Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Technorati Media Climbs Again, Solidifies 5th Largest Social Media Property Rank

Just in time for the holidays...

comScore Media Metrix releases its November 2009 US internet audience rankings, and Technorati Media's ranking climbs to 27.6 million US unique visitors. Technorati Media's monthly increase in audience solidifies its #5 ranking of the largest conversational/social media properties, placing us behind Facebook, MySpace, Blogger and Wordpress (and ahead of Twitter, LinkedIn et al).

Note: comScore audience measurements are based on a combo of panel and census data, and is the most widely used third party measurement for the online advertising industry; Technorati Media's actual worldwide traffic is well over 125 million unique visitors per month, with two thirds being US traffic.

Monday, December 14, 2009

It’s An iPhone Case, It’s An iPhone Stand…It’s A Great Holiday Present

I rarely write product reviews of any sort, so when I see something and decide to write, it’s usually a great product concept that delights me. I just saw a very simple one that both delighted me with its simplicity and solved a simple problem.

The Backflip is really simple, and simply a delight. The Backflip is an iPhone case that serves the same purpose as the most popular rubber iPhone cases which have literally sold tens of millions of units. It has the same shock-absorbing qualities as rubber cases, as well as the sticky, non-slip performance so that phone doesn’t move when you put it down. However, the Backflip goes way beyond the basic rubber case in that with the simplest yet ingenuous feature: it has a well-designed pop-out stand on its back.

With the stand, you can easily prop up the iPhone vertically or horizontally, making it easy to view videos, pictures, web pages or emails without needing to hold the iPhone. I view all sorts of content on my iPhone all the time, and always get tired of holding the phone. So I either end up laying it down flat – requiring me to tilt my head to see it properly – or having to Macguyver together some odds and ends to prop the phone up so I can view the content. With the Backflip, you simply flip the stand out and voila, the phone is propped up instantly for viewing.

There’s not a lot to be critical about with the Backflip, but I’ll make a few observations. The rubber isn’t quite as sticky as most rubber cases, but the stand requires a bit more rigidity to ensure it stays upright. This isn’t a big give to get the kick stand. The rubber on the back side of the case is a bit thicker than the average rubber case, but again, you have to give a little to get some great functionality.

Overall, I love the Backflip. It serves the same function as the rubber iPhone case I used before, and it has the added valuable function of including a stand to view content hands-free. Other people love it too: when friends see my iPhone standing on my desk or at a table in a restaurant, they all love it and want one for themselves – it makes that kind of impression. Best of all, it makes that kind of impression without a giant price tag; it’s in the same range as the standard rubber case. Given the combination of form, function and price, this is an ideal gift for the holidays.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Buyer's Remorse: De-Followers & De-Frienders

I've become mildly aware of de-friending and de-following on Facebook and Twitter, respectively.

As Twitter garners many non-acquaintance followers gained from either my industry-related or one-off culture comments, some amount of de-following on Twitter is kind of to be expected -- someone sees an interesting comment, clicks "follow" and then later realizes my stream ain't their cup of tea. I definitely notice people signing up for a little RJ, then having buyer's remorse and de-following me (usually within a day or two of following me in the first place).

On the other hand, my Facebook "friends" generally aren't strangers; I am usually personally connected to FB friends via actual live connections, either personal or professional. Yet despite actual personal connections, I still experience a fairly high rate of de-friending from FB friends, and I find this more interesting than losing a few non-acquaintances who happened to follow me on Twitter. And it's really interesting when I discover the de-friending friend is actually someone I've spent some significant time with (ouch)!!!

To be objective to both the Twitter and Facebook camps (unhappy campers, actually), I do happen to write what I like to think are thought-provoking tweets and status updates. I recognize that some of these comments may cross the line for some people; the statements might even offend some (even if my intent was merely provoking thought and conversation).

In all of these de-friend and de-follow instances, I try not to take them personally -- I don't (at least I think I don't). But I also have to face the possibility that perhaps my tweets and updates aren't thought-provoking-cum-offensive to some; rather, I may just be a big bore. Crap, maybe I'm just not popular. Oh no, I'm back in junior high again. Ugh...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Interview with the Social Media Examiner

Here's an interview I did with the Social Media Examiner that covers some of the highlights of the 2009 State of the Blogosphere, the "media" in social media, and recents developments at Technorati Media and technorati.com.

Richard Jalichandra, CEO of Technorati from Michael A. Stelzner on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Two Videos: 2009 State of Blogosphere Keynote & Interview

Here's a couple of videos of me from last week's BlogWorld: the first is from Techcrunch's coverage of my 2009 State of the Blogosphere keynote (includes full speech including Q&A), and the second is the post keynote interview with WebProNews. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

HUGE Week: Top 5 Social Media & 38th Largest Internet Property, New Technorati.com, State of the Blogosphere

What an incredible week for Technorati!

First, comScore released its September site audience rankings, and we got two awesome bits of news: Technorati Media climbed to the 5th largest conversational media property (behind only Facebook, MySpace, Blogger and Wordpress, and we also have become the 38th largest US internet property!! This is amazing news for us, and validation of a lot of hard work between our publisher partners and our team. For marketers, this only reinforces our offer to them: enabling brands to engage with social media at scale.

Second, we launched a wholly new Technorati.com on Wednesday. We received some great feedback from around the web including positive write-ups from Techcrunch and CNET. A few weeks back, I guest authored a post on VentureBeat about the thought behind the site's design, as well as some background on Technorati's overall strategy.

Third, on Friday, I had the honor of giving the keynote on the 2009 State of the Blogosphere at BlogWorld Expo. I was very encouraged by the positive reception to the speech and its message: the state of the blogosphere is STRONG, largely due to the rise of a professional class of bloggers that are becoming truly mainstream. The full 5-day report starts on Technorati.com 10-19-09, and includes 20 profiles and interviews with some of the most prominent professional bloggers today - names like Arianna Huffington, Michael Arrington, and Seth Godin among many others.

Indeed, a great week for us with much more to come...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Technorati's Big Week Just Got Bigger - Now 5th Largest Social Media Property

Well, I just posted this morning that Technorati Media had a big week ahead of it, and that week just got bigger. comScore just released their September audience measurement, and we've climbed to the 5th largest social media property, passing Twitter. We remain the largest ad network focused on social media!!

Big Week At Technorati

The next seven days are busy ones at Technorati. Rumor has it that there's a wholly new site with a new Authority Rank being launched; I'm giving a keynote at BlogWorld Expo this Friday morning on the 2009 State of the Blogosphere; and the actual 5-day report of 2009 State of the Blogosphere begins being published next Monday.

This week represents months of hard work by our team, and in fact, is a significant milestone for my last two years at Technorati. We get to sleep in November (ok, not really, that will almost happen over the holidays in December...).

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Coming Soon: 2009 State of the Blogosphere

I just got done interviewing one of the world's most famous bloggers, and I came away from it pretty stoked. First, this blogger's success story is an inspiring one that you'll want to hear about, and second, the story got me excited about Technorati's 2009 State of the Blogosphere.

The work on our annual State of the Blogosphere is well under way, and will be ready for release at this year's Blog World Expo. From what I've seen so far, this year's update is even more comprehensive than the 2008 report, which was at the time by far our most extensive report ever.

The 2008 data and blogger survey really highlighted the rising professional class of bloggers, and that blogging had grown from a niche social activity into a serious media channel reaching mainstream status in terms of audience and influence. The 2009 edition will follow up these subjects by taking an even more in-depth look. The series of reports will include not just blog activity data from technorati.com and our second annual blogger survey, but we'll also be profiling a small group of professional bloggers that represent bloggers at all levels of the business of blogging spectrum.

Stay tuned...it's coming soon!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How To Use The "Media" In "Social Media"

How should marketers use social media as a marketing vehicle? First remember the "media" in "social media". There are obviously wonderful viral and engagement opportunities in social media, but it's important to remember that there's a pure media play necessary if any type of consistent scale is to be achieved. Lee Odden interviewed me about this after a panel at SES, and here's a video of the conversation.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Healthcare Napkins: The Simple Facts of Health Insurance Reform

So you think your healthcare isn't already rationed? That there isn't already a bureacracy between you and your doctor? Check out this cocktail napkin slideshow about health insurance reform (it's been out there for a while but forwarded to me by my grad school classmate - thanks Taia).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Technorati Media Rises Again!

The last couple months at Technorati have been totally head-down execution, so it was nice to receive the latest comScore US audience measures. For July '09, Technorati Media's network rose to 18.3 million uniques, keeping our rank as the 6th largest social media property and the 3rd largest blog entity:

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sign Of The Social Media Apocalypse: Twitter TV Ads

I was watching cable last night (OK, I wasn't actually listening, just watching from corner of my eye while I surfed online), and low and behold a commercial actually caught my eye. It had something to do with home tech help, and looked vaguely familiar brandwise. At the end, "Twelpforce" flashed on the screeen with the URL http://twitter.com/twelpforce.

My first reaction was: is Twitter really advertising?!!! Do their VCs know about this?!! (harken back to scores of pre-revenue dot coms in '99 spending their way out of biz with stupid TV commercials) My attention quickly went back to my real focus -- my pc -- and I visited http://twitter.com/twelpforce. I realized that it was one of Best Buy's Twitter profile pages. Get it? Help + Twitter = Twelp...

Then I was truly dumbfounded: why the heck would a brand spend TV dollars to get people to go to another company's web site? (as an aside: if the click-throughs on online ads are supposedly bad, then the click-through on TV ads must be really bad...really, really bad) OK, I'm not that dense and do understand their rationale, but I have to ask again: why the heck would you send a few people to a new service brand (after you've spent millions promoting Geek Squad) whose presence resides on another company's web site???

Last note: I absolutely REFUSE to 'follow' the Twelpforce. I like good marketing; this is not good marketing.

Monday, July 20, 2009

RJ becomes...the "Guru"

This is a great Cisco ad -- really creative, engaging and totally viral. Plus, the star is really good-looking and impossibly magnetic. Trust me; I'm a guru!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

4 Things I'm Thinking

1. Life is good. I opened my eyes the other day with my waking thought being that I basically already have everything I ever wanted. While there's still a few things I'd like to have/do, those items on the wish lists are the icing and gravy things. I already have all the biggies, or have at least tasted enough of them to be content that I've experienced them to at least know what they feel like. This is a good thought to wake up to, and it gives great perspective about all the daily speed bumps.

2. Twittorati. We launched Twittorati -- where the tweetosphere meets the blogosphere -- a little over a week ago. I'm very happy with the results. The site is really interesting: it tracks the tweets of the most influential bloggers on the internet. Further, the site has received really good feedback, and early traffic levels are satisfying.

3. Public healtcare plan. I'm not sure how we're going to net out on getting a healthcare bill, but IMHO anything that doesn't include a public insurance option will be a dismal failure. Right here, right now, I am going on the record to declare that as a CEO of a small business, our company will switch to a public insurance option if one passes. I also won't hold my breath, because I've seen how special interests have and continue to keep us from doing the right thing on numerous issues.

4. Palin poll results. It's no secret how I feel about Sarah Palin, but from a purely objective marketing perspective, her resignation is a huge marketing blunder. The most recent poll shows significantly declining "is-she-qualified-to-be-president" ratings even amongst Republicans.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

How Do You Tweet? Unscientific Poll Results

So I've been thinking about a stat I read 6 weeks ago: that only 28% of Twitter users actually visit the site. I've been thinking that the percentage has probably dropped even further since then, and I wanted to validate that thinking scientifically. However, given that I lack the time or desire to do anything remotely scientific or statistically significant, I just tweeted the following question (via twitter.com ironically!):

"Unscientific poll: how do you write your tweets? how do you read tweets? On Twitter.com or on a 3rd party app? (or d. none of the above)"

With out any ado (no time for even the "further" in "further ado"), here are the results. While lacking any statistical value whatsoever, the mere fact that this "serious" research study comes from me should make it totally valid. ;-)

Seriously, here's some answers from a few of my friends. Only one uses the site exclusively, a few use a combo of 3rd party apps, and a few use 3rd party exclusively.

Neil Rosos at 8:33am July 14
Read/Write mainly through a 3rd party app (Twitterfon and twitterfox)...

Monica Gummig at 9:33am July 14
Tweet Deck -- can check FB from there as well :)

Tiana Lyn Dillon Ford at 12:10pm July 14
Twitterfon on iPhone

Richard Rocca at 12:54pm July 14
a blend - but majority in 3rd party in this orderbetwyx.com, tweetdeck and twitter.

Jeff Toland at 2:32pm July 14
Twitter.com, but I haven't tried anything else

Phillip Winn at 3:12pm July 14
Mostly Tweetie on my Mac, sometimes twitter.com on my phone.

Rosy Saadeh at 5:59pm July 14
Third party app - TweetLater.com

murliman All of the above.Haven't settled @jalichandra Unscientific poll: how do you write/read tweets? On Twitter.com or on 3rd party app? from web

DistortedAngel@jalichandra TwitterFox at work, Tweetie on Mac and iPhone. Never Twitter.com unless absolutely necessary. from TwitterFox in reply to jalichandra

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Regarding My Quote in the NYT -- A Little Context

Last week, I was quoted in a New York Times article titled "Blogs Falling in an Empty Forest". The article discussed how many blogs are created, then either abandoned or neglected over time as the blogger loses interest. In general, this is true, just like all jump-in-lose-interest phenomenons (think: diets, fitness club memberships, new hobbies, and yes, Geocities web sites, MySpace profiles, and now, even Twitter fatigue).

However, the article missed the real point about blogs: that they've become a legitimate publishing medium with a huge audience. So while the article rightfully says that hundreds of millions of blogs have been started over the years, yet only 7-10 million are active in any given month, that misses the point about blogs as a media category. It doesn't take 7-10 million blogs to create a robust and relevant media experience; it literally only takes thousands or perhaps tens of thousands of blogs to reach the entire US internet audience. For example in magazines, just 2,000 magazines reach over 99 percent of the people in the US. In television, four networks and a hundred cable networks reaches the same.

So how many blogs reach everybody? No one has that exact statistic, but start with Technorati's 2008 State of the Blogosphere, and you can get a sense of what I'm talking about. In the study, we quote three independent research sources that in early 2008 estimated that three quarters of the US internet audience read blogs (and it's surely more now in 2009). If you count every mainstream media outlet, which now incorporate blogs into their sites, you're probably darn close to 100 percent. Further, our study highlights that 76,000 blogs have a Technorati Authority Ranking (blogging's equivalent of Google Page Rank) of 50 or higher, and that roughly a half million bloggers describe themselves as professional bloggers and report income off their blogs.

The net-net is that the overwhelming majority of the billions of blog-generated pages views being viewed as legitimate content are created by a relatively small number of blogs -- relative to the total created since the beginning of blog history. This mirrors what happens in any media type. The sheer number of blogs isn't the point; what matters are the active blogs with deeply contextual content that create a relevant media experience.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Five Random Things I’m Thinking About

I haven’t written anything the past several weeks due to a lot of travel, a much-needed vacation and many small thoughts vs. a large thought worthy of deeper analysis and comment. I’m on a flight back from New York to San Francisco and wanted to share a few thoughts of no particular subject matter or semblance.

Twitter.com’s declining usage: here’s a great article on Forbes.com detailing that while Twitter usage is going through the roof, the percentage of people actually going to the site is decreasing at an alarming rate. How? People are accessing Twitter via third party apps. So while Twitter is achieving the much-desired “platform” status, it’s potentially also losing its ability to monetize that status.

Taxes: our tax system is totally screwed up. I just read Thomas Cay Johnson’s “Perfectly Legal”, about how our tax system is abused by the ultra wealthy, at the expense of the poorest taxpayers and the upper middle class (those who make $200,000-500,000). This book is shocking and outrageous – truly amazing how the political class overlooks and facilitates the abuses of the donor class, and more amazing how the ultra wealthy gets the lower and middle classes to vote against their own self-interests around the dogma of less government and freedom BS. READ THIS BOOK!!

Celebrities in airport security: I went through TSA security at JFK this morning with Sarah Silverman, the comedian. She was escorted by some sort of official who helped her with her stuff, and it made me want my own escort to help ME through airport security. I’m funny too, ya know. By the way, she wasn’t as funny in person, though she was pleasant.

Technorati.com performance issues: it’s been a BRUTAL month for technorati.com due to the move of our collocation facilities. People have no idea how hard it is to move 1,000 servers and a complicated real-time search infrastructure. In any case, our service hasn’t been great during the move, and that’s regrettable. Hopefully, we’re almost through it.

Kobe Bryant: I hate when uninformed sportswriters misinterpret the reason why Kobe Bryant is basketball’s best closer: it’s not that he’s the best last shot guy (he is the most feared for that actually), but that it’s the way he closes out a game in general – the way he takes over the last 5-7 minutes of a game and dominates every facet of it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The New Real-Time Search Buzz Isn't That New

In the past couple months, we've been reading a lot about real-time search in the start-up internet world. With Twitter's amazing ascent, the interest in real-time search -- even beyond the microblogging phenom -- has increased dramatically. Every other day it seems, there's another start-up launching that is either wholly dedicated to it or has some angle on it. And when I read and hear all the hoopla, I can't help but think: Technorati has been doing real-time search of the live web -- specifically the blogosphere -- for three years already. We know a lot about real-time search!

BTW, I don't have any grand point in this post; rather, this is just the curious observation that the new-new thing is really something not that new. Of course, most of the new forays into real-time are all taking new and different angles, but essentially, Technorati was one of the first to crack the code on it, and we've learned a ton doing it.

Like what, you ask? That's a long story, but the short one is that's incredibly challenging and complex to do it well. Making real-time work is very complex at scale, and there's a reason there are only two real-time blog search indexes (Google Blog Search and Technorati). The volume of data presents multiple challenges: the data becomes nearly irrelevant shortly after it appears (often within days and certainly within weeks -- over 90% of all searches on Technorati are looking for something less than a month old); it’s much easier to spam* (Twitter is just beginning to experience this -- just wait...); it’s hard to balance recency and relevancy together; and lastly, it's expensive -- spinning large quantities of data so it's readily available to query is really expensive, and the entire live web is a really large place (Technorati only focuses on the blogosphere).

Anyway, it's interesting to see so much activity focused on something we've been working on for three years, and I'm even more interested to see how these various initiatives approach some of the complexities.

* Spam filtering for real-time blog search just might be Technorati's most valuable IP!!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Technorati Media Is Now The 6th Largest Social Media Property - comScore

Last week, I wrote how Technorati Media grown in comScore's audience rankings as one of the 10 Fastest Gaining Properties in March to become the 3rd largest blog property in the US. In doing so, we also became the 6th largest "Conversational Media" property in the US.

This is an important distinction, as we've tried to make Technorati Media all about social media including: blogs, social networking sites and distributed content. As brands continue to look for engagement via social media, our cooperative of social media partners will hopefully become an increasingly more relevant and easy-to-process marketing vehicle.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lights, Camera, RJ! I'm on WebProNews

I was interviewed -- on video, no less! -- by Abby Prince-Johnson of WebProNews at Ad:Tech last week. Our discussion covers a range of topics, from making brands accessible in today's web to the rise of "Journalism 3.0" (citizen journalism).

Monday, April 27, 2009

RJ's Stat Of The Week

While preparing for a panel at Ad:Tech last week, our panel moderator Steve Rubel sent some questions, and one of the questions raised an observation near and dear to my heart: the fragmentation of the content experience on the Internet, the proverbial rise of "the long tail".

First, here's the stat: a Nielsen study revealed the average Internet user in the US views 115 different web sites and 2,200 page views. That's 115 different sources of media, commerce or community, and 74 page views per day! For those that don't work online, that volume may seem hard to believe. However, for those of us who do, it seems very low. Either way, measurement services like Nielsen or comScore attempt to measure the universe, so there are outliers on either side pulling the average up or down, and let's simply assume 115 and 2,200 are good.

Harken back to pre-Internet days, and consider how many newspapers and magazines you read per month. I bet voracious readers consumed about 10-20 sources, but the average was most likely 5-10 (fyi, I'm voracious, so I'm extapolating my own usage). Then consider the first 6-8 years of the Internet. You probably used 1-2 portals, a handful of vertical content commerce sites, and then a dozen or so random visits to curiousities forwarded by friends.

Then search happened. Then blogging and other easy forms of self-publishing. And voila: fragmentation explodes. And today, instead of going to 10-20 sites, we're literally all over the place, visiting dozens of sites per day (I visit at least 25 different sites per day myself).

Another friend rececntly showed me Google Trends charts of about 25 of the most prominent sites and media properties over the past 10 years -- these were the big guys, but I'll refrain from singling any out. From 1999 to 2007, their traffic uniformly grows. But about 2007, they all plateau, and then begin to trend DOWNWARD. Uniformly downward. These across-the-board declines are also coming at a time when those same properties are investing more than ever to create great content and experiences.

So what's happening? The short and simple answer is that pesky fragmentation thing. 115 sites per month per user. There a a variety of factors driving fragmentation: search has become the new nav bar; the rise of self-publishing making it easy to create great content has proliferated choice; and web personalization where users can create their own web experience via widgets and RSS.

What does this mean for the online ad business and marketers? This is once again one of those answers that deserves an entire post, but here's the short story. While people claim there are too many ad networks (and they may be right!), ad networks in general aren't going anywhere anytime soon. Ad networks serve the vital function of making sense of this fragmentation and creating an easy media package for marketers to buy. Some say that ad exchanges will hurt the ad networks, and to some degree that's true. However, I believe that ad networks and ad exchanges will become dependent on each other.

Ad networks will create both buy side and sell side liquidity that make ad exchanges viable, and will also continue to serve the important role of simplification intermediary to marketers. Can you imagine a media planner going into an exchange and buying 115 different media properties...for every campaign...and every client? That's not happening; in fact, most agencies are trying to reduce the number of media sources they buy. On the flip side, ad networks are increasinly becoming more dependent on ad exchanges, as they're awash in inventory on the supply side, and their agency clients continue to ask for more targeted and far-reaching media on the buy side. The networks need exchanges for this.

I've simplified this for the sake of exposition (and ignored direct user-targeting scenarios that exchanges will thrive on), but this is the heart of it. The real point here is that fragmentation of the online media experience presents both a big challenge and opportunity for everyone -- consumers, publishers, marketers and all the intermediaries who serve each.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Technorati Media Makes List of comScore Top 10 Gaining Properties

Technorati Media continued the growth of its media business in March, being noted in comScore's monthly Top Media Property report as one of the Top 10 Gaining Properties (see Table 1). This is really great news for us, as a few days earlier, comScore released another report showing Technorati Media had climbed to the #3 ranked blog property.

Overall, our ad network's comScore measurement grew 37 percent to 16.0 million monthly US unique visitors*, making Technorati Media one of the top social media ad networks on the Internet and the 59th largest Internet property overall. Given that we only launched Technorati Media last June, I'm very pleased with the progress we've made in just nine months. There is still a ton of work to be done, but small bits of good news must be celebrated with small blog posts!

* Note: comScore measurements are panel-based estimates that have become the standard third party reference for media buyers. Our actual audience measurements are signifcantly higher, with our analytics tool showing the network including over 300 sites with a worldwide reach of 91 million monthly unique visitors (approximately 59 million US).

Monday, April 20, 2009

Technorati Media Rise to #3 Ranked Blog Property

According to comScore, Technorati Media has climbed to the #3 ranking for blog media properties. Here are the March comScore rankings and my official blog post:

1. Blogger -- 48.3 million visitors
2. WordPress -- 24.4 million visitors
3. Technorati Media -- 16.0 million visitors
4. Six Apart -- 13.3 million visitors
5. Federated Media -- 10.5 million visitors

Monday, April 13, 2009

Why Brand Ads & Premium Sites Won't Go Away

Last week, I wrote that online advertising was undergoing a massive and rapid shift right now -- away from media properties and towards technologies that target consumers wherever they are. Here, I want to offer a seemingly contradictory addendum to that grand premise: that brand ads and premium media properties will NOT go away any time soon.

How can I say that when I made such a strong case about the challenges they face? While the new targeting technologies and techniques will indeed challenge both brand advertising and premium content sites, the ROI of those same technologies are in fact aided by those old ways they're seeking to bypass. Quite simply, brand helps direct. Brand advertising absolutely improves the ROI of any direct response or audience targeting, and premium content sites are a great way to present high-concept brand ads.

There have been many studies supporting this notion over the past several years. Fred Wilson of avc.com does a really great job of summarizing a recent comScore research study, that effectively supports the premises that: a) branded display has a different objective that search or direct response ads; b) significantly increases the effectiveness of search and direct response ads; and c) as such, also lifts offline, in-store sales as well.

The findings of studies like this one and many others also apply to audience targeting. However, as with brand ads' positive contribution to direct response ads, you are also far more likely to react positively to a behavioral targeted or re-targeted ad when you recognize the brand in the ad. It's that simple and totally human nature: people are drawn to the familiar. And because of that, there will always be room for brand ads, and as well as for the ideal premium content venues in which to display them. We'll have to wait a few years and see where the value equilibrium ends up (i.e. ad unit CPM pricing).

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Me, The News Aggregator

With all the recent discussion about the rise of news aggregators and the fall of traditional media outlets, the realization that I -- little ol' me -- have become a news aggregator is quite enlightening.

This discovery occurred very late one evening this week, after taking a few bad beats in poker and tipping a few drinks at a hip local watering hole with a few friends. While drinking a Miller High Life stubbie (yes, they're back in after a 20 year vacation; who would have thought 7 ounce bottles of blue collar suds would be the rage), the conversation moved to news, how we consume it and how the decline of mainstream sources was creating a whole new generation of sources.

Then several of my drinking comrades in quick succession informed me in quick succession that I was one of their news sources. Specifically, they referred to the commentary and links to news I write daily in Facebook status updates and Twitters tweets, and how they listened to my comments and read items I pointed to (I'm told my Sarah Palin rants last fall influenced the election...totally dude...).

This took me by surprise. Despite working with and monetizing the long tail and social media for a living, it never occurred to me that people might get anything more than a few seconds of entertainment from my blurbs. My impetuous little stream of consciousness makes the news and serves as an editorial voice for my social graph.

I am the New York Times. And so are you.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Buying And Selling Online Advertising Redux

I posted "Buying And Selling Online Advertising Is Changing Quickly" over the weekend, and on Monday found this article by Ben Kunz on Businessweek.com saying essentially the same thing -- that the focus of online advertising is shifting from specifically targeting web properties to reach audiences to using technology to simply bypass expensively packaged web properties and target the audience directly.

Obviously, other people are noticing the same things I've seen and heard from countless others in the industry. My post, the Bizweek article and some of the conversations around both also note that while the technologies enabling this shift have actually been around for years, they are just now starting to gain serious momentum.

Which leads me to my next subject: the seemingly contradictory notion that even though the tide is shifting with a massive wave to audience targeting, premium web properties and premium will absolutely survive -- and survive in large part to make audience targeting even more successful.

I'll write about it later this week, but alas, it's late zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...stay tuned.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Buying And Selling Online Advertising Is Changing Quickly

I've been working on the internet and in some form of online advertising for the past 15 years, but I've never seen the landscape changing faster than it is changing now. Right before our very eyes, the way that media is being bought and sold is changing in an unprecedented way, at an unbelievably fast rate.

Since advertising began centuries ago, it has always revolved around selling and buying a media property, be it a newspaper, a tv channel, a billboard, a radio station, a web site or even a network that represented web sites, tv channels, newspapers, etc. Even when it came to targeting demographically, geographically, etc, marketers still achieved those targeting objectives by buying specific properties. This is still the most common way of buying media today.

However, this is changing rapidly due to new online advertising technologies -- user profile technologies that allow marketers to target the user no matter what media web site the user is on. I won't go into the details of how the technologies work, as there are far more expert articles already explaining methodologies like behavioral and intent-based targeting and re-targeting; that's not my goal here. Rather, I want to highlight the intellectual shift going on in the media buying and selling world, and particularly the implications for web publishers.

With a simple user profile cookie, a marketer can buy ad impressions on an ad exchange that is filled with countless page impressions that specific user is consuming across any number of web sites. So instead of buying golf.com (not picking on golf.com here -- just using as an example of what is becoming true for all web publishers) to target a 40 year old male who may or may not be interested in buying a car in San Francisco, an advertiser now has the ability to leverage an incredible array of registration and site visiting data to follow that user around 5o web sites with ads specifically about cars for sale in San Francisco. This isn't necessarily a new concept at all; we've been talking about behavioral and intent based targeting for several years now -- matching an ad cookie with a user cookie. What is new is the rapid realization for what this means for web publishers.

Web publishers invest significant resources to create content that attracts an audience, and hopefully a concentrated audience that an advertiser could use to reach a consumer with a certain need or area of interest. Further, these publishers have gone to great lengths to market and package their content with ads to have both great impact and attain a premium ad rate. Yet, with countless new ad targeting start-ups and ad buying platforms, an advertiser is no longer constrained to buying golf.com or any other single property, nor constrained to paying premium ad rates associated with a specific media property to reach that user. Instead, the advertiser can find that same user as they visit countless other sites and often on non-premium packaged pages with significantly lower ad rates.

So this begs the question: what does this mean for web publishers and their traditional revenue model? The answer is a long story with multiple thought streams for another blog post or two. The short story is this: the implications of new ad buying and selling technologies presents a staggering challenge for web publishers and the way they execute their business plans. What does this mean for ad unit pricing? Do you participate in data sharing or not join and risk being bypassed by advertisers altogether? How much do you invest in content, marketing? How do you sell what you have?

While I don't believe the traditional model of marketers buying specific web properties will go away, I do think these new technologies could significantly shift the mentality away from buying a property to buying audience wherever they are, and further, a consumer with a specific objective or interest. The shift is already taking place, yet I believe it will become a tidal wave within the next 12 months, particularly with the perfect storm of new technologies bring lower ad rates and higher ROIs in the midst of a severe recession.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Tweeting From Technorati

Did you know that you can update your Twitter profile from Technorati.com (and Facebook status, other update feeds for that matter)?

I may be biased given my loose association with Technorati (!!), but this has instantly become one of my favorite social media utilities. I already enjoy tweeting and publishing a steady stream of Twitter and Facebook updates, largely because I like commenting on topics of the day -- industry-related trends, political issues and interesting news of all sorts. So having the ability to browse blog posts or other content on Technorati and then write a comment that auto-tweets is both fun and useful.

For example, check out my blog profile and Twitter "blog" profile on Technorati. Each profile page has a "Reader Review", where I've detailed useful "how to" details on blurbing-auto-tweeting and claiming your Twitter profile as a blog, respectively. As I mentioned earlier, I also like to comment on issues of the day -- searching Technorati for blog posts about a news story, commenting on it and automatically tweeting the comment and post page on Twitter and Facebook.

If you're writing about something you're an expert on, you can also provide links to useful related content; if you're the author of that comment, there's an obvious SEO benefit as well.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Following Audience = Get Over Fear of UGC

I’m not sure what the next big thing in social media is, but I know what it should be: brands must get over their fear of the user-generated content nature of social media. Brands need to be where their customers are, and their customers are increasingly spending larger and larger portions of their time creating and consuming their own content and experiences.

Today, there are some consumers where you won’t have a shot reaching them at all if you aren’t using some form of social media, and this number is likely to expand dramatically in the future. Further, consumers have ALREADY made brands pervasive in all forms of social media, so it is only natural that all brands should make their own presence felt, both by engaging directly with customers and using social media platform as marketing media.

Brands Have Already Discovered Social Media...But...

For me, the most significant development is that brands have already discovered it, be they social networks, blogging or micro-blogging. That said, while social media may be deployed, I don’t believe it is anywhere near the point of being embraced as a core, every day marketing vehicle. While many brands are using these social media platforms, many are not. Most brands are still too afraid to try something new or risk being in an uncontrolled environment, and those that do usually treat it as “experimental” instead of mainstream.

We won’t achieve “embraced” status until brands allocate their media spend to the levels that their customers allocate their media consumption time: first, with the internet getting the allocation of overall ad dollars proportionate to time spent online; and second, with social media allocated the ad dollars within the online media budget that is proportionate to time spent social networking, reading blogs etc.

Three Ways Social Media Can Boost Revenue, Profits & Productivity

From a marketers perspective, there are literally countless ways that social media can increase revenue, productivity and profitability, though we can boil it down to a few general categories.

First, a company whose employees and agents actively participate and engage in social networking, blogging and micro-blogging can create extremely low cost executions of PR outreach (particularly in blogs) and consumer brand engagement. Essentially, the costs are just time spent engaging with the audience, which leads to the second thing: getting direct feedback from your consumers.

How great is it that while you’re doing PR outreach and brand engagement, you’re also having a direct conversation with your customers where they tell you what they like don’t like? That’s a lot cheaper than hiring a bunch of consultants to run focus groups and do vast surveys.

Third, at this point, social media is also generally far cheaper as an advertising medium. The content is the conversation; it’s generated for free and without overhead; and thus, it’s priced accordingly – much cheaper than mainstream media properties, often with far greater reach.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Little Shelter From The Rain

I just returned home from the Montgomery Technology Conference, and to my surprise, the tenor wasn't all doom and gloom. In fact, it was downright positive with respect to online advertising and digital commerce. In addition to hundreds of private equity and corporate development types (whose mouths are watering at the prospects of lowered valuations), there were about 165 tech companies, of which I'd say roughly half were consumer internet plays in online advertising or digital commerce and services. To be fair, most of those companies probably are the better performers and potentials, as you wouldn't expect the dogs to be invited to an investor conference.

In any case, I was still surprised to hear how well most of these online companies are doing. Everyone acknowledged the challenges and realities of the current economic situation, but most also reported some level of growth (Technorati included!) and a few outliers even noted high growth. It wasn't at all what I expected -- that people would be negative, reporting decreasing results and sharing in a conference-wide group therapy (and I have been to a few of those the past six months...). In my own area of interest -- online advertising -- again I heard mostly positive things.

Don't get me wrong: no one was drinking Veuve and singing in the rain. That said, most execs were fairly upbeat about the way their companies were progressing, and were confident their 2009 numbers would exceed 2008. Let me repeat that: results better than 2008!

So while there is absolutely no way to ignore what's happening on the macro level, and as start-ups are metering their businesses accordingly (particularly operating expenses), our little online sector does appear to be doing better than the economy at large. And for a select few, doing much better, and perhaps providing a little shelter from the rain.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

The Influencer Is You

I giving a shout-out to my friend, David Tokheim. David and I worked at IGN Entertainment together, and he is now the head of Six Apart's media business. David gets the shout-out because he is incredibly knowledgeable online media pro. He has several blogs, but one called "the influencer is you", which is dedicated to social media.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Study: Gen Y Notices Social Net Ads

Surprise! I mean, "duh": Study: Gen Y Notices Social Net Ads. When social networking, 84% of users notice ads while they interact with friends. Of course they do, and a variety of assertions that they don't were kind of silly. That said, as the study described in Media Post, the audience doesn't always find them relevant, which in my mind is a great opportunity for brand awareness advertising. In the social networking environs, you are not going to sell something at that moment because any attempt to do so would be like interrupting a conversation. However, a nice brand awareness ad (think: entertainment, cpg, etc) placed aside the conversation doesn't interrupt the conversation, but does garner some notice. Factor in the lower cost CPMs of most social networks, and the ROIs justify themselves. Here's the story from Media Post.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Technorati Quietly Outdoing Google Blog Search?

When I see posts that really understand what we're trying to do at Technorati, it's just pretty cool. I've highlighted a couple really insightful posts previously, and today, I found a great one from Louis Gray. Basically, Louis points out that our index works differently than Google Blog Search, and at least for him, is providing better results. Here's an excerpt:

Google is set up to find all of the world's information, and it is doing a fantastic job at that, as we all know, and it is the gold standard for search in practically every regard. But it's maybe too good. The company's over-aggressive spiders are just as likely to trigger false positives in terms of knowing what is a blog and what is not, or what is a blog post or what is simply sidebar information. Last August, I highlighted one issue, when MyBlogLog activity was spawning false positives. On other occasions, I've seen updates from aggregation sites, like Socialmedian, do the same. At this point, my bookmarked blog search from Google to find reactions excludes no fewer than four sites, to try and filter down the accurate results.And as I'm fighting off false positives with Google, Technorati is quietly finding me mentions that I can't get using Google, which relies on keywords instead of links. Not even the advanced blog search page on Google lets me find links to a site the way most bloggers want to find.

His full post is here: http://www.louisgray.com/live/2009/03/technoratis-revenge-site-is-beating.html

Monday, March 02, 2009

Mainstream Media: Do You Know If Your Blog Indexed?

Great post on Technorati's blog: "Mainstream Media, We Can Index Your Blogs Too".

This post addresses a surprisingly phenom that results in many blogs not getting indexed. Many authors blogging on non-traditional blogging platforms -- such as mainstream media properties or corporate blogs -- often forget to do what the most successful bloggers do: claim their blog, ping us when they post, etc.

Check out the post here http://technorati.com/weblog/2009/03/478.html

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Good Analysis Deserves Recognition

It's time to give some link love to some of the folks who have given it to Technorati. I've added various interviews I've done about Technorati, blogs, social media and entrepreneurship in the right column. Check 'em out, let me know what you think, and engage with the host publishers. I'd also like to call out several other articles in this post that I think are quite interesting and objective analyses of Technorati and what we do.

Here's a great explanation of how to get the most out of technorati.com from Chris Snyder at Mashable http://mashable.com/2008/12/12/how-to-get-the-most-out-of-technorati/.

Dean Takahashi at VentureBeat wrote a really good piece summarizing some of the highlights our 2008 State Of The Blogosphere http://venturebeat.com/2008/09/22/technorati-releases-data-on-state-of-the-blogosphere/.

iMedia interviewed me about the various way that marketers and brands can use blogs as an effective media channel http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/20664.asp.

Lastly, PBS' MediaShift wrote a very objective article about some of the challenges Technorati faces with blog search in general, as well as competing with Google Blog Search. The article also points out the complexity of what we've built and some of the opportunities our IP gives us. http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2008/12/can-technorati-beat-google-at-blog-search357.html

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Just Getting Started / /Work In Progress

So let's get this out there right away: this is a work in progress. I do plan to do more, to write more. However, right now, I'd be exagerating if I called this any more than a directory of how to find various bits of me on the web. There are links, but not much writing. That will change over time, but now, call this 'The Jalichandra Directory.'

The irony of running a blog company is that I don't have time to blog. I read blogs VORACIOUSLY -- 25-30 posts/blogs per day. Yet I don't have time to actually write much myself (aside from replying to 100 emails per day...but that's not blogging). But I promise this will change. For anyone following me on Facebook or Twitter, you know I have much to say, much to write (even without Sarah Palin sticking her foot in her mouth regularly; for a sample of my tweets, check out the right column or http://twitter.com/jalichandra).

So stay tuned. Some good stuff will appear here. But for now, accept this blog for what it is: a directory of jalichandra crap, with the promise of the semi-interesting things that run through this Jalichandra's head.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Testing 1, 2, 3....Testing 1, 2, 3...

This is a test. This is only a test. This is a test of the emergency blogging system. In the event of an emergency, you really should not be reading this.