‘Business Models’ Category Archive

January 25th

Why local-news aggregation is useful information, not information overload

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My post on the Washington state linking project focused on the awesome innovation involved and on the benefits of collaborative linking in general. But the project also shows why this kind of news aggregation is so useful for a local audience. The biggest danger with news aggregation is that instead of acting as a filter, […]

November 20th

Should Newspaper Companies Get Out Of The Newspaper Business?

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Forget the bailout. I have a great new business model for Detroit automakers. Sell Toyotas and Hondas. Detroit already has the dealer networks. There’s great demand for Japanese cars. In fact, Detroit could retool all of their manufacturing plants to make Toyotas and Hondas. That proposal is similar to one put forth for newspaper companies […]

September 22nd

Why Isn’t Facebook Making More Money? (Hint: Advertiser Value and User Value Are Not Aligned)

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I happened to visit Facebook’s Business Solutions page, and was struck by how, at least on the surface, these advertising formats seem like exactly the kind of innovation that should be helping Facebook achieve Goolge-style revenue — which is of course what Facebook’s $15 billion valuation assumes will happen. And yet with 100 MILLION users, […]

May 22nd

Can Facebook Be The Next Scalable Independent Web 2.0 Business After Google?

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Has Facebook missed the boat by not being acquired by Yahoo, or is it just getting warmed up? A MediaPost piece by Gavin O’Malley showcases some opinions supporting the former:

May 21st

Journalists, Made For AdSense Publishers, And Regression To The Mean Of Content Quality

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What do offline media journalists have in common with Made For AdSense publishers, i.e. online publishers who create sites with junk content for the sole purpose of making money off of Google’s pay-per-click ads? Quite a lot it seems — Google is destroying their business models from either end of the content quality spectrum. Compare […]

April 12th

Do MySpace Users Care That It’s Not Really THEIR Space?

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Last spring I wrote a post “Has The MySpace Downturn Begun?” Dan Mitchell at NYT picked it up in a piece “MySpace No Longer Their Space?” My post was purely speculative and, not surprisingly, completely wrong. But the fact remains that MySpace belongs to News Corp, not MySpace users, which is why News Corp can […]

December 8th

Faster Horses and the Fog of 2.0

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Has there ever been an industry that faced as much uncertainty and such low visibility as the media industry? Media executives have lately taken to throwing up their hands and declaring their uncertainty in public (all emphasis is mine): In the next year or two the media world will begin to figure out what consumers […]

December 4th

Brands As Media

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Here’s a statistic to put a chill the heart of any online content or web app business looking to ride the wave of consumer advertising shifting online (via AdAge): Corporate and brand websites — once derided as “brochureware” in a digital marketing world that quickly moved to sexier applications — are getting a rehabilitation of […]

December 3rd

Content Businesses Don’t Scale Anymore

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Can anyone think of a content business — meaning a company that produces original content — that has scaled dramatically in recent years? I can’t. Look at the businesses that have scaled — Google, MySpace, YouTube — all platforms for content, but not producers of content. Compare those to original content businesses like Weblogs, Inc., […]

November 27th

Is The Video Content Business Eating Itself Alive?

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Last week the big news was CBS and YouTube crowing that distributing video clips of CBS TV shows through YouTube was (ostensibly) increasing CBS broadcast TV ratings. Today, the big news is that UK viewers who watch online video are watching lest broadcast TV. The online video boom is starting to eat into TV viewing […]

October 27th

Is Audience Measurement Still Relevant?

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In the continuing (and, I predict, growing) audience measurement saga, Fred Wilson chastises Mike Arrington for calling comScore’s audience metrics “flaky” vis-a-vis Digg’s audience: My guess is that Digg has something like 5mm monthly unique visitors worldwide. Not 20mm. The difference probably results from cookie counting, multiple browsers, and a few other factors. Perhaps a […]

October 26th

The New Media Audience Measurement Business Model Conundrum

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I was struck by this comment from a session on audience measurement at the Business Blog Summit (via conversationrater): I don’t care about how many page views or visitors I really get. I care about getting the right visitors, the influential visitors, or the potential customer visitors. How can I tell who’s who? Duh! But […]

October 25th

Does All Advertising Want to Be Free?

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Isn’t there an odd contradiction in all the thinking about new media? Individuals are now empowered to create content, to publish and have a voice without going through the old corporate hierarchy. You can blog and be heard, all for free, without asking permission. But what about brands? The assumption that online advertising will finance […]

October 15th

Edelman, Wal-Mart and the Loss of Control in Media

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It’s inevitable that a PR firm like Edelman would create a phony blog for one of its clients (in this case Wal-Mart — see Shel Holtz for a great analysis). For all of the hype over “conversation” as the new media paradigm, no one has yet figured out how to use conversation to reliably achieve […]

October 12th

More Evidence That Media 2.0 May Be Less Profitable Than Media 1.0

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There is now macroeconomic data to support the theory that Media 2.0 won’t be as profitable as Media 1.0 (from MediaPost): In a break from historical patterns, the equities research team at Merrill Lynch says the rate of advertising price inflation now trails the overall rate of economic inflation. “Interestingly, advertising growth seems to be […]

September 25th

The State of OMMA: Making It Up As We Go Along

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Rishad Tobaccowala, CEO of Denuo, gets my vote for most honest, “let’s cut out the bullshit” keynote speech. Speaking at the OMMA Conference in New York, Rishad admitted what most media and advertising stalwarts are deeply afraid of conceding: we’re just making this shit up (see his keynote here). The world of media, marketing, and […]

September 11th

Marketing Services Is the Future of Media

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I’ve advocated that media should evolve into marketing services — according to lastest Veronis Suhler Stevenson Communications Industry forecast, that’s increasingly where the money is going. NON-ADVERTISING-BASED FORMS OF MARKETING – especially newer sectors such as branded entertainment, event marketing and experiential marketing – have emerged as the fastest growing segment of the media economy, […]

August 29th

Everything Is Media: The Digital Music Edition

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As further evidence that technology is turning everything into media, Universal Music announced that it would be backing SpiralFrog, a digital music site that will attempt to transform the music business into a media business by selling advertising rather than charging fees: Universal Music, the world’s largest music company, is backing a start-up that will […]

August 19th

Everything Is Media: The Online Retailer Edition

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Folowing the 2.0 maxim that “everything is media,” online retailers have woken up to the media value of their website traffic and have started selling advertising on their sites (from WSJ, sub required): Last week, Amazon.com Inc. quietly began testing the sale of display ads on its home page to companies such as Ford Motor […]

August 1st

It’s the Users Calling…They Want Their Money

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The Guardian observes (via Jeff Jarvis) that YouTube has overtaken MySpace — but here’s the thing — it’s not really YouTube vs. MySpace. It’s user content and community hosted by YouTube vs. user content and community hosted by MySpace. The hosting is besides the point. It’s people like Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz who are […]

July 31st

Who Will Make Money with User-Generated Online Video?

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If you thought the social networking market was frothy, online video is rapidly expanding to fill all the bubble space. Jeff Jarvis observed that YouTube has now surpassed MySpace on Alexa (at least in reach) and speculates on who might buy YouTube — he also invited me to comment, and I’m going to take up […]

July 30th

Inform Enters the Search Economy

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Inform.com has wisely gotten out of the Web 2.0 news aggregator business and into the publisher services business. Erick Schonfeld at the Business 2.0 Blog has the scoop: As readership declines for newspapers and online readership grows, every publisher faces the threat coming from the edge of the network. Sites like Google News, Yahoo News, […]

July 28th

MySpace’s Business Model Conundrum

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I’ve been predicting for a while that companies would find ways to leverage the community marketing power of social networking sites like MySpace without the network seeing any financial benefit. Here’s a perfect example (via The Economist): MySpace seems to offer a chance for companies to take their marketing into new, potentially more lucrative territory, […]

July 25th

Journalism Should Be Nonprofit

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Jay Rosen proposes a new model for jouralism — “In simplest terms, a way to fund high-quality, original reporting, in any medium, through donations to a non-profit called NewAssignment.Net.” What jumps out at me, beyond the effort to empower “pro-am, open-source” journalism, is that it’s a nonprofit endeavor, driven by donations. Jay empahsizes that NewAssignment.Net […]

July 20th

Web 2.0 Puts Users in Control of Everything Except Profits

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I’ve been following an interesting trend of power grabs by Web 2.0 companies, from MySpace to YouTube to Google — Web 2.0 is supposed to be all about the “user,” but when it comes to profit making the user is getting shut out: MySpace Musicians don’t get paid for music played on MySpace (via Umair): […]

July 19th

3 Million Bloggers Looking to Make Money

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The Pew Internet & American Life Project released the results from a blogger survey today, which detailed the reasons why bloggers blog. The report focuses on some notion of storytelling vs. journalism (whatever), but what jumped out at me was that 7% of bloggers said that making money is a major reason why they blog. […]

July 11th

Distributed Revenue-Sharing Ad Platforms Are the Paradigm For Monetizing Social Media

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I’ve been critical of AdSense of late, but let’s give credit where credit is due — AdSense, i.e. a distributed, shared-revenue advertising platform, represents the new paradigm for monetizing content. That’s why I remain skeptical that MySpace, despite being the current center of gravity for social media and despite its current off-the-charts traffic growth, will […]

July 3rd

Gawker’s Restructuring, Old New Media, and Bubble 2.0

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Gawker’s Nick Denton has announced a restructuring, including a staff shake-up and the sale of two under-performing sites. Nick is a smart guy, and he’s clearly getting ready for the inevitable moment when the new media bubble begins to deflate — a “perversely countercyclical move” he calls it. What I found most fascinating is the […]

June 19th

Media Should Evolve Into Marketing Services

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I increasing believe that in order to survive and grow in a digital, networked, social, participatory world, media companies need to evolve into marketing services companies. Here’s what’s driving me to that conclusion. Advertising took another significant step yesterday towards graduating from paid media placements (i.e. traditional ads). Ironically, it starts with a paid media […]

June 13th

How Long Will It Take to Monetize MySpace?

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TechCrunch has a summary of MySpace’s eye-popping page view and user numbers. MySpace is probably the most discussed online business alongside Google and Yahoo. But with Google and Yahoo, the talk revolves around BILLIONS of DOLLARS in highly profitable revenue. For MySpace the talk is never — even in News Corp’s earnings release — about […]

June 13th

LostCherry Takes Aim at MySpace

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I’ve held forth many times on the myriad threats facing MySpace, but the real threat to MySpace dominance is evident in the scores of aspiring MySpace killers that have been filling up my inbox with solicitations (given the publicity I’ve received as a MySpace skeptic). I thought I would take a refreshingly constructive approach to […]

June 7th

The Accelerating Pace of Change in Advertising

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A few weeks ago the ad industry was predicting that the 2006 TV upfront would hold flat — things are changing, but not that fast. Let me requote: The 30-second spot, maligned as it is, “still works, despite TiVo and clutter,” says Andy Donchin, director of national broadcast at media-buying firm Carat North America. “[Let’s] […]

May 30th


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Robert Young provides the latest example of the unbearable lightness of 2.0 business strategy, arguing that media companies should create American Idol-like platforms for individual self-expression: Think of this way… what if “American Idol” had been produced solely by the capabilities of the contestants themselves, without the expertise and talent of the show’s producers, directors, […]

May 29th

The Long Tail of Revenue 2.0

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If the “long tail” is the organizing principle of web/media 2.0, why shouldn’t we expect revenue distribution to follow the same pattern, with a handful of companies (i.e. Google, Yahoo) controlling most of the revenue and the remaining online players fighting over the crumbs? When Google found a way to monetize the long tail through […]

May 21st

The Unbearable Lightness of 2.0 Business Strategy

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Umair Haque and Jeff Jarvis are engaged in an ontological debate about what constitutes “the edge” and what will ultimately be the winning business strategy at the edge. What struck me about their debate is how little clarity there is on how money will actually be made at the edge — and this despite Umair […]

May 7th

What If No One Will Pay For Content?

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Randall Stross, in a Times article, wonders who will pay for TV now that ad-skipping DVRs and on-demand broadband video have destroyed TV’s mass media advertising model. I wonder whether late 20th-century TV content production will follow the same path as early 20th-century transatlantic ocean travel, milk delivery, and buggy whip manufacturing — marginalized or […]

April 15th

Exploitation 2.0: Web 2.0 Wants to USE You

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There’s so much uncritical, blinders-on optimism in the Web2.0sphere that I savor the rare occasions when I stumble on a skeptic/contrarian after my own heart, in this case Rob May, who writes for businesspundit.com: A small percentage of the population enjoys doing things just for the sake of learning, exploring, helping, etc, and we hold […]

April 3rd

Web 2.0 Feels Good, But Where’s the BUSINESS MODEL?

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Nathan Torkington likes Doc Searls’ conception of Web 2.0 as a “morality of generosity“: We give. We are open. We love without expectation of reward, or even accounting. (In fact, when you bring in accounting, you compromise it.) Think about how we give to our spouses, our children, without strings. It pays off, too. But […]


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