Tag Archives: Websites
by Chris Roush
Jason Del Ray of Advertising Age reports that Business Insider plans to offer companies sponsored content on its website.
Del Ray writes, “Business Insider has sold sponsored posts and emails in the past, but is now doubling down on those efforts with what it calls ‘Brand Insider,’ which will allow advertisers to buy sponsored slideshows, videos, and even create their own blogs on subdomains within Business Insider that would mix branded content with relevant Business Insider editorial. (The site hasn’t closed a deal for a brand-sponsored blog yet, but Huffington Post’s collaboration with IBM is an example of what one might look like.)
“The site will continue to run traditional ads, which currently account for the majority of Business Insider’s projected $12 million of 2012 revenue (2011 revenue was $7.7 million and Mr. Blodget has said that revenue was $4.8 million in 2010.) But company President and COO Julie Hansen believes there’s a lot of untapped potential in selling content opportunities to brands.
“‘If it were half [of total revenue] in a couple years’ time, that would be great,’ she said.
“The foray into branded content is being led by Pete Spande, the former Federated Media CMO who joined Business Insider in March as its first chief revenue officer. (Mr. Spande was already quite familiar with Business Insider since Federated Media sold ads for the site until last summer.) In an interview, Mr. Spande said his sales team is focusing initially on helping advertisers simply find a new audience for compelling content they’ve already created.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Sarah Shearman of MediaWeek writes about the launch of the new business news site Quartz and spoke with editor Kevin Delaney about its potential.
Here is an excerpt:
How would you describe Quartz?
“Quartz is a digitally-native business news site for global business professionals. We are focused on the most important macro themes shifting the new global economy.
“The site is optimised for tablets and also works well on desktops and mobile.”
What is the business set-up?
“We have about 30 people including developers, editorial and sales staff, working at Quartz. We have people in Europe, Asia and the US, with headquarters in New York.
“The centres of gravity of the global economy have shifted. The financial crisis of the past few years has pushed that into further focus.
“We’re looking to provide information and analysis for professionals to better navigate this. Instead of using traditional editorial feeds, our reporters are focused on an obsession.
“Examples of the obsessions are the energy shock, China slowdown or an obsession around mobile web and how the one billion users of the internet will come online.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Todd Harrison, founder and CEO of Minyanville Media Inc., the business and financial news company that celebrated its 10th anniversary earlier this week.
In addition to his presence in the media realm, Harrison has spent 22 years on Wall Street. He worked seven years on the worldwide equity derivative desk at Morgan Stanley as vice president, was managing director of derivatives at The Galleon Group, and was president of the $400 million hedge fund Cramer Berkowitz.
He has appeared on FOX, CNBC, CNN, and Bloomberg TV, and in The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, The New York Times, Worth, Fortune, Barron’s, Dow Jones MarketWatch, New York Magazine, and Canada’s National Post.
Harrison has lectured at numerous academic institutions including Harvard University, Syracuse University, New York University, and The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He has also been active in research of financial market learning tendencies among college students, and was a contributing author to “Threat, Intimidation, and Student Financial Market Knowledge: An Empirical Study,” published in the Journal of Education for Business.
Harrison was featured in the 20th anniversary documentary of Oliver Stone’s movie “Wall Street” and in 2008, he received an Emmy Award for his role as executive producer of Minyanville’s “World in Review,” the first and only animated business news show, which featured Huffy the Bull and Boo the Bear.
His first book, “The Other Side of Wall Street: In Business, It Pays to Be an Animal; In Life it Pays to Be Yourself,” was published by FT Press in 2011.
How did you get the idea for Minyanville?
It was a bit of serendipity and a sequence of events. I was running a hedge fund, and I was asked by Jim Cramer, who was my partner at the hedge fund, if I would fill in for him on TheStreet.com while he was on vacation in July 2000. I filled in one day, and then they asked me for the rest of the week. At the end of the week, they wanted me to stay on because my page views were off the chart.
I decided to do it because writing synthesized my thoughts. I started using Hoofy the Bull and Boo the Bear as metaphorical references for my thought processes, and I had fun with it.
About six months into it, toward the end of the year, my grandfather was very sick and I would go down every weekend to see him, so I wasn’t writing as much. My readers were getting on to me for slacking off. They had gotten used to me writing. So I wrote about my grandfather, and they liked it. I was creating this bond with people that I had never met. I decided that if these people were going to be so kind then I was going to reciprocate and give them my thoughts on the market.
On Sept. 11, 2001, it was a difficult day. After watching people hold hands and jump off the towers, I asked myself, “What’s it all about?” I decided to start a new venture that could effect positive change. Unbeknownst to me at the time, that was the genesis of Minyanville.
How was it funded?
Initially I put well into seven figures into the company. I was coming out the hedge fund world, so I spared no expense. At the time, there was no such things as blogs. I developed the characters, Hoofy and Boo, and spared no expense in building a community for them to live.
Unfortunately, it was akin to the Universal Studios tour. It looked good, but if you looked behind it, there was nothing holding it up. It was an expensive lesson into how the Internet works and monetization of content. In the next few years, I kept at it and eventually we raised some money, and that started the journey.
Did you see a void in financial news to fill?
Yes. The way financial media worked was to give someone a symbol and tell them when to buy and sell. People didn’t know a whole lot about the underlying companies. People wanted to take their fare share of the tech bubble but instead, many got caught in the bust.
We never subscribed to that. We were about teaching people how to fish instead of giving them the fish. We talked about what we did and how we did it, with the caveat that this is what we were doing and not necessarily what the reader you should do. They should make decisions appropriate for their own circumstances.
At the time, we were told to take the word education out of the name of our business plan because it was anathema to profitability. But now we’re being approached by Wall Street firms about how to provide brand-safe content.
How did you attract journalists to the startup?
From day one, our editorial mandate was truth and trust. AT the time, this was before blogs and Twitter. There was a bit of an oligopoly in the financial media space. We were committed to doing it the right way. Your name is your word. These are things that are pretty standard, you think, but they were not at the time.
There was no benefit at the time for us to highlight that the banks were technically insolvent in 2006 or 2007. Nobody wants to know that when the screen is green. But we were always honest. It wasn’t just pie in the sky opinion. We backed it up with analysis that was cogent. We tried to stay away from the name calling and the gutter balling that a lot of people fell into.
What was the big breakthrough for Minyanville?
Probably 2008. That was the year that a few things happened, aside from the crisis. You never want to profit from someone’s pain but we laid out the framework for what happened before it happened. It gave us street cred. We had advertisers pulling ads from us three months before because we were too bearish. But we got in front of the crisis and talked about things before they happened. And it was also the year that we won the Emmy Award for New Approaches to Business and Financial Reporting.
What is next for Hoofy and Boo?
That’s a good question. We have conversations a lot about it. The convergence of digital and television and Internet has opened up a lot of channels. We;re in continuous disdcuissions, and when the right situation presents itself, you will see them again. They’re resting now, and getting ready for their big day.
Who are Minyanville’s readers?
Right now it’s a 45-year-old male, college educated. That’s what our surveys tell us.
Our feeling is that financial empowerment is a need, not a want, at this point. And the tougher it gets, the more people are going to assume more responsibility and want to know how things work. We’re here to effect positive change and understanding. We think that is a viable strategy.
Who do you see as your competitors?
There are competitors in different elements of our business. For our financial commentary, you could argue that TheStreet.com is a competitor, although they are pretty linear. Most media properties cut a horizontal swath through the demographic. What we have tried to do is approach finance as a vertical and through literacy. Earnings, spending, investing and giving are the four constants across your life, and we have tried to build a theme brand across those. In terms of the full Monty of the brand, I don’t see anybody else trying to do that right now.
The tone of the site seems more educational than other business news sites. Is that intentional?
Yes. That’s always been our approach that we have strived to achieve. Finance is a very homogeneous and intimidating. There are a lot of people out there who like to talk and sound smart and tell you what to do. We don’t look at the financial landscape as preacher to congregation, or congregation to congregation. There needs to be managed community.
I use the analogy all of the time. There is basic cable, but there is always the desire for HBO or Showtime. Financial media has a competitive advantage over traditional media in that you can charge more for the timeliness of the content or the quality of the content.
We want people to learn and absorb something with a smile on their face. It’s hard out there these days. We have no problem talking about what we have done wrong and how we feel, not that it’s a tree-hugging environment of danishes and powdered sugar. Trust is an element and a dynamic that you build from telling the truth and sharing what you have done wrong as well as what you have done right.
What are your goals for the next 10 years?
We want to adapt, but not conform. We want to build out the brand in a manner that is in the best manner for our investors. We still think we’re in the early innings of penetrating the mainstream mindset. We need to connect the dots between our various efforts — smart market commentary, award winning animation, our gaming engine for kids, our premium services such as the Buzz & Banter — so that people can see the constellation of how it all fits together.
by Chris Roush
Forbes chief product officer Lewis Dvorkin writes about the business magazine’s BrandVoice, which allows companies to provide content for its website.
Dvorkin writes, “Two years ago, we launched AdVoice, renamed BrandVoice last week, as a way for brands to use the same publishing tools I do to create, curate and distribute their expert content in a credible news environment. SAP was our first digital partner and Cadillac our first print partner. Since then, Microsoft, Dell, Merrill Lynch, NetApp, Gyro– and most recently Oracle — have all used our tools. UPS, BMO Harris Bank and Capital One will start posting soon. Northwestern Mutual Life, Aflac, United Airlines, Toyota and others have used the print program.
“BrandVoice and similar content marketing initiatives can be discomforting for traditional journalists. They needn’t be. Those of us with long careers in journalism have moved in and out of the gray zone between journalism and advertising. Special features, special sections, sponsored content and similar revenue-driving content features involve editorial conflicts that result in professional compromises, some more uncomfortable than others. Products like BrandVoice draw a bright shiny line between journalist and marketer for all to see. The critical requirement is transparency, which means proper identification and labeling.
“Like journalists, marketers are learning it’s work to attract news consumers and a following in the digital age. What’s a Facebook Like really worth? How often do Twitter followers actually read 140 characters ? Not every post on Forbes.com gets tens of thousands of page views, nor do videos get as many streams. You need to be timely, relevant and authentic in this new era. You need to give up a measure of control, difficult for news veterans reliant on editing hierarchies and advertising executives determined to lock down the message.”
Read more here.
by Adam Levy
There are many reasons that I really, really want to like Quartz, Atlantic Media’s new business website.
First of all, I like the magazine — which is usually very well written and full of unexpected and provocative points of view. Second, of all, well, it’s business news and in a world full of journalistic shrinkage, I welcome the commitment to more financial journalism.
Third, there are some stellar journalists behind this effort — people who have done great work over the years — and I’d love to encourage them.
But, after a week of popping around the site, I’m not ready to commit to bookmarking this site. It boils down to the same reason I don’t subscribe to the Atlantic magazine, despite enjoying the read when I pick it up at a newsstand every now and then: there is some great writing and cool graphics, but it ultimately failed to convince me that it’s a must read.
I had trouble figuring out what it was I had to read. I’m old school, for sure, and rely on the news judgment of new organizations to help me with my time management. Bloomberg’s top stories and the WSJ’s layout are intuitive, easy to follow.
At Quartz, it’s not so clear. The “defining obsessions” across the toolbar isn’t really what I’m obsessed about. I clicked on one and up popped Bloomberg News article I had already read. I clicked on another and got a neat enough graphic showing three other magazine covers progressively ragging on China.
What clinched it for me was on Sunday when I clicked on “The Next Crisis” and got a two-day-old story from Bloomberg on BofA paying $2.43 billion to settle with investors over its buyout of Merrill Lynch. Huh? Isn’t that the LAST crisis? What’s new about it? No added commentary, no perspective – just a stale two-day-old story that made me wonder if someone stuffed it under the heading by accident.
The same day I clicked on “Lifestyle” and got a list of trivia about “The Princess Bride.”Now, I love that movie, but come on, this and the BofA story don’t scream “you have to bookmark” me. Plus, can’t I get that trivia from imdb.com, and not from a business-centric web site?
For the time being, I’ll leave my biz-news bookmark alone and have Bloomberg, FT, WSJ.com, Reuters and AP in there.
I know better than to rely on first impressions, so I’ll give Quartz another shot. But for now and for me, it just doesn’t belong on the same stage as the others.
by Liz Hester
The Society of American Business Editors and Writers fall conference began in New York on Thursday with two lively panel discussions — but only after everyone had a couple of drinks at the opening reception sponsored by the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University.
The first panel, “How Social is Changing the Media,” featured Martin Wolk, executive business editor, NBC News Digital; Lewis Dvorkin, chief product officer, Forbes Media; and Emily Friedlander Peck, managing editor, business, The Huffington Post.
Wolk kicked off the discussion by outlining NBC’s evolving strategy. One interesting tidbit: It gets about half its traffic on breaking news from mobile devices. NBC is active already on Facebook and Twitter, and is looking at Pinterest and Instagram as other places to increase its presence.
DVorkin, who is credited with reinventing Forbes digital which now relies heavily contributor content, said it is looking to reinvent the newsroom processes and build a sustainable model for journalism. His sites are “banking on the individual as a brand” as well as for each person to be accountable and accurate.
Forbes contributors can see how many people are reading and commenting on their posts every 15 minutes. They also have tools to integrate with social media. The idea is to create a new model that’s profitable and lucrative for the writers involved.
The Huffington Post web site also has constant feedback, enabling editors to shift resources according to reader response, Friedlander Peck said. She admitted that many people in the newsroom were “obsessed” with the data, but the site also pushed stories it thinks are important. It’s this balance of giving the audience what they want and also pushing stories that should be told that makes the site successful.
Friedlander Peck gave the example of David Wood’s stories on soldiers returning from war weren’t the most read, she said, but he ended up winning a Pulitzer since The Huffington Post continued to run and promote them.
Forbes has built a new concept in newsroom that includes data analysis and audience development, Dvorkin said. Top editors meet weekly to go over what readers are responding to and push stories through social media. A representative from the ad sales team is in the newsroom to help fulfill campaigns for spiking news.
“We want to produce relevant content. We only know it’s relevant if we look at the numbers and see where it’s going,” Dvorkin said. “Our expertise is content. What we’re trying to do is be good technology integrators.”
Forbes contributors are contractually required to respond to reader comments, helping drive the conversations. And they view all content the same – journalists, marketers, contributors – and it dynamically flows through the site. They’re also paid for building a loyal audience, so a contributor is paid more for return clicks.
At the Huffington Post, Peck said that contributor content looks different than staff content, but that it may be hard for readers to tell the difference. Staff reporters are more closely edited, while bloggers don’t receive the same level of editing.
For some in traditional newsrooms, the notion of having ad salespeople and markets contributing to a site may be controversial. But audience driven content is helping both sites sell ads and increase readership.
by Chris Roush
Adweek’s Charlie Warzel interviewed Forbes CEO Mike Perlis about the dramatic changes at the business magazine, including its focus on digital news and commentary.
Here is an excerpt:
Adweek: Critics of AdVoice will say that having 1,000 contributors to the site is can lead to sloppy journalism and create that “if you’ve got something to say, say it on the Huffington Post’ kind of eye-rolling. What does Forbes do to keep thought leadership while democratizing the platform?
In a world where content can be commoditized we create filters around our brand. We love the fact that we produce a successful magazine. Our 1,000 contributors are all hired, are vetted, are all on a compensation plan and all curated which is very different from ‘if you’ve got something to say, say it on the Huffington Post.’ Our model is, if you’ve got passion and expertise then apply for a position. We’ve really created more relevant content than we ever could have by carefully hiring people with more narrow and specific passions.
That’s a lot of content, though. How does Forbes keep track of it all?
I’m not suggesting we edit them like we edit a full-time staffer, but the most important decisions we make is at the point of our contributor hires. We can take things down as quickly as we get them started and we do when we need to. We’ve enhanced our full-time and freelance staff too, and a number of those people pay full time attention to the contributor space editing on a vertical-by-vertical level. We think the vibrancy of the platform is worth the extra time and energy. It’s not an easy thing to do and it’s all about this platform. Our content carries the Forbes name and our whole mantra is to put authoritative journalism at the center of the social media experience.
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Joshua Benton of the Nieman Journalism Lab critiques the new business news site Quartz, which launched on Monday.
Benton writes, “While Quartz’s design cues and content structures are interesting to news nerds and web types, it’ll be the content that’ll ultimately determine how it’ll do. That’s hard to judge on Day 1, but the mix of content seems just as global as promised and nearly as high-end. (It’s so high-end it doesn’t allow comments. For Quartz’s desired audience, it’s probably welcome to soar above the ground-bound commenting riff-raff.) It’s also not above a little Atlantic-style clickbait now and then.
“As C.W. Anderson wrote here last week, Quartz is organizing its editorial capacity around what it calls ‘obsessions’ rather than beats. That is an interesting idea, but it’s one that in practice is less of a big deal than some first thought.
“Chris (C.W.) writes that an obsessions model could help free reporting from an institutional structure (the cops beat, the courts beat, the schools beat, etc.) that influences which stories are told and why. True, but that’s also a bigger deal for a newspaper than for an operation like Quartz that has only about 20 staffers, yet claims as its coverage area something as amorphous and all-encompassing as global business.
“Of course they’re not going to tie up their reporters with the captain-of-industry equivalent of school board meetings — they’re going to pick their shots, as Businessweek or Fortune do. Remember Quartz is more a magazine than anything else: from staff size to parentage (Atlantic Media) to inspiration (see that list of magazines-in-their-age).
“Quartz’s list of ‘current obsessions’ doesn’t sound all that far from what would be considered beats at other news orgs: the mobile web, the Euro crunch, startups.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
WSJ.com deputy managing editor Christine Glancey and managing editor Raju Narisetti sent out the following staff announcement on Tuesday:
We are pleased to announce significant moves on the Hub designed to capture the expertise of two WSJ.com leaders and unleash them in challenging new arenas that will propel us to the next level in digital news delivery.
Jennifer Hicks will triumphantly return to New York in mid-November from her successful three-year run as the digital diva of London to become leader of the online homepage team, succeeding Brian Fitzgerald. Jenn has shown a keen sense of real-time news and a master’s understanding of how readers consume that news online. From the daily drumbeat of the Euro Crisis to the Queen’s Jubilee and London Olympics, Jenn has proven she can work with bureaus to tailor crisp news packages with speed and also craft the best in digital presentation to delight readers. She played a big role in planning and launching the German-language site earlier this year and has been an early advocate of the streaming story concept. Her role in New York will call on all these skills. She will be responsible for daily decisions on play and execution of news delivery, hour by hour maximizing our content and creating a dynamic reader experience.
Before her two leadership roles in London guiding the European site, Jenn helped manage the WSJ.com evening desk in New York having first joined the Journal as an online news assistant in 2004. Jenn holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma and a master’s from Columbia j-school. She is a Knight New Media fellow and has worked as an adjunct professor at Columbia and CUNY journalism schools.
Brian, the flame-keeper of innovation, excellence and high standards at WSJ.com, is now taking his deep well of digital experience with him as he turns his focus from the construction of the website to the news that fuels it. He will work with the Journal news desks, wires, real-time deputies and multimedia editors to plot and build online coverage for news both breaking and planned. He will be a first-responder for news online, a person to help you develop your ideas and a continuing contributor to the site’s growth strategy.
For 16 years at WSJ.com, Brian has been developing a unique, intimate knowledge not only of our site, but of the revolution in the online news industry. He has been generous in spreading that understanding throughout the news room at a critical moment in our history. Fitzy, who has a bachelor’s from Seton Hall University, joined the Journal as a news assistant. He led the evening online team and daytime homepage team; worked on the website redesign and the launch of Methode and the new metadata panels; represented editorial on countless projects such as responsive design; and was an inaugural member of the Hub.
It is our goal to be in a constant state of evolution. To innovate and redefine the very best of what online news can be, and to execute on that vision every hour. With Jenn and Fitzy, we have two experienced digital news room leaders moving into critical positions at a critical time.
by Chris Roush
Jeff John Roberts of PaidContent.org writes about the launch of business news site Quartz, but wonders how it will generate enough revenue to sustain itself.
Roberts writes, “At the same time, Poynter cites a Ken Doctor report that explains that Quartz will offer a form of sponsored stories known as ‘deep content ads.’ The idea here is to create ads that seem native to the publication — a scheme executed very well by Buzzfeed, another successful media pioneer.
“But will ads bring in enough money to pay for all that elite content? Probably not. Few publications, elite or otherwise, can live on advertising alone these days. That’s why the analyst, Doctor, seems on the money with his prediction that the Atlantic will offer a professional subscription product like Politico Pro. In other words, one for another, the Atlantic will eventually target reader revenue.
“With Quartz, Atlantic appears to be making smart tactical choices in pursuit of a viable medium term strategy. And, as David Carr reports in the New York Times, its backers have already tasted success with other digital endeavors like Atlantic Wire and the Atlantic Cities.
“The Atlantic’s new business gambit is worth watching closely. Equally interesting will be how the other members of the ‘elite’ fraternity react. Will they lower prices to stave off Quartz’s arrival or double-down on the ‘high quality for a high price’ digital model that has worked so far?”
Read more here.