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November 30th, 2011 was yet another monumental day in digital media history that will swiftly fade from memory: the New York Times changed its comments section.
In the past few years, while the development of video content, photo galleries, and other interactive features raced ahead, the comments section continued to resemble something from the pre-iPhone days.
Google is arguably one of the most innovative companies of our time. A big part of that is that, despite the fact that the vast majority of its revenue comes from a single revenue stream (online advertising), the company has been eager to experiment with new ideas not necessarily related to search.
One of the primary ways it has conducted its experiments in public has been through Google Labs, "a playground where our more adventurous users can play around with prototypes of some of our wild and crazy ideas and offer feedback directly to the engineers who developed them."
Here's a question most publishers would love to have an answer to: what's the secret to building a successful pay wall?
Although one might expect major publishers like the New York Times to eventually provide the answer, newspapers in Slovakia may have beat their Western counterparts to the task.
Newspapers need help anywhere they can get it, and the Audit Bureau of Circulations is trying to help. Recently, it updated the rules it uses to calculate newspaper circulation.
One of the changes: free copies given to local schools and newspaper employees are now counted.
That should help, right? Apparently, it's not that easy. Despite the Audit Bureau of Circulations' good intentions, newspaper circulation in the U.S. continues to decline.
Traditional publishers have known better days. The business models of the past are failing, and new ones that can take their place are, for many publishers, elusive.
But a few, like The Financial Times, are not just surviving, they're thriving. And increasingly, they're extending their success into new channels and onto new platforms.
Yesterday, the New York Times officially rolled out its new subscription in the United States.
According to Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., the launch represents a "major step forward" for the storied daily he publishes.
According to Sulzberger, "It will allow us to develop new sources of revenue to strengthen our ability to continue our journalistic mission as well as undertake digital innovations that will enable us to provide you with high-quality journalism on whatever device you choose".
One of the most storied news dailies, The New York Times, has been talking about a pay wall for well over a year. Like most newspapers, times are tough, and to survive and thrive, new sources of revenue must be found. For obvious reasons, subscriptions are one of the most appealing potential revenue sources.
Yesterday, The New York Times finally pulled the trigger and announced that it will be launching a paid subscription model later this month.
According to a report by BIA/Kelsey, in just a few short years, consumer spending on 'daily deals' like those offered by Groupon and LivingSocial could reach $6bn.
So it's no surprise that the concept has been commoditized and everyone is jumping on the daily deal bandwagon. Take for, instance, major publishers like the New York Times which is launching its own daily deal service called TimesLimited.
There's little room left for debate: any way you dice it, social media is mainstream. That should be good news for social media experts and gurus, right? Perhaps not.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that The New York Times was essentially eliminating its 'social media editor' position. The person who held it, Jennifer Preston, would become a full-time reporter again.
Last Friday, the New York Times detailed the antics of a gentleman who may be a contender for the web's most unscrupulous merchant. Unlike other unscrupulous merchants, including the lazy, the flaky and the scammy, "Mr. B" has taken great pride in his unsavory -- and potentially criminal -- treatment of customers.
Many of the responses to the New York Times piece have centered on Google's role in Mr. B's online business, which sells eyewear online. That's because Mr. B worked his site up the rankings by taking advantage of the fact that many of the complaints being posted about his business online were generating valuable backlinks despite the fact that these backlinks, of course, were not really positive signals.
Cable companies may have some very intricate ways of protecting their television business, but holding media companies to very strict partnership deals isn't going to retain subscribers forever. In addition to competition from telecoms and satellite providers, cable companies are dealing with consumers who don't want to pay their steep monthly TV bills.
But according to The New York Times, Americans are not giving up on their cable. That assessment doesn't account for the latest quarterly estimates. Or the large numbers of people who aren't cutting their cable so much as avoiding it entirely.
Online news sites may get fewer impressions, but they command the highest online advertising CPM, according to data just released by comScore's Ad Metrix. The average online newspaper site CPM was $7 in April, higher than each of the other top site categories and nearly three times the $2.52 average CPM for the total U.S. internet.
These hard numbers underscore more concretly findings released simultaneously by the Online Publishers Association. In a report entitled "A Sense of Place: Why Environments Matter," the OPA, in conjunction with Harris Interactive, finds higher consumer trust and loyalty to content sites as compared to portals and social media sites.