Sledgehammer Superstitials Hit Online Users

The behavioral psychologist Abraham Maslow once noted, “When your only tool is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.” Unicast ? a New York online advertising technology firm whose name infers anything but interactivity ? today unveiled what might be the banner ad version of the sledgehammer. Their Superstitial banner is a 300-kilobyte ad that rises to cover approximately two-thirds (550 x 480 pixels) of the computer screen with up to 20 seconds of ‘rich media’ advertising. Despite the Interactive Advertising Bureau‘s recommended 100-kilobyte maximum size for interstitial and pop-up ads, Universal Pictures and have agreed to […]

What are the New Media?

In 1998, we formulated a Philosophy of New Media. This past week, we took time out from this Web log (and other things) to reformat its pages. Not only does this Philosophy point out the misnomers and misperceptions that currently plague most news publishers and broadcasters who are attempting to operate online, but other events also keep proving the Philosophy true. It is as apt today as it was four years ago, and we’re proud of that.

Salon's Spins Paid Content

CNET’s recently reported that webzine has now generated 35,000 paying subscribers for its Salon Premium services. Indeed, Salon’s press release announcing that level of paying subscribership received favorable play in trade press for online publishing. That’s too bad, because some of those journalists have fogotten that context, not content, is ‘king’ in journalism. Dotcom Scoop‘s Deputy Editor Robert Loch didn’t forget that basic journalism lesson. He debunks

Woe is the Newspaper Industry

Perhaps no story portrays the newspaper industry’s current woes as well as this: On Monday, Kmart Corporation was named the Best Overall in the Newspaper Association of America’s third annual Retailer of the Year awards competition. The following day, Kmart filed for bankruptcy, the largest such filing ever made by a retailer. The NAA Retailer of the Year awards were established to acknowledge those retailers that execute highly effective partnerships with newspapers in their markets. Kmart was nominated by the San Diego Union-Tribune and Gannett Co., for newspaper initiatives that resulted in a 24 percent increase in daily sales at […]

Have Online Ad Networks 'Screwed the Pooch'

According to Tom Wolfe‘s book, The Right Stuffto screw the pooch was a slang phrase that test pilots in the California desert used during the 1950s to describe a pilot who died in the wreckage of his plane. News last week that DoubleClick is discontinuing its Intelligent Targeting product makes us wonder if DoubleClick and similar online advertising networks have themselves driven crashed the promise of online advertising into the ground. The dual promise of online advertising was that the consumer would see ads only for things that he wants and that the marketer would be able to buy ads […]

Handheld 'Communicators'

We yesterday mentioned the Handspring Treo as an example of a handheld ‘converged device’ that can handle multiple forms of content and communications. Today’s New York Times Technology section reviews (free registration required to read the review) both the Treo and the Motorola V200, another such device. Perhaps borrowing the term for similar futuristic devices in the Star Trek TV show and movies, reviewer David Pogue calls such devices communicators. Says Pogue, “…the Treo is miles ahead of rival Palm phones and light years ahead of Microsoft’s Pocket PC devices. It’s a tiny, trusty, addictive little gadget, fun to hold, […]

Postrel on Products

We’ve long been a fan of REASON Magazine Editor Virginia Postrel, who also is one of four experts who takes turns writing the Economic Scene column in The New York Times Business Section. Here are two reasons why we like her: In today’s Economic Scene column, she writes about how how publishers don’t think cutting the price of books will sell more books, “People who love their products tend to underestimate how many tepid or wavering customers there are at a given price. They lose sales by thinking everybody will be as enthusiastic about the product as they are themselves […]

Does NY Times Web Site Blur Editorial-Advertising Lines?

“To borrow from the tagline of the new blockbuster film Lord of the Rings, it may be the one Web page that binds them all. But did it united them in darkness?” That’s is how CBS MarketWatch leads a story claiming that The New York Times Web site’s ‘sponsored content’ for that film is the latest example of “how the modern world of Internet journalism is colliding with the age-old struggle of keeping news and advertising apart.” Earlier this year at the Content Summit in Zurich, we watched New York Times Digital General Manager Scott Meyer explain his company’s ‘sponsored […]

But Should Harvard Alumni Even Have AOL Accounts?

Dozens of applicants to Harvard University didn’t hear ‘You’ve got mail!’ when American Online rejected the university’s e-mails about their acceptance as Harvard students. According to, AOL’s e-mail filtering system mistook Harvard’s mass e-mailing as a spam attack and blocked those messages. (We wonder if AOL also blocks the Harvard Law School Alumni Association’s fund-raising e-mails to its alumni, AOL Time Warner Vice Chairman Ken Novack and Executive Vice President & General Counsel Paul Cappuccio?)

E-Mail the Major Carrier of Computer Viruses

According to a story in The South China Morning Post , Computer Associates and Kaspersky Labs repor that that 90% of computer viruses were transmitted via e-mails. According to MessageLabs, an average of one message in every 300 contains a virus, compared to one in every 700 one year ago. It expects that one in every 10 will contain a virus by 2008.

The Dawning of Converge Devices

We have long preached that consumers will soon carry a single portable electronic device for all content usages, rather than carry multiple devices (mobile phone, Personal Digital Assistant, MP3 player, laptop PC, digital camera, etc.) that each deal with only one form of content. We’ve also said that many of these converged devices would begin appearing early in 2002. The South China Morning Post now reports some of the first of these converged devices to reach the market: The Nokia 5510 (mobile phone + SMS & e-mail device + MP3 player + radio receiver + games player), newest Sony iPaqs […]

Frank and Pessimistic Forecast from NAA

Last month, the UBS Warburg Pincus Media Conference saw a rather frank and bleak slide presentation (9.5-megabytes in size) from the Newspaper Association of America’s Vice President of Market Analysis Jim Conaghan with forecasts for 2002. Online publishers can incidentally take some comfort in Conaghan’s analysis: Web sites modestly increased print circulation and bolstered print readership.

Should Time Warner Divorce AOL?

In mid-December, Forrester Research issued a report entitled Guides Redefine Mass Media that states, “Media companies in every sector face a collapse of their distribution control – and distribution control is what maintains media industry profits. Industry troubles have only begun.” Mass Media companies rely upon the control of distribution channels, but that consumers’ increasingly open access to content via the Internet is evaporating that control, the report states. Forrester says that as consumers begin using new technologies that allow each consumer to find content specifically matching his individual needs and interest, the concept of Mass Media itself is shattered. […]