Monday, December 7, 2009

Bob McDonnell's Online Advertising

Last month, just prior to election day, TechPresident ran a short story about New York City mayoral candidate Mike Bloomberg and VA Gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell running large Google advertising blasts in the runup to their respective elections.

The story discussed the strategy behind McDonnell's buy:
"...a Google Ad blast is running on behalf of the candidate today, targeted at both voters spending the day in Virginia and those many Virginians who spend their days working in DC. McDonnell's Google Ad buy started up at 9am, and will run through 5pm. McDonnell's buy seems to be partial to tech-focused sites. That's not the craziest approach given Virginia's vibrant tech industry and venture capitalist community."
Online ads can be an effective way to spread your political message to specific audiences and in spite of how much politicians are able to make online, they have not spent as much money on online advertisting as most companies.

According to Colin Delaney in his Online Politics 101, however, there are some cultural and technical barriers to online advertising becoming more widespread:
Running display ads is much more difficult than it should be, in part because different publications can have vastly different standards (I can remember one time doing three different versions each of four online ads, one set for the NY Times site, one set for Washington Post properties and one at standard 468x60 banner size for National Journal) and in part because ads can't be ordered from a single central broker.

professional campaign consultants in the U.S. have generally taken a cut of their clients' TV spending as a commission for placing their ads, and the industry hasn't worked out a similarly profitable business model for online political advertising.
As some of these hurdles are met, I think it will be interesting to see what percentage of advertising dollars on a political campaign goes to traditional vs. online media.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Google v. Murdoch

Our Republic and its press will rise or fall together.
-Joseph Pulitzer

I recently listened to a WBUR On Point podcast called Google vs. Murdoch.

While Murdoch and Google's back and forth was discussed (Murdoch recently said he was going to erect a pay wall around his content and disallow Google to index it), the majority of the conversation was about journalism's failing business model in the face of Internet technologies.

It was an interesting conversation to consider against the conceptual backdrops of thinkers like Clay Shirky and the authors of The Cluetrain Manifesto.

The issues discussed got to the heart of the issue: human behavior is shifting and so are the business models that were previously supported by those behaviors.

An interesting glimpse into just how destructive the Internet has been to the dacades-old business model of newspapers, the podcast was a good glimpse into the range of ideas about journalism after the collapse of newspapers.

In the face of newspaper's financial hardships, Schumpeter's Creative Destruction is a useful conceptual framework.

Schumpeter saw Creative Destruction as "process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one."

In the case of journalism, it appears that newspapers and the means of production that supported them aer being destroyed as a new means of production is being created.

It will be interesting to see what comes of attempts to imprint the same content-driven industrial business model onto the networked, information economy.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

READING: The Cluetrain Manifesto

Markets are conversations...
Companies need to come down from their Ivory Towers...
Hypertext is inherently nonhierarchical and antibureaucratic...
Reading The Cluetrain Manifesto, it is hard to believe that the book was written ten years ago.

A book of 95 theses for business thinkers to transition into the post-industrial information economy, The Cluetrain Manifesto is mandatory reading for anyone trying to stay ahead of changes in the marketplace of ideas and the marketplace of goods.

Driven by the logic and distributed, conversational architecture of the Internet, the information economy has different rules and The Cluetrain Manifesto does a good job of mapping the new ruleset.

A major subtext to the information economy that the authors of the Cluetrain Manifesto speak to is the transition from supply side control of the market (held by large companies) to demand side control of the market (held by comsumers with more choices).

Customers will increasingly make new things on businesses: more transparency, more humanness, more listening, less broadcast.