Content Pricing Malfunctions Leads to Volatile Markets

In my column 11 months ago, I wrote: At the center of any market is the price mechanism competition creates. There’s always some difference between buyers’ and sellers’ desired prices. In a functioning market that difference is minimal, or at least negotiable; buyers and sellers agree on pricing. Sales result. Economists call this a price equilibrium. Online, price equilibrium appears to exist in several markets, notably games, greeting cards, and dating services. Sellers offer services at prices agreeable to buyers. Millions of consumers use these markets. Most online content revenues are from these markets. What happens when the difference […]

Prophetic Words

“It is the thesis of this book that society can only be understood through a study of the messages and communications facilities which belong to it; and that in the future development of these messages and communication facilities, messages between man and machines, between machines and men, and between machines and machines, are destined to play an ever-increasing part.”  —Norbert Wiener, The Human Use of Human Beings: Cybernetics and Society (1950)

Ask Their Employees That Question features an article headlined Tony Ridder Still Having Fun. We’ll presume that Rupert Murdoch, the Cox family, and the Newhouse brothers are also having fun.* The real question is whether their employees are enjoying themselves, too.      * We should note that Conrad Black isn’t his jubilant self nowadays.

FTC Issues Warning About Purported 'National Do No E-Mail Registry'

If you are an American who has submitted your e-mail address to a ‘National Do Not E-mail Registry’ that promises to reduce the amount of spam (unsolicited commercial e-mail) you receive, then you may be the victim of a scam, said the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. On Thursday, the FTC issued a warning that, a site that had a graphical resemblance to the FTC’s own national ‘Do Not Call’ anti-telemarketing registry, might be a fraud. The next day, the anonymous owner of revised his site’s design and added a disclaimer that the site was privately operated and […]

"All Marketing Should Be Permission Marketing"

Speaking of advertising (see below), the marketing chief of one of the largest consumer products companies in the world today told the Advertising Agency Association of America’s annual conference that: “All marketing should be permission marketing,” he said. “When we think of permission-based marketing, most of us think about opt-in online newsletters. We really need to expand this mentality to all aspects of marketing. … For each element of the marketing mix, we should ask ourselves, ‘Would consumers choose to look at or listen to this,’ and let that be the benchmark” Thus spoke Proctor & Gamble’s Global Marketing Officer […]

How to Diminish Online Readership

Less isn’t more. Forcing people to register to read newspaper Web sites that simply shovel online generic content from printed editions will only diminish the number of people who will use those sites in an era when diminishing readership should be the last thing that any newspaper operation will do. Those sites are using registration as Bandaids™ to cover their failed previous strategy of hoping that gross sales of banner ads would adequately subsidize their formerly gateless sites. Their thinking is that maybe advertisers will pay more for ads if given better demographic information about the sites’ users. That’s true […]