The Media Oxpecker: Are Micropayments the Business Model of the Future?

november 18, 2011  02:54 pm
Every Friday we round up media & tech industry news you may have missed while you were busy getting shoved to the ground by Portland's finest.
  • In a blog post on the future of online advertising, Felix Salmon questions the very concept of ad-supported media. In the early days of the internet, he says, "many extremely smart people pushed very hard to develop a workable micropayments architecture online":
    One of the big reasons why online advertising has done so well is simply the negative one: online micropayments were a disaster, and never took off. But they’re much more compelling as a business model, and there’s a decent chance that at some point in the future the financial system as a whole is going to get its act together and put together something which actually works and which people are happy to adopt. At which point, the online ad industry will face a major threat.

    Far more valuable than ads, Salmon says, are links in stories. That's why shady marketing companies — like the one that approached Gawker last month — are willing to pay big money to bloggers who insert stealth links into their posts.

    But what about the supposedly superior ability to measure the effectiveness of online ads?
    It’s a known fact in advertising circles that only idiots click on ads — and yet advertisers still think that click-through rates mean something, and that a higher click-through rate means a better ad. It’s the measurement fallacy: people tend to think that what they can measure is what they want, just because they can measure it. And it’s endemic in the online advertising industry.

    The full post is well worth a read.

  • After the AP scolded its staff for tweeting news that hadn't been published on its wire yet, GigaOM's Mathew Ingram wrote, "The Associated Press is fighting a losing battle if it is going to try and keep the news off Twitter or the web until it can publish something on the regular wire … if Twitter is beating the wire then maybe the wire should speed up."

    Erik Wemple adds, "Journalism these days has no clue about digital journalism."

  • David Carr on MediaNews Group CEO John Paton: The second-largest newspaper chain in America is now being run by someone who thinks that print is, if not exactly dead, dying a lot faster than anyone thought.

  • Conde Nast is launching a private ad exchange featuring CPM price floors and real-time bidding to sell its unsold digital inventory:
    The exchange is the latest in a trend that's seeing similar private offerings pop up across the digital media landscape. Last week, AOL, Yahoo and Microsoft finally announced their long-rumored private exchange that they hope will raise CPMs on inventory that they believe is undervalued on third-party ad markets.

  • Eight publishing giants — Advance Digital, A.H. Belo, Cox Media Group, Gannett, Hearst Corp., MediaNews Group, McClatchy and The Washington Post Co. — have teamed up to create a "social shopping portal" that will consolidate the companies' various deals and advertising products.

  • Good news: Local online ad spending is poised to spike in 2012, says Borrell Associates.

  • Bad news: Editorial staff numbers have fallen by 29% since 2007, says a recent Society of Editors' survey.

  • The president of the Native American Journalists Association resigned last weekend and said the organization "is on the verge of financial ruin."

  • The Los Angeles Times is branching out into e-book publishing. Its first title sells for $.99 and is an expansion of a story the paper published earlier this year about a banker accused of kidnapping and torturing his child's mother. The e-book includes new material from the trial and additional background material from the reporter.

  • Longreads founder Mark Armstrong has joined Read It Later as an editorial adviser.

  • How Storifying Occupy Wall Street Saved The News

  • Who Really Owns a Company's Twitter Account?

  • "We see a lot of weeks where the lineup is mostly set and then she suddenly wants to move everything around — a story that’s eight pages goes down to four, and then goes back up to six. None of that is catastrophic, but it’s very time consuming. The art is suddenly different and the caption has to be changed. And, wait, now it’s four pages! And, wait, there’s a different picture." Such is life at Tina Brown's Newsweek.

  • And finally, a project that is tweeting the events of World War II in "real time," 72 years later:
    [Alwyn] Collinson's tweets evoke the fog of the present, the difficulty of seeing the big picture when you're stuck inside it. But the flipside of this is that I lose some of the understanding that the intervening years can provide. That is to say, that in gaining a small idea of what it was like to be there in 1939, I forgo some of the perspective of 2011. But, then, what could be a better lesson of history than the reminder that it's hard to make sense of the present.