Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Morning Briefs: Demand Media sets $138 million IPO goal; Sun-Times Media announces personnel moves

Yesterday was split between digging out from a Midwestern snow storm and following and responding to Verizon's iPhone event; today starts with the East Coast digging out once again -- good luck, guys.

The NYT's DealBook reports that Demand Media has set the price: it hopes to raise $138 in an initial public offering. It's almost like 1999 all over again. Demand Media reported that its 2010 performance through August left it more than $6 million in the red, and that it lost $22 million in 2009.

But whether Demand Media's IPO is successful may come down to how investors feel about the way the company does its accounting, not its current financial performance. In its amended Form S-1 submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission Demand Media admitted that it does not account for the cost of its paid writers upfront, but instead spreads the expense over five years, obviously improving the bottom line.

No wonder, then, that Deal Book describes Demand Media as "the controversial online content publisher."

The Sun-Times here in Chicago announced some personnel moves: Jerry Alger will become publisher and general manager of the Sun-Times Media West Division, which includes The Naperville Sun, The Beacon-News (Aurora), The Joliet Herald-News and The Elgin Courier-News, as well as related publishing units. Alger has 40 years in the Chicago news market, according to the Sun-Times post about the appointment.

Meanwhile, Lisa Tatina has been appointed publisher and general manager of the SouthtownStar. She is currently the publisher of Post-Tribune of Northwest Indiana -- a title she'll retain.

As predicted, the tech writers are already posting stories about how the Verizon iPhone will stunt the growth of Android, or how Android will dominiate the market, etc. In other words, more of the typical stories tech writers like to produce.

But it shouldn't surprise readers that this is depth of the reporting they will get. Look at the coverage of political campaigns -- it is the same thing. It's called lazy journalism, and frankly it bores me to tears.

With the new year has come some new ads from Technorati, the ad network this site uses. I've noticed, and I'm sure many readers have noticed, that many of the ads appearing are, well, less than appropriate for the site. Some are down right obnoxious. I apologize for that, but think that as the year this should improve over time as new ad schedules start up.