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Blog network GigaOm has announced the launch of a Pro service today. The Pro service is a premium paid subscription option available at $79/year. GigaOm founder Om Malik has a blog post which provides details on why he decided to launch the Pro service and what the service will offer.
Om discusses the importance of multiple sources of revenue and notes that their core competencies are, analyzing key technology trends and business news”. Sites like PaidContent sell research reports but the GigaOm Pro offering will be a bit different. The content areas will include:
- Weekly Updates
- Long Views
- Quarterly Wrap-ups
- Research Notes
- Research Briefings
There are 17 research reports available on the service today and Om says they will be adding more soon. What I liked about the PDF reports is the internal links inside the reports which link to content online.
It will be interesting to watch which pieces of content make it to the free site and which are pushed into the paid side. Normally my view is that companies should offer as little as possible for free to get customers to upgrade — not sure that will work with a blog-freemium model. The key is to make sure that the paying customers always feel like they are getting something special over the content on the main GigaOm blogs.
I’d also look to integrate the “pro” option throughout the network of sites so that Pro users are recognized and new content can be pushed to them no matter where they are on the GigaOm network. Maybe even remove ads for Pro members and replace the ads with suggested/related content from the Pro site.
Om notes that since Paul joined they have doubled revenues and monthly visitors, held two conferences and acquired jkOnTheRun.
I am SO looking forward to meeting Om next week during my trip to San Francisco. I’ve said for a long time that I am certain I can learn so much from him about this business and hope that he can download some of that information to me. I am also going to see if he will go for a GigaOM show with the two of us – I think I can get him to bring out some of his NY’er side!
Big congrats to Om, Paul and the entire GigaOm family – you are all kicking major butt!
As I traverse the Web checking out new sites and those familiar to me, I’ve started to wonder what forms of advertising are acceptable today. I am curious about your thoughts as well. For purposes of this discussion, we will look at advertising for typical content Web sites and blogs — not porn, warez or any other potentially objectionable content. Let’s take a look at each of the most common forms of ads running today.
Traditional banner ads
These are the most standard form of online advertising and include a variety of IAB formats (e.g. leaderboard, skyscraper, 468 standard, etc.). I think everyone would say these ads are typically fine and acceptable. I turn off ads that are overly animated, have iPhone scams, participation giveaways and the idiot dancing people. I would lump most affiliate programs into this category.
This has become popular with the increase in professional bloggers. It seems the initial size was 125 pixel square, but now more sites are starting to provide alternative formats. We currently run the 125 size, check out GigaOm and SAI for a few alternative sizes. These ads are typically considered fine and acceptable. In fact, these are probably the best paying ads and also allow several select sponsors to display a strong relationship with a blog or Web site.
Google AdSense and other text ad networks
Again, these are typically considered fine and acceptable. These ads are normally contextual in nature and should provide greater return than the traditional banner ads above.
Popups and popunders
With popup blockers on nearly every computer today, these forms of online advertising have basically dried up. Most users hated them from the beginning.
These ads are newer and typically come packaged with a preview of the link that is moused over. TechCrunch and Mashable currently run this form of advertising. SnapShots combine a site preview plus contextual or image advertising where the publisher gets paid a CPC when a user clicks the ads and not the link.
It’s an interesting play… on the one hand, the idea of providing a preview of the site before you head there is a good thing. On the flip side, if you are intending to go to x site, see an ad for y site and go to y instead, the publisher makes a few cents but the intended linkee gets nothing. The SnapShots team have emailed me over and over to have CN use SnapShots. I haven’t made a decision yet but am leaning towards no.
Kontera and VibrantMedia inline text ads
Many blog publishers think these ads are the devil. These ads show up as links within content and are always distinguishable by link color and/or double underline. What I like about these ads is that the ad provider determines which words become links, not the writer. This alleviates the concept of writing content just to get a good round of inline text links (I know some still try though). When these ads first hit the market, they paid very well – partially due to users possibly being confused. I’ve watched the overall income drop on these ads month over month but they can still perform well in certain circumstances. I run these ads (only 3 per story) on HTMLCenter currently but not on CenterNetworks.
These ads appear typically before or between pages on a Web site. When these ads appear, you are forced into clicking the ad or clicking a close button. I haven’t seen many blogs running this format yet but it seems many of the large content Web sites run these ads without a second thought. CNET and the NY Times are always hitting me with these interstitial ads. Why is it acceptable for CNET to run an interstitial and reap the nice CPMs, but not a blog? This is probably the most interesting format to look at the differences between how a user reacts to advertising on a Web 1.0-style property versus a Web 2.0-style blog.
What formats did I miss? What formats do you run on your blog or Web site? What formats would you like to see in the future? I am hoping we see better monetization of RSS and mobile.
GigaOm writer Brian McConnell takes a look at some of the social networks from 1980-2000 today. It’s a worthwhile read, especially for those who weren’t born when that decade started. He mentions BBSs, Friendster and a few others.
Here are some of my additions:
- One of my first experiences was with MUDs – these were little missions inside a computer game. It was setup in a large lecture hall on VAX systems and while some may have used it for gaming, my friends just used it to chat about girls
- I used Prodigy for a while – the yellow screen and those ugly huge graphics
- I tried Compuserve but hated it – those stupid addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org and then you had the HAM radio type channels – was just a complete mess
- Let’s also not forget IRC – this was (and is) a social networking tool
- I remember AOL very well as in upstate New York there was no local access number when I was in college. My first bill was $500 not including $400 in long distance charges. I think Brian doesn’t realize the power AOL had in the early days.
- Brian mentions Geocities, another one that changed the game. You see back then people wrote HTML by hand (some still do) and for the average user it was just more than they wanted to handle. Geocities changed that – Geocities might also have revolutionized use of the man digging a hole in the underconstruction page – no where was this graphic used more than on Geocities pages
It sure is amazing how far we have come. What networks do you remember? I am especially interested in insight from outside the U.S.
This week marked the launch of the newest egoboard, the Techmeme Leaderboard. I thought it might be fun to look at the movers and shakers in the first four days since launch. The chart is below. From what I can put together, the big winners so far are Silicon Alley Inisider and NewTeeVee and the big loser is CenterNetworks dropping nearly 20 places!
So one must wonder, how did SAI and NTV move up? SAI is easy: create fake content (see stories on Google at $2k/share and TC selling for $100M) that big bloggers believe is real and you get links that move you up. Then write additional content to lure the big bloggers in for even more links. NTV is part of a "blog network" which can link to itself creating juice on both sides. TechMeme founder Gabe Rivera notes that these blog networks are considered individual properties so when GigaOm links to NTV, it "could" push it even futher in the TechMeme presence rankings.
Erick over at TechCrunch had a rant post today discussing why TC doesn’t get much Digg love anymore. Unfortunately the rant has been edited so I can’t note it here, but he did say that they love the TechMeme leaderboard. And why wouldn’t he love it? They are ranked #1 and got the exclusive. :)
It’s important to remember that there is a "ranking factor" that goes into what your mathematical possibility is for getting a lead spot on TechMeme. TechCrunch occupies the best ranking factor currently.
I wouldn’t go as far as Dave Winer has in saying that it’s a cesspool. He notes, "I’m thinking of this idiotic post (calacanis 3.0) by an idiot (calacanis) who’s known for saying idiotic things just to get attention." Some people would say that any of these ranking systems (digg, reddit, techmeme, etc.) lose their ability to show you the best content once people begin to game them.
So many bloggers are worried about what people think that they forget their audience and write stories only to get a push on some leader list. Do the things that got you an audience and your blog will grow. Do you think that because Ars Technica is #1 on most front page diggs, that they are getting more of an audience? No.
Thought for today… when baseball begins a new season, all teams start at 0 wins, 0 losses, the previous season doesn’t carry over. Even if the Yankees have 100 wins and the Red Sox 20 in the previous season, both teams start at the same position. How come this doesn’t happen in blogging?
Here is the leaderboard:
|New York Times||New York Times|
|Ars Technica||Ars Technica|
|CNET News.com||CNET News.com|
|Wall Street Journal||Silicon Alley Insider|
|Reuters||Wall Street Journal|
|Silicon Alley Insider||Reuters|
|paidContent.org||Between the Lines|
|Between the Lines||eWeek|
|Google Operating System||Gizmodo|
|Search Engine Land||Associated Press|
|Crave: The gadget blog||Search Engine Land|
|TorrentFreak||Google Operating System|
|The Unofficial Apple Weblog||Venturebeat|
|Business Wire||Business Wire|
|Rough Type||All About Microsoft|
|Scripting News||Google Blogoscoped|
|mathewingram.com/work||Times of London|
|CenterNetworks||The Boy Genius Report|
|The Boy Genius Report||ZDNet|
|All about Microsoft||PR Newswire|
|Tech Trader Daily||Forbes|
|Times of London||NewTeeVee|
|Publishing 2.0||A VC|
|A VC||Washington Post|
|iLounge||Todd Bishop’s MS Blog|
|Download Squad||All Facebook|
|All Facebook||Yodel Ancedotal|
|Financial Times||Publishing 2.0|
|Electronista||Google Public Policy Blog|
|Official Google Blog||Digital Daily|
|Google Public Policy Blog||Digitimes|
|USA Today||USA Today|
|AdAge||Official Google Blog|
|Apple 2.0||LA Times|
|New York Post||AdAge|
|Googling Google||Compete Blog|
|iPhone Central||Apple 2.0|
|Todd Bishop’s Microsoft Blog||Googling Google|
|NEWS.com.au||New York Post|
|Security Fix||Mercury News|
|Andy Beal’s Marketing Pilgrim||Broadcasting and Cable|
|ProBlogger Blog Tips||Google LatLong|
|Reflections of a Newsosaur||Think Secret|
|O’Reilly Radar||ProBlogger Blog Tips|
|Doc Searls Weblog||Boston Globe|
|Los Angeles Times||Doc Searls Weblog|
It's been a month now (boy does time fly!) since Morgan Webb and GigaOm launched their video/TV shows. I thought it might be beneficial to take another look and see if the shows are better, worse or the same as their initial airings.
WebbAlert – Hosted by Morgan Webb
I find the WebbAlert show content to be about the same in terms of quality from her first few shows. She has made some improvements, appears to be a couple of inches further back from the camera, though she still needs to be another 6-12" inches to reduce her neck bobs and weaves. I had drinks tonight with a person who said that he finds her show appealing if he misses a day of the blogosphere. What really irks me is her daily hair change. I am not sure why she does this but it is unneeded and many times (including today) looks like she just woke up :). Morgan, leave your hair one way. Morgan has a bubbly personality and seems to understand tech. If her producer would make some small tweaks, the show would have some real positive possibilities.
Overall rating change from launch: No change
GigaOm TV – Hosted by Om Malik and Joyce Kim
I can tell that Om and Joyce are listening to feedback about the show in both content and in production. They have stopped the overselling of the show in text which is great. Just sell it for what it is, people appreciate that. They have featured a good batch of guests over the weeks which can certainly increase ratings. I found the "battle" between Jason Calacanis and Kevin Rose to be the most missed opportunity for the show. They sold it as a battle, but it was nothing more than two guys praising each other. On today's episode about Web analytics (a topic I am very passionate about), I could tell Om wanted to really get emotional and excited but he reserved his "rant" for after the panelists left. As I noted on Om's blog, he needs to play the bad cop and let Joyce play the good cop. This could really bring the show to life as it is just so boring currently.
As for the production value, it is increasing week by week. Tonight they had a lit logo behind them and the video angle appears to be better. Om needs a pillow behind his back and under his butt to put him more on the same level as Joyce. Then let's move the camera up to a straight on level (instead of shot from under) and tighten the shot. It would be nice to see Joyce and Om's mouth move as they speak.
Net result: the show has improved. Om, I am bringing you a pastrami on rye from Katz's when I come to SF next month to help you get some of your NYC fire back.
Overall rating change from launch: +2 points
Update: Looks like the show hit Digg home page. Would be great to see numbers sans-Digg on viewership.
Om and Joyce are back for Episode 2 of GigaOM TV. I reviewed episode 1 last week and thought it was a bore. So let's see how tonight's episode goes! It seems that on the show are Jason Calacanis and Kevin Rose. The show starts out with their five hitlines which are boring. I actually think this could be a good part of the show as I think Om is knowledgeable but the segment moves too quick.
Now on to the guests. GigaOM TV believes in disclosure! Here is the list of disclosures:
- Jason is married to Joyce's sister
- Joyce is Mahalo's corporate attorney
- Kevin is founder of Revision3 who produces GigaOM TV
- Kevin is longtime friends with Om.
Phew. That was a bit much, ja? On the second show do we already need to hit up our friends (and family)?
Some notes from the discussion:
- Jason: Netscape was evolution of Digg, Pownce is evolution of Twitter
- Kevin spoke about Mahalo and basically said he didn't really get it for the first week (Allen's note: he dugg Mahalo to the home page on the first day, so he dugg something that he thought wasn't worthwhile, seems like a story there!)
- Kevin found the Mahalo airline tickets page to be very beneficial and useful.
- Jason thinks the user interface work that Kevin does is great. He thinks Pownce has nailed messaging and file-transfer.
- Om notes that Jason is "not much loved" and that most people hate him. Jason says after people meet him, they love him. Jason believes in bluntness and his role is to be blunt.
They close with some user comments. Actually one user coment about the open chested shirt Om wore. He claimed it was too hot to keep the shirt buttoned up. Lastly they offer 100 Pownce invites to the viewers.
Overall the show was similar in quality to last week. No catchphrases tonight. The promo talked about "Internet mega-duel" but both Kevin and Jason were so kind to each other. Om seemed exhausted during the hitlines. Not sure when they film, but I would suggest they try earlier in the day. What did I learn? Kevin thinks Jason is great, Jason thinks Kevin is great and everyone on the show tonight is related in one way or another to each other.