Tag Archives: Websites
by Chris Roush
Lewis Dvorkin, the chief product officer at Forbes, writes Tuesday about the growth being experienced at the business magazine’s website.
Dvorkin writes, “Second, we bet that today’s news consumers viewed content as content — that journalists, the audience and marketers could all publish in the same environment with transparency and proper labeling. Those core principles are now the foundation for Forbes.com, which is as much a brand-building platform as it is a website.
“It’s working for our content creators, news consumers and the business.
“In FORBES’s new newsroom, we edit talent, then give talent the freedom to produce, program, market and promote their own content and pages. FORBES is the umbrella brand, and the clarity of our 95-year-old editorial mission holds the individual brands together. We now have 1,000 topic experts using our customized tools to post 400 times a day. They write the stories and the headlines, pick the relevant photos and videos for their posts, insert related links of their choosing (either theirs or those of other contributors, like I did above) and moderate their communities. Staff producers, an audience development team, data analysts and our technical team provide the support they need.
“FORBES.com has grown dramatically in the process. By February 2012, we had doubled our traffic from the year earlier (as measured by Omniture). This past July, monthly unique visitors to our site were up 70% from the year before. And last month, we hit record traffic of 33 million unique users. In the first six months of 2012, digital revenues were up 26%. FORBES magazine benefited, too, as we extended our brand across the social Web and to a generation more in sync with entrepreneurial capitalism than ever.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Seth Fiegerman, a business journalist who was working for Business Insider, joined the tech news site Mashable last week.
Fiegerman tells Talking Biz News that his last day at Business Insider was Aug. 23. He joined Mashable on Aug. 30.
“Mashable is one of the top destinations for tech news and I’m excited to help build up its coverage of the business of technology and social media even more,” said Fiegerman in an email. “I’ll be reporting on startups, marketing and tech trends for businesses and consumers.”
Fiegerman joined TheStreet.com’s MainStreet as a reporter in 2009 covering personal finance and consumer trends. He previously worked as an editor at Playboy magazine and as a reporter at the New York Daily News. He received a bachelor’s degree in journalism and philosophy from New York University.
At Business Insider, Fiegerman worked as a tech reporter covering all things Apple, including corporate culture, etc.
by Liz Hester
Recent initial public offerings from technology companies such as Facebook Inc., Groupon Inc. and game-maker Zynga Inc. have all disappointed long-term investors in the stocks.
Forbes outlined the troubles the three are having in an Aug. 21 story that argued that the tech firms should have considered going public earlier. They’re not alone. The business media has recently been jumping all over these companies, criticizing them as if they need to repent for being too bullish on Internet companies in the ’90s.
The thesis is that, because it’s so difficult to be publicly traded, no matter the environment, these firms would have been better off going through the growing pains of learning to be public earlier. The main reason: so the companies will learn how the public markets actually view their business prospects.
Groupon, which was valued at about $13 billion when it went public in November, was trading below $5 per share at the end of August. The stock has come under fire after the company reported disappointing second-quarter earnings, analysts questioned its status as a tech company and a star deal maker departed.
The news was bleak enough to prompt early backers Marc Andreesson, a veteran Silicon Valley investor, and hedge fund Maverick Capital to cut their holdings, which were acquired before Groupon went public. The Wall Street Journal also reported that several backers thought the company went public too soon:
Mr. Andreessen was among several Groupon advisers who urged it not to go through with its IPO as planned, said people with knowledge of the discussions. Starbucks Corp. Chief Executive Howard Schultz, who resigned as a Groupon director in April, also voiced worries that Groupon was going public too soon. So did John Doerr and Mary Meeker, partners at venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a Groupon investor, said people familiar with those discussions.
Among their concerns was that Groupon would have to withstand tough scrutiny of high marketing costs and other aspects of its IPO plan, said people with knowledge of the Groupon board’s discussions. As board observers, and not directors, Mr. Andreessen, Mr. Doerr and Ms. Meeker didn’t have a vote in Groupon’s IPO decision.
Groupon Chief Executive Andrew Mason said in an email, “Our board unanimously approved engaging investment bankers to explore an IPO then months later unanimously approved us filing the S1, and then months later unanimously approved us going public.”
With the loss of key saleswoman Jayna Cooke, investors may have more to be concerned about. The Journal reported that Groupon’s sales force has helped fight competition since they’re able to make more deals with merchants, especially on the local level. The loss of a key dealmaker could signal discontent among the group of people on which the company relies.
Facebook, whose IPO troubles have been chronicled in every media imaginable, has come under fire as investors question if the company will actually be able to deliver on its plans. One of the biggest questions remains if Facebook will actually make money on new products, especially on mobile devices, the New York Times reports.
Some point to Facebook’s inability to manage the expectations of Wall Street investors as one of the major contributors to the stock’s recent slide. Paul Sloan writes in CNET that:
No one expects Zuckerberg to veer dramatically from his strategy, which, in brief, boils down to two key components: On the one hand, the company wants to persuade Madison Avenue of the value of Facebook as a new kind of social advertising medium. At the same time, it needs to solve the $64,000 question facing all ad-driven social media sites and amp up its efforts on mobile. Facebook’s story is strong: 955 million monthly users, more than half of them coming back daily; $922 million in revenue from advertising in the last quarter. But Wall Street isn’t in the mood for a `story.’ That’s so 1999. It wants proof, in the form of higher revenue and profit growth, especially considering that Facebook, despite the plummet in its share price, still carries a price-to-earnings ratio that dwarfs those of Apple, Google and LinkedIn.
Sloan goes on to point out that Facebook has the ability to sell a lot more ad space and to tap into the people using its mobile app. Facebook is allowing some partners to develop ads that appear in users’ new feeds to promote their apps; when users click on them, they’re directed to the app store for their device.
Many investors after the company’s IPO are impatient to recoup some of their losses and have having trouble understanding the short-term vision.
And then there’s Zynga, maker of popular games such as FarmVille. Bloomberg dubbed them the worst performer of the Internet companies in an Aug. 22 story. After losing more than 70 percent of its value since the December IPO, Zynga may come under fire from activist shareholders to pursue a deal, Bloomberg said.
The company needs to prove that it can curb its reliance on Facebook to distribute games and that it has a plan for making money on mobile services. CEO Mark Pincus controls just over 50 percent of the voting rights and said he would not consider selling. He’s been upfront about this since the beginning and investors should take him at his word.
All three companies are struggling to show they have what it takes to become the next Apple, Google or even, Microsoft. Many Internet companies have come out of the gate strong, only to flounder as a newly public company. The ones who are best able to calm investor fears while executing their strategic plans will gain long-term success.
by Chris Roush
Welcome to Talking Biz 2, a business journalism website that builds on the nationally known Talking Biz News, which operates out of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
This site will provide a forum for discussion and attention to issues and accuracy in business reporting. Readers and contributors will engage in enlightened and informed debate to delve into the coverage of the complex business journalism issues of our times.
The site will examine coverage through a combination of short observational posts, in-depth analysis, interviews and moderated contributions of opinions, examples, background context or other information from readers.
Here are our goals. Talking Biz 2 will:
- Generate robust online conversations among business leaders, reporters, public relations professionals, business journalism students and citizens.
- Increase understanding of business journalism issues by providing a platform for a broad range of voices to be heard.
- Promote accountability and accuracy in the coverage of major business issues.
We have assembled an experienced team of regular writers and commentators, but the site will also take contributions from others. The regular writers will be:
Liz Hester is a former vice president of internal communications at JP Morgan Chase. Before that, Hester was a reporter on the finance team at Bloomberg News, where she covered Wall Street banks and initial public offerings, among other beats. She has a bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University and a master’s degree from Northwestern University. Hester will be the primary writer for Talking Biz 2.
Adam Levy is a principal with 30 Point Strategies, a communications firm with offices in Atlanta and DC. Levy was Atlanta bureau chief for Bloomberg News for 13 years and a senior writer for Bloomberg’s Markets magazine. He co-wrote the book “The People vs. Big Tobacco.” He won numerous regional and national journalism awards including a 2002 Gerald Loeb Award, business journalism’s highest honor. Before his journalism career, Levy was a securities analyst at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette in New York, where he analyzed media, hotel and restaurant companies.
Dean Rotbart is no stranger to dissecting the world of business journalism. A former Wall Street Journal reporter, Rotbart runs NewsBios, which provides biographical and personal information about business journalists to public relations professionals. In addition, he was the founder of TJFR, a newsletter about business journalism that was influential in both journalism and PR circles. Rotbart will write a weekly column.
Kelly Blessing is a senior at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Journalism, where she is studying business journalism. She interned this past summer in New York for Bloomberg News, and she is the recipient of the School’s Van Hecke Award, named after a former business editor of the Charlotte Observer. She is from Annapolis, Md.
Marshele Waddell is a master’s student at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Journalism. She has worked in journalism, marketing and public relations.
I will also contribute regularly to the site, but will primarily act as Talking Biz 2′s editor and direct coverage. Talking Biz News will remain a robust part of our efforts — you will now see its content on the right hand side of the page. But Talking Biz News will stick to job changes and smaller posts, while Talking Biz 2 will tackle meatier issues.
Thanks for reading, and welcome to our new venture. Comments and suggestions are most welcome.
by Chris Roush
Curt Woodward, a senior editor for Xconomy.com in Seattle, is moving to the tech news site’s main office in Boston but will continue to cover Seattle companies and topics.
Woodward writes, “I also have the good fortune to be a part of the team at Xconomy, because my bosses were enthusiastic about devising a plan to keep me on the beat covering Seattle companies and investors on a daily basis, even though my desk will be a bit farther away.
“I’m not going to pretend that I won’t be missing something by not being available for a spur-of-the-moment coffee or happy hour drink with the people whose stories I tell. But I’m dedicated to staying connected with the people who inform and read our coverage here in Seattle.
“Luckily, we can crib from the playbook that Xconomy Seattle editor Luke Timmerman has developed for his high-profile national coverage of the biotech sector. Luke’s actually got this down to a science: Regular trips to the cities he covers, usually around one of our events or a big industry get-together, with more interviews than you can imagine packed into the surrounding days, gathering material that he uses for weeks afterward.
“As far as the day-to-day work of reporting goes, much of it will actually stay the same. My routine involves a lot of e-mail, RSS subscriptions (yes, still), SEC filings, social media posts, and phone calls with folks who help me keep tabs on the flow of information around Seattle.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Dorian Benkoil of PBS’ MediaShift has nine lessons that have been learned from the overhaul of Forbes.com.
Here is one of them:
4. Give contributors ownership. Really
Long gone are the days of the traditional editorial flow in which a reporter files copy which is handed off to a series of editors, layout artists and fact-checkers.
Forbes’ content management system lets the same person produce and publish a story, then go in later to update or correct it. “The audience doesn’t want to be protected, they can protect themselves,” D’Vorkin told a media management seminar in New York in June.
While that can be risky, and Forbes has been called out on occasion for mistakes, D’Vorkin believes in letting contributors also be responsible for managing their communities and curating discussions their pieces generate in social media and elsewhere.
D’Vorkin also breaks ranks with most traditional publishers by letting contributors use their content elsewhere after it’s been published on Forbes’ website.
“I don’t believe in exclusivity. Ubiquity is the new exclusivity,” he told me at the seminar. Writers “can do whatever they want with it,” after they’ve published a piece on Forbes. “We win the game with SEO, anyway,” he said.
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Rachel McAthy of journalism.co.uk writes about how Forbes.com has reinvented itself as a digital platform.
McAthy writes, “Since the start of the ‘reinvention’ of Forbes.com two years ago there have been significant changes, not just to the production and presentation of content online, but also in the way its content is being consumed and reached across the web.
“The statistics that Lewis D’Vorkin, chief product officer of Forbes Media has to share are impressive. When he first returned to Forbes in 2010, (he was previously an executive editor of the magazine from 1996 to 2000), he says less than one per cent of traffic to Forbes.com came from social sites. Now that can range from 15 to 17 per cent a month.
“Search traffic has also risen, from 25 per cent to 40 per cent, and D’Vorkin says that the shifts seen in content discovery are down to the contributor model he and his team have worked to introduce over the past couple of years.
“Meanwhile the number of links featured on the homepage have been halved, while click-throughs have grown by 25 to 30 per cent. And digital revenues in the first half of 2012 were up 26 per cent compared to the first half of 2011, he added.
“And in the past 18 months traffic has doubled, with July seeing ‘another record month’ for Forbes.com with 31.5m unique users.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Staci Kramer, who has covered the media business for the past eight years for PaidContent.org, is leaving the website.
Kramer writes, “Thousands of posts, countless all nighters, numerous events ranging from our first mixer in Santa Monica to paidContent 2012, one funding round, two sales, and lots of great colleagues later, it’s time for me to take on new challenges.
“It’s been a privilege to be part of paidContent and ContentNext Media, to work with Guardian News and Media, and then to help find a new home with GigaOM. So many people have helped along the way that I’m afraid to start with names for fear of leaving someone out — thank you all.
“When we migrated to the GigaOM Network, I promised we would continue to bring you the same news coverage, smart reporting and insightful analysis of the rapidly evolving economics of digital content. My leaving won’t change that. Building something that doesn’t work without you is a hollow accomplishment. Instead, we built a team at paidContent that individually and collectively lives up to those goals every day — enhanced by the deep bench of journalists at GigaOM and everyone else who makes the journalism possible. Together they should be unstoppable.
“As for me, this new phase starts now with my first chance in a very long time to take a deep breath. What’s next? Stay tuned.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Brian Patrick Eha of the Columbia Journalism Review writes about RichmondBizSense.com, an online-only business journal started in 2008 by journalist Aaron Kremer.
Eha writes, “Part of Kremer’s motivation for starting BizSense was his feeling that business coverage at the Times-Dispatch had declined over time. ‘When I moved to Richmond in 2006, it was stronger than now, with maybe twice as many reporters and editors,’ he says. ‘But even then I thought there could be even better small business coverage. I particularly enjoyed covering startups. I wanted to do more of that.’ He hoped that his experience and the weakened business section of his former employer would make it possible to achieve success with a competing business site.
“In addition to coverage of small business and startups, key beats for BizSense include commercial real estate, entrepreneurship, banking, the local advertising industry, and the business of law. One recent scoop was a first look at a popular restauranteur’s new upmarket concept, complete with art. The editorial tone is lighter than that of the Times-Dispatch and more conversational.
“Besides Kremer, BizSense employs three full-time reporters, a part-time copy editor, and a full-time vice president of advertising. All reporters handle general-interest stories as well as their individual beats: One reporter covers banking; another commercial real estate and advertising; and the third covers entrepreneurship, retail, and sports. The site publishes at least two reported stories each day, and also publishes updates for its data sections on a rotating schedule. At least one data section is updated each weekday.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Adam Penenberg, a journalism professor at New York University, has joined tech news site PandoDaily as editor.
PandoDaily founder Sarah Lacy writes, “And now, he’s the editor of PandoDaily. Nathan Pensky will remain the managing editor and I will remain the Editor-in-Chief, but Penenberg will add a crucial layer in the middle, helping push our editorial standards even higher. He will work closely with our writing staff on story development, sourcing, and writing, making each and every piece the best it can be in the time-pressed world of blogging. And his first job will be writing our ethical code, so you, as readers, will know where we stand on everything.
“It’s not only rare to find someone this talented who is willing to gamble on a small startup. As an entrepreneur, it’s rare to find someone who is so aligned. Penenberg and I became fast friends, because we view the world, technology, and journalism in very similar ways. We both have reverence for what worked in old media, but believe the future of journalism is about tearing down what doesn’t work. We both prize good reporting above anything else. The holes he sees in our site are the same holes I see. And we also see the same big opportunity. As he wrote in his first email to the staff last week:
‘Trust me, opportunities to help build unique, influential, and important media companies don’t come around often. For me, the last time was in 1997, when I joined Forbes.com, one of the first Web-based news outlets. I was hired because I was the only one with online news experience, which consisted of four months covering breaking news for Wired.com. Here we are 15 years later and I sense a similar chance to make a difference.’”
Read more here.