Thursday, November 22, 2007

Should online publishers turn to Mahalo?

A day or so before SMX London I was at Netimperative's Online Publishing & Media submit.

We had a great line up; the Telegraph, the Guardian, emap, Ivan Pope from Snipperoo and others.

I wish I had scribbled better notes of some of the stats which Chris Lloyd the Assistant Managing Editor from the Telegraph gave. The summary is that the number of people who read daily newspapers are still far higher than the number of people who read online. Although the number of people who read papers is falling it is falling at a far less dramatic rate than the TV audience is.

I did scribbled down a killer quote from Chris;
Google is our competitor

There's certainly been a history of comments from the Telegraph which seemed to express concern about Google. It's tricky for online publishers; Google News is important to them but Google is also a risk too them. Google Base competes, for example, against the newspapers lucrative job classifieds.

I think my favourite speaker was David Cushman from EMAP. Cushman, EMAP's Digital Development Director, said that social networks on the internet have brought us the biggest revolution since the industrial revolution. Wow. I think he may well be right too - for publishers and for advertisers too. Another great quote from David on the day was;
Relevance is more important than quality

I don't think David is saying that publishers no longer need to write quality content. He's saying, I think, that even high quality content which isn't relevant to today's social networking life style won't even get noticed. Cushman also predicted that Google's Android will kill off the iPhone (which isn't selling very well here in the UK).

Ivan Pope had to try and explain to the audience how the growing spread of widgets could reduce the need for domaining.

The biggest surprise, for me, on the day was to here a search marketer recommend Mahalo to a room full of influential online publishers!


I always like to hear Mike Teasdale from Harvest Digital talk. He's always engaging and often surprising (as he is here!). Mike's got that ability to ignore the brief and keep the audience interested instead. Mike brought up Mahalo as a possible alternative to Google. Harvest Digital is a non-trivial digital agency so I'm sure that Calacanis will be pleased to have agencies of that calibre talk about Mahalo. Me? I would make sure a client was aware of Mahalo but I wouldn't recommend that online publishers worry about it terribly much right now.

4 comments:

Jason said...

If you're a quality publisher Mahalo is certainly your best friend because we will actually talk to publishers about their rank on our pages. If they are better than the pages we currently have we will list them, if they're not we will actually tell them why.

Compare that to search engines who won't talk to their publishers and I think you can see the advantage we have and the benefit we provide.

all the best,

Jason

Andrew Girdwood said...

Absolutely, Mahalo's promise is of appropriate TLC no matter which vertical or industry that makes the site appealing.

I think newspaper publishing is one of the most tricky for Mahalo though. Imagine if someone tomorrow announces that they've invented invisible plastic. Every newspaper and millions of bloggers would cover the story - Mahalo's editors would have to very quickly work out which of the stories, white papers, reports or even videos where the best representation of the news and I would imagine they'd have thousands of suggestions to wade through.

David Cushman said...

Hi Andrew, thanks for the very kind mention.
I've blogged about this notion of relevance over quality, most fully - here: http://fasterfuture.blogspot.com/2007/08/white-paper-wiki-power-of-network.html

The best example is in news. A high quality, expensively produced news programme may be very worthy when judged against lowest common denominators. But in a world of global niches we can please all of the people all of the time. That's because something relevant to me is of more value to me than something which is good, but not relevant.
There's a certain minimum standard to reach but, for example, if you need advice on what's wrong with your car, Top Gear might entertain but it won't be relevant. A search of forums might give exactly what you were looking for. The quality of the writing may be substantially lower - but it has a great deal more value for me.

Best regards

Andrew Girdwood said...

Thanks for the comment David. This is a good example of the networked world; I found and RSS subscribed to your blog after I noticed Mike's blog mentioning mine and linking to yours.