The Media Oxpecker: 

october 7, 2011  03:02 pm
Every Friday we round up media & tech industry news you may have missed while you were busy avoiding the use of the word "homosexual," except in direct quotes.
  • The obvious lead this week is the death of Apple's Steve Jobs, which prompted an outpouring of personal remembrances, regrets, and some criticisms. The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal, Slate's Farhad Manjoo, and The New York Times' David Carr each had smart pieces worth checking out.

    Also making the rounds is the video from a 2005 commencement speech he gave at Stanford University, in which he told the assembled grads, "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.":
    For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

    Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

  • "Your industry is on the verge of a massive double dip," warned NYU Professor Scott Galloway at the annual American Magazine Conference this week:
    Magazine publishers have bounced back somewhat from the dark days of 2008 and 2009, Mr. Galloway told them, but they remain lodged in the teeth of a secular shift being driven by in large part by Facebook. As Facebook consumes increasing swaths of consumers' time, it is giving magazines new channels to reach consumers but also opening them up to disintermediation.

  • The understatement of the week belongs to the New York Times, which said of Groupon, "Contrary to what the company had maintained, it was not profitable in the traditional sense." Also not profiting in the traditional sense are merchants:
    The long-term reputation of the merchant may be at risk, according to a new study by researchers at Boston University and Harvard that analyzed thousands of Groupon and Living Social deals. The researchers found that fans of daily deals were on average hard to please. After they ate at the restaurant or visited the spa, they went on Yelp and grumbled about it. This pulled down the average Yelp rating by as much as half a point.

    And in another amendment to its IPO filing today, Groupon acknowledged that another one of its accounting metrics — gross billings — should not be interpreted as revenue, in the traditional sense.

  • The Huffington Post Media Group's combined websites had over one billion page views in the month of August. The flagship Huffington Post site also launched four new sections this week: Huff/Post50; HuffPost Gay Voices; HuffPost Weddings; and HuffPost High School.

    In addition, the Huffington Post will launch local sites in Detroit and Miami next month, raising questions about the future of Patch, which is losing money in the traditional sense:
    AOL will spend about $160 million on Patch this year, and it has already lost both its director of sales and its senior vice president of local ad sales . . . but the topic page model, which is based on aggregation rather than original content that AOL must spend at least some money on, offers the company a more cost-efficient route into local markets.

    In other Patch news, a new yet-to-be-named trade group for hyperlocal news sites has decided that Patch will not be allowed as a member.

  • Google is testing new web ads designed to look like circulars:
    "Retail in general is a large category for us," Nick Fox, vice president of product management at Google, said in an interview. "They’re trying to understand what the answer is in the digital age to the offline print circular. They’re trying to understand how to get their online visitors into their stores. And this is our answer to that."

  • Facebook fan pages will now display a new "People Talking About This" metric to give page owners a better understanding of how users are engaging with their content.

  • In an effort to curb "inappropriate and hateful speech" the Orange County Register has converted to Facebook's commenting system.

  • The use of mobile devices (which includes tablets) to access media content is reaching a "critical mass," with almost half of Americans now using a device to connect to media.

  • Ricky Gervais on Twitter: Of course there are idiots on Twitter. But there are idiots on the high street and I still go there. People say awful idiotic things all the time, but I don't give up language because of it.

  • And finally, the way we engage now:
    A snippet of Rachel's media consumption showed her in her home toggling between her smartphone, her television and a copy of Time magazine, but her highest emotional engagement level occurred when she called her friend to leave a message apologizing for missing her birthday.

  • Previously: Are You a 'Standout' on Google News?