes brand as it prepares to sell itself.

Carr writes, “The entire category of business magazines has been punished, but Businessweek and Fortune have the benefit of being part of larger, more diversified enterprises, while Forbes has had to go it alone. The magazine doubled down hard on a digital advertising strategy with a lot of click-bait headlines and opened its platform to thousands of contributors, improving traffic but diluting its brand. In the context of the current sale, some saw that strategy as more like lipstick on a pig, a bold effort that fails to hide the fundamental ugliness of the situation.

“If the Forbes brand has been dented, it has hardly been destroyed. The name has always resonated globally, partly because the Forbes 400 ‘rich list’ is fetishized by the wealthy, many of whom will be on the list of the world’s billionaires that comes out Monday. And the Forbes Asia summit remains a popular, profitable event.

“In that context, a buyer from a nascent economy on the rise make sense. The Far East is a place that is not only making much of the world’s goods, the countries there are also manufacturing wealth at an astounding rate. Forbes might be a nice trophy for a foreign buyer as a way of signaling its arrival. It would not be the first time a publication was bought as a multiple of ego rather than earnings.

“But in America, there is a growing disconnect in the narrative of business magazines. The world of titans that Malcolm Forbes once so vividly inhabited has become a lot less sexy. The mix of buffoonery and greed that created the financial meltdown in 2008 dispelled the image of businesspeople as heroes. Forbes’s worldview — ‘Business was originated to produce happiness,’ B. C. Forbes asserted — has been overtaken by the grimness of a new economy, one that still produces billionaires that end up on the Forbes list, but few jobs to go with them.”

Read more here.

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Forbes nears deal with China company

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China-based Fosun International is now said to be in final negotiations to land Forbes Media and its related digital properties, reports Keith Kelly of the New York Post.

Kelly writes, “One source said the deal could be announced as early as this week — or early next week.

“Fosun is a diversified, closely-held conglomerate that last year purchased 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza for $725 million and already publishes the Chinese edition of the magazine.

“A report last week, in The Deal, had Fosun as the winner already. It quoted sources saying the price tag will be in the $250 million range — far below the $400 million that Deutsche Bank, which is handling the sale, said in November it hoped to fetch.

“As Media Ink first reported, Steve Forbes may be staying on board with a minority stake.

“Speculation is that Forbes will keep up to 20 percent.”

Read more here.

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Price that Forbes sells for will tell us a lot

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Michael Wolff of USA Today writes about the pending sale of Forbes magazine and what that will tell us about its operation.

Wolff writes, “Forbes in print form was once worth several billion dollars. Now its magazine has, at best, nostalgic value. So reports that the new Forbes was hopefully looking at a $400 million or $500 million sale on the strength of its digital accomplishments have buoyed the digital content market.

“Indeed, the digital journalism business has been distinguished most recently by the number of new start-ups in the field, and by well-known journalists leaving traditional brands to join new digital efforts. There is even a sense that there is a new science to digital publishing, that the code has been broken.

“Forbes is the looking glass example of this “science.” Looked at one way, by being aggressive or shameless, it has built a platform that offers the use of its brand to virtually anyone in a public commons sort of way. Thanks to the sheer volume of free content and opinions alone (and with artful top editing — i.e., headlines that encourage clicking), Forbes generates lots of low-cost traffic and views, against which low-priced advertising is sold. That’s the business in a nutshell: keeping your cost of content lower and cost of traffic lower than the low rates you’re getting for each view.

“But looked at another way, Forbes is an obvious fraud. It is not a magazine or editorial operation at all. It is just, in effect, a user comment site that allows commenters the pretense of saying they have written for Forbes. Or, even, for paid promoters to write laudatory articles for Forbes about whatever they are promoting, then to say, in further promotions, that Forbes lavishly endorses such-and-such complete baloney.”

Read more here.

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Fosun closes in on Forbes deal for less than $250 million

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When business magazine and website Forbes Media LLC is sold, likely to Fosun International Ltd., the Chinese conglomerate with the front-runner position in the company’s auction, sources said, it will be for a much lower price than private equity minority stakeholder Elevation Partners LP was hoping to receive, reports Jonathan Marino of The Deal.

Marino wrties, “Two sources said it is likely Fosun will acquire Forbes, and that it will pay less than $250 million for the magazine. The founding Forbes family is also expected to retain a stake in the business, a source familiar with the situation said. The deal has not been fully hashed out yet, but sources said an agreement should be reached shortly.

“Estimates for the company’s auction — which Deutsche Bank AG was hired last fall to run — have differed wildly at times. A Wall Street Journal report earlier this year noted hopeful sell-side expectations of a sale in the $400 million to $500 million range.

“Though Elevation has already written down the $264 million it invested in 2006  to $120 million, according to a Fortune report, its possible that the private equity firm  could still secure a slight internal rate of return bump, and not a loss. Elevation has preferred stock, meaning it will receive virtually all of the sale proceeds, provided it is at or less than $250 million.

“‘Given the financial performance, I’m not surprised the bids came in below expectations,’ said one private equity source, which declined to be identified.”

Read more here.
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Parts of the Forbes site remain down

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Arik Hesseldahl of Re/code writes about the Forbes website hacking and how it is affecting some of its writers.

Hesseldahl writes, “Meanwhile, Forbes’ blogging site remains offline as of this afternoon. Typically, contributors have free rein to publish their own posts via Forbes’ WordPress installation. I’ve talked with a handful of people who are regular contributors, and they tell me that, instead, they’ve been emailing their posts in to an editor who is publishing posts manually, which is significantly slowing down their ability to publish.

“‘Bloody awful. I have to email posts. No comments. Complete nightmare,’ one contributor told me in a direct message on Twitter. ‘This is really making me mad,’ wrote another in a Facebook message.

“Why this matters is that Forbes relies heavily on its network of 1,200 contributors to basically give it free content — a few attract enough traffic to make a little money in profit sharing — and a place to put advertisements. Without that, fewer people are seeing Forbes’ ads, and that’s bad for business. The longer its blogging platform stays down, the less happy its contributors will be. They could opt to take their words elsewhere.”

Read more here.

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How Forbes reacted to the hacking of its website

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Lewis Dvorkin, the chief product officer at Forbes, writes about how the business magazine reacted when it discovered its website had been hacked last week by the Syrian Electronic Army.

Dvorkin writes, “We took quick action on Thursday to lock down the platform, limiting our ability to publish. We made what we thought were corrective adjustments, then reopened the system for staffers and contributors to continue their work. Hours later, it became clear the attack was continuing. Once again we locked down the platform, making additional modifications. It was reopened for the overnight hours. Friday morning brought more of the same, so we decided to shutdown the normal publishing process for the holiday weekend.

“On both Thursday and Friday (and throughout the weekend), Forbes.com itself remained continuously available to the public. Traffic on Thursday was normal for a weekday, as it was for a Friday before a Monday holiday (archival content accounts for an increasing share of our usage). On Friday, we took steps to map computers in our New York office to a ‘safe haven’ server so staff reporters could publish. We set up a special email box for contributors to drop their posts. FORBES producers would grab them and publish them to the contributor’s page. Our loyal contributors eagerly participated in the make-shift process.

“Communication with our audience and contributors became critical, though separating threat from fact took time. We used our Twitter and Facebook pages to notify registered readers of Forbes.com that their email addresses may have been exposed (again, it’s now been confirmed they were). We also published a headline on the Forbes.com home page. Even though passwords used by consumers to log on to Forbes.com were encrypted, we strongly encouraged that they be changed when sign-on became available again. We were in contact with contributors through email and other means.”

Read more here.

Forbes website 2

Forbes website hacked by Syrian Electronic Army

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The Syrian Electronic Army has claimed it hacked the Forbes.com website, posting an image of what appears to be a WordPress administrator panel for multiple Forbes websites, reports David Gilbert of the International Business Times.

Gilbert writes, “While Forbes.com now appears to be back to normal, screenshots grabbed by Softpeida show the hackers defaced a number of pages on the site, posting a story which claimed to be written by the website’s cybersecurity correspondent Andy Greenberg under the headline: ‘Hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army.’

“As well as defacing the website, they have hijacked three Twitter accounts related to the website. Along with the @ForbesTech account, the hackers have also successfully gained control of the account belonging to social media editor Alex Knapp (@TheAlexKnapp) and personal finance reporter Samantha Sharf (@Samsharf).

“The Forbes Tech account and that of Alex Knapp have been reset, but a message stating ‘Syrian Electronic Army Was Here’ remains on Sharf’s account.”

Read more here.

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Forbes website gets hacked

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Forbes has posted the following message on its Facebook page:

Forbes.com was targeted in a digital attack and our publishing platform was compromised. Users’ email addresses may have been exposed. The passwords were encrypted, but as a precaution, we strongly encourage Forbes readers and contributors to change their passwords on our system, and encourage them to change them on other websites if they use the same password elsewhere. We have notified law enforcement. We take this matter very seriously and apologize to the members of our community for this breach.

Jim Romenesko has posted an internal memo about the issue here.