A Semi-Automatic Marketing-Based Weapon
From Alert Reader "Big Media" in comments:
Remember Wildeâ€™s comment that â€œthe only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.â€
He also wrote about the importance of being earnest. Yes, yes?
As the Internet makes media congloms get more of their revenue through the net and less through print, cable, radio and broadcast TV, the currency of media companies is shifting.
Toward how much traffic, how many hits a site gets. And itâ€™s provable, trackable - no need for Nielsens. The more hits, the more traffic, the more a media corp can justify in charging its advertisers (this has upset some expensive applecarts in the advertising industry, BTW).
That's teh marketing, right there. Tracking is what it's all about. A company that pays for advertising wants to know how many "impressions" their money will deliver, i.e.: how many people are going to see their ad. Media outlets that have more readers/viewers can charge more because they can deliver more impressions per ad.
Once upon a time, a media outlet would tout it's Nielsen ratings (TV), Arbitron ratings (Radio) or audited circulation numbers (Print) to justify what they would charge an advertiser.
But in the internet world, it's all about clicks. And a media company can track exact reader behavior in great detail. Also, an advertiser can independently track how many clickthroughs their ads get and from which pages.
This constitutes a great advance in tracking. If I'm not mistaken, Nielsen and Arbitron ratings are based on surveys, so they have some degree of inaccuracy. I don't know how circulation audits work, but I don't see how they can tell exactly how many unpurchased copies of a newspaper are left in every sidewalk dispenser.
Websites offer exact, accurate, up to the minute tracking. For example: the WaPo knows exactly how many visitors come to the Amazin' Froomkin's page at any given time, and consequently how many views the ads on his page get. So do advertisers (Victoria's Secret, today).
I know that SFgate.com, the San Francisco Chronicle's web site, offers ad positioning by section (News vs. Entertainment, for example) but I don't know if it's possible to advertise on a specific columnists' page. If it were possible, and if I worked for a company for whom bloggers were a target audience, I would have strongly advocated dropping a sizable sum of cash on yesterday's WaPo chat about blogger ethics. Our ads would have gotten massive impressions.
This is where the Ju-Jitsu comes in:
From a raw dollars standpoint - the language all companies speak - a positive hit means the same to them as a negative one.
Ergo? Carrot and stick people, carrot and stick. Add ARTICLE links from the MSM to your sites - NOT their main site. Today we vote in the MSM with traffic. Good article, we tell our friends by emailing the link. Bad article? Get in the habit of cutting and pasting for articles you donâ€™t like, instead of forwarding the link.
Modifying the technique specifically for bloggers:
Find a fact-based investigative article you like? Link to it. And click on the ads on that page, no purchase necessary.
Find yet another instance of Right Wing propaganda recitation? Post a quote, and cite the source (Deborah Howell's January 15th column on Post.com) but don't link to it.
Same goes for Right Wing blogs. While citing Michelle Malkin's insane eliminationist rantings reveals how Unhinged the Right is, linking to her posts only increases the value of advertising on Pantloads Media.
There is someone at WaPo.com and every at other major news outlet with a Web presence whose job is to track hits. They are the ones who will have to report to the managers: "Howell's column got almost nothing this month but Froomkin is blowin' up." People like Jim Brady and Lil' Debbie Howell will have to explain to the business owners why management is giving a columnist who is a good earner such a hard time.
This might call for yet another conference on blogger ethics, but I think it's a good idea. It leverages Corporate Media's bottom line, which in the end is all they care about, to overcome the ideological bias of their mid-level decision makers.
BTW: to answer Big Media's question, we played Strip Yahtzee.