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Blurring the Line Between Editorial and Ads

blurryBack in the Golden Age of television, most shows were “sponsored by” one or two products. Between acts, TV characters proclaimed their love of a certain product and today we have product placement that requires the cops of Hawaii Five-o to stop and eat a Subway sandwich.

In other words, we’ve been blurring the lines between editorial content and advertising for a long while. We took a little break in the 80’s and 90’s and now we’re finding all new ways to mix brands and content.

Taking the Brand to the Content

Tanzina Vega of the New York Times published a piece this week on this very subject. She points out a collection of space tech articles on Mashable that were sponsored by Snapdragon (a Qualcom brand of computer chip) then remains journalisticly neutral, presenting both sides of the issue.

Revitalizing the Classics: About.com and Digg Say They Have a Plan

1415159_47821948Is anyone surprised that About.com is still standing? Before Wikipedia, it was the best place to find a lot of specific information about a wide range of topics with everything from Action Figures to Zoology.

What sets the company apart from standard blog sites is their extremely specific template style which leans heavily on evergreen resource pages. They’re also known for the amount of text they publish on a page and they are the reigning champs when it comes to internal linking.

They’re also king of the adsense placements. They weave so many plain text ads into their template it’s often hard to tell what’s content and what’s not. And I guess that’s the point.

68 Percent of Consumers Engage in Content Grazing — Is That Good or Bad?

I’ve been multitasking since I was old enough to ride a bike and read at the same time. That’s why I fell in love with the iPad. It allowed me to do a multitudinous mountain of other things while I watched TV at night. Recently, I picked up a new habit. When I’m working in the wee hours of the morning, I set my iPad up next to my computer so I can watch Netflix while I work on my PC.

This is Content Grazing, and according to a new study by Microsoft Advertising’s Consumer Insights (in partnership with Flamingo Research and Ipsos OTX), 68% of consumers engage in this type of behavior.

This 2013 Cross-Screen Engagement Study, states that when you look at multi-device use, there are four pathways to engagement.

Will Turning a Profit Turn Users Off to Tumblr?

Selling ads is often equated with “selling out” which can be a big problem for sites that built their reputation on being hip and out-of-the-box.

Tumblr is one of these sites. Essentially, it’s a free blogging tool but it’s developed its own artistic personality. It leans heavily on graphics and moving GIFS. Humor, art and pop culture routinely collide and it’s primarily populated by younger users who use it both as a scrapbook of minutia and a place for social commentary.

tumblr

Tumblr is unique and the site’s rise in popularity has been impressive. Says Forbes:

Tumblr’s tens of millions of registered users create 120,000 new blogs every day, for a total of 86 million and counting, which drive some 18 billion page views per month.

10 Free Tools to Enhance Your Content Marketing Efforts

content marketingAs authors, it’s our job to answer questions, talk about industry developments and write about topics that provide value to readers for months, or even years to come. As search engines continue to evolve, so do the resources we have at our disposal to enhance our content creation and improve the outcome of our efforts. Having a content marketing strategy is vital to becoming more efficient and maximizing the value from these efforts.

I’d like to share a few of the tools that have helped me become more strategic in my content creation efforts. These free tools have assisted me in the development of new content marketing processes and have allowed me to create more valuable assets for my clients. Making use of these tools should help you create more relevant, timely content around queries that people are searching for now.

New York Times Tests Spark Stories: Matching Ads with Stories Trending on Twitter

new york timesDigital subscriptions and online advertising haven’t turned into the gold mine newspapers were hoping for when they made the transition from print to screen. But when you look at the history of the newspaper industry in this country, digital is relatively new, so they’re still working out the kinks.

What they need are some fresh ideas and the New York Times has that covered.  Michael Zimbalist, head of the NYT’s research and development department, talked to Beet.TV about a new concept in ad targeting. It’s called “Sparking Stories” and it ties ads together with articles that are trending on Twitter.

Zimbalist says his team has learned a lot about demographics and the lifespan of a news article by watching it move through the Twittersphere.

Tensions Rise as ICANN Prepares to Award Generic Top Level Domains

49702_3823The domain name game is about to change and a lot of people are very unhappy — with good reason.

ICANN, the governing body for all domain names, is about to award 2,000 generic, top-level domain names to the person who got their application in before anyone else. It’s more complicated than that, but that’s the core of it.

The domains are mostly generic words such as (dot) insurance, (dot) church, (dot) duck. The list also includes brand specific names such as (dot) Chevrolet and (dot) Comcast. Then, there are names that could be associated with a brand such as (dot) coach or (dot) discover.

Now, imagine what happens if Progressive Insurance succeeds in their bid to win (dot) insurance. That means that they gain control over every domain branching off that top level; www.progressive.insurance, allstate.insurance, statefarm.insurance, etc.