Info

A trade journal of a still-emerging field, written by Adam Tinworth.

Posts from the Quick Links Category

The Financial Times Discovers That a Paywall Is Not a Panacea

The Financial Times is going through some financial hard times, and it’s down to print advertising, not the (successful) paywall.

Matthew Ingram:

Lamont said in his memo to FT employees that print revenue at the paper has been “far softer than expected in the first quarter of the year.” According to Politico, media measurement agencies like Enders in the U.K. estimate that between 2010 and 2018, the mainstream print industry’s share of display advertising will fall from about 30% of the total to under 10%.

Here’s a prediction for you: it won’t be reader disinterest that kills off the majority of print newspapers – it will be advertisers pulling their money out and putting it elsewhere.

Why BuzzFeed’s Exploding Watermelon Won’t Destroy Journalism

Next time you hear a journalist criticise an online-only outlet for its cat gifs, bear in mind that the New York Times got there first:

The paper documents a Timesian obsession to all things feline that makes BuzzFeed’s devotion to kitty videos seem restrained. With the exception of the 1950s and the 1960s—which another academic called a period of “high modernism” in which the Times dealt its readers mostly “accurate, ‘unbiased’ information about public affairs”—the paper has doted on cats over the past century.

I drew a bunch of dots to explain why social media is broken

I missed this back in January when it was first published, but it’s so worth your time:

The savviest digital media companies know they’re in an arms race (this 2013 count, even before the first two dramatically expanded, put Business Insider at 300, BuzzFeed at 373 and The Huffington Post at 1,200 pieces published a day). And “Audience Development” (essentially: Strategic Sorting Learner) has become one of the hottest jobs in media.

And the reasoning behind all this is well explained – in graphics.

Yahoo is stopping investing in Flickr

Sad time for those of us that still use and enjoy Flickr:

While products such as Yahoo Games will soon be shut down, Yahoo says that it will be reducing its investment in non-essential properties such as Flickr. Flickr will stay alive, but Yahoo will be reducing Flickr’s resources and attempt to run the photo service in a way that requires minimal overhead.)

Essentially, the best we can hope for is that Yahoo sells Flickr to someone who will care about it – or that Yahoo itself is sold and that the new owners give a damn. Time to pay more attention to 500px again, I think.

Publishers feel the pain in new Google update

A new update to the Google search algorithm seems to have hit some publishers, including TheAtlantic.com, GQ.com, Newyorker.com, Economist.com and Time.com:

Commenting on the results, Marcus Tober, Searchmetrics CTO, said: “It is apparent that many loser domains are classic print publishers and their losses in rankings mainly stem from older content pieces. Additional publishers who lost rankings are newyorker.com, vanityfair.com, arstechnica.com, fastcompany.com and economist.com.”

Not as worrying as it once would have been – social is as important as search to most publishers – but the problem with old – evergreen? – content is worth watching.

Tinder rates the desirability of its users with an algorithm

Tinder is judging you:

You might not realize it, but anyone who’s used the popular dating app is assigned an internal rating: a score calculated by the company that ranks the most (and least) desirable people swiping on the service. The scores are not available to the public, but Tinder recently granted me access to my own—and I’ve regretted learning it ever since.

There’s a small part of me that wishes I’d had something like Tinder when I was a 20-something. It would have helped me deal with my crippling nervousness about admitting that I fancied someone – and I’d certainly have got laid more often. But stuff like this makes me very glad I married before the rise of the dating app.

Imagine Tinder selling on this data, so people can target the “desirable elite”…

When Audioboo became Audioboom, it dropped the social content creator

The shift from Audioboo to Audioboom was more than a name change – it was an abandonment of the original users:

“The issue was probably quite fundamental,” Proctor says when asked to explain what was wrong with Audioboo when he joined. “Most people just don’t like the sound of their own voice. Twenty-five thousand regular monthly users after three-and-a-half years probably proved there isn’t much of a model in that business.”
Instead, Proctor decided to refocus the business on providing a personalised feed of audio from professional broadcasters. Instead of relying on one man and his phone, Audioboo would deliver audio from the big brands to a larger and (potentially) more lucrative audience.

It’s interesting – and a little depressing – that to thrive as a social media company you seem to need a scale that Audioboo(m) never achieved. But the pivot back to mainstream media feels short-termist. How does that stack up in a media consumption landscape increasingly dominated by Facebook, Pinterest and WhatsApp?

Curation is the new obituary: 8 ways media outlets marked Bowie’s life and death

Paul Bradshaw:

The media’s reaction to David Bowie‘s death from cancer early this morning demonstrates just how widely curation has become in journalism practice – and specifically, how it has become the web native version of the obituary.

It’s also interesting to note that the speed of news is such that there’s not only curation around Bowie’s death less than four hours after I first heard about it – there’s meta-curation as well.

Slightly disappointed to see a lack of good plundering of archive interviews, stories and reviews as yet – but perhaps that will come later.

The linguistics behind a plural form of “emoji”

This is a fascinating account of count and non-count nouns – and how they’re assimilated into English:

An example is “water,” which has no plural form. To count water, you must refer to the amount or container: one bottle of water, two quarts of water, etc. (The word “water” can also be countable in the sense of one serving or one container-ful: give me a water, I bought three waters from the grocery store.)

The Atlantic‘s Notes blog is doing really great work right now. It’s stepped – intentionally, I suspect – into the void left by Andrew Sullivan’s sorely-missed Dish. Oh, to have Sullivan blogging about Trump…