Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Do you have "linkophobia?

This amazing story on the City Desk blog page of the Washington City Paper site got me thinking this morning about something: B2B media execs, do you authorize your editors to link to the competition? or to other media, in general? If the answer is "no", maybe it's time to rethink this policy.

More on the story mentioned above, and why it illustrates one of the weaknesses of "old-media-think" after the jump.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Launch on Friday, failure on Monday

This was a great way to start the Christmas week, with a laugh: here's a story from the The Business Insider on why the GQ and Esquire iPhone app launches are an abject failure.

That's right, Condè Nast and Hearst launch their magazine apps late last week and within a couple of days a columnist has already passed judgement: no one wants to read their magazines on a phone.

After a few days of sales, neither the January issue of GQ (featuring a near-naked Rihanna), nor the January issue of Esquire are in Apple's list of the top 100 best-selling paid apps in the App Store. (Each costs $2.99.) Nor is either in Apple's list of the highest-grossing apps, which sorts by revenue generated (versus strictly unit sales).

(By a weird coincidence, I am currently rereading a biography of Thomas Edison. As the book points out, Edison's work method was simply to try a million different ways to get the result he wanted, refining as he went along until he got something that worked. Thank God Edison didn't have to read this kind of nonsense or we'd still be in the dark. And I'll take this analogy one step further: the move from a successful print model to a successful online or mobile model is no less daunting than creating the phonograph or incandescent light bulb -- ask any publisher or ad director.)

As for whether people will read publications on their phones, the writer ignores the fact that both the New York Times and WSJ apps are doing well. Both apps are free, however.

So now publishers are experimenting with paid models. Will a paid app model work? I say yes; Dan Frommer says no, with a bunch of caveats where he speculates that a tablet reader might work better than an iPhone reader, etc.

But can we at least give it a full week before declaring the experiment a failure?