Quite the recounting here of the final days of Time, Inc. as new parent company Meredith takes over. Like many newsrooms across the country, there’s more than a little panic among the line editorial staff about what the future might hold even as they watch the C-level execs who presided over the company’s downfall get multi million dollar exit packages.
Starting this morning there’s a metered paywall in place at Wired.com, a move explained as being both a way to create a different relationship with the reader and to shore the site’s revenue up against the assault on the online ad market underway. That’s not the only change as the site has also relaunched Backchannel, its long-form journalism section and kicked off a series of Wired Guides, a series of “definitive” resources on a number of different topics.
The Freedom of the Press Foundation is taking matters into its own hands, establishing a project to backup the archives of sites “threatened” by legal action or subject to the whims of wealthy owners who may see shutting the site down as their primary goal. That’s a sad commentary on the state of media when such protection is necessary.
Marketing / Advertising
Guaranteed payments from content recommendation services – those skeezy “Around the Web” things you see on everyone’s sidebar or footer – are no longer the norm. Either publishers don’t want them because they keep them from better placement or the services don’t want to offer them because they no longer need to convince media companies to use their technology. Either way, this apparently isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
The decision by Facebook to no longer accept ads for ICOs because of widespread scams is a good move and one I agree with. It joins a long list of other items you can’t advertise on Facebook, some of which make sense and some of which are questionable, to say the least. Regardless of any one example, it’s worth remembering how the whims of this one company profoundly impact what people do and don’t see, which has a subsequent effect on our discourse and society.
The gap in the volume of traffic being sent to publishers by Facebook and Twitter is falling as Facebook’s constant News Feed tweaking, done to benefit its ad business, is resulting in less clicks. That’s great news for Twitter, which has long coasted by on its “important to the conversation” status for media while struggling to prove valuable as a referrer.
Business accounts will finally be able to natively schedule posts on Instagram, which has long resisted that feature on the grounds it takes away from the platform’s spontaneity. That same functionality is also now available via various CMS platforms including Spredfast, Hootsuite and others. The app also tripled the allowable length of the carousel ads in Stories, which sounds like exactly the kind of thing users have been asking for. And you can add text “pages” to Stories that, as I said before, are basically blog pots.
You can now customize your personalized emoji on Snapchat with the launch of Bitmoji Deluxe, giving you access to new hairstyles, skin colors and more. The preceding sentence has me considering walking into Wacker Dr. traffic at rush hour. Oh, and Snapchat is now selling physical merchandise from within the app to try and introduce a new revenue stream.
I’ve had much the same experience detailed here during a period where I had deleted the Facebook app from my phone and wasn’t visiting the site at all. Notifications started coming in multiple times a day about the most trivial stuff. As the site expands, growth is becoming an issue so it needs to maintain monthly active users and engagement stats to satisfy advertisers and shareholders. So if you decide to ignore Facebook for any period of time it’s going to start pestering you and, as I’ve found, the company tends to not actually pay attention to any changes you make to your notification settings. The problem likely isn’t going to get any better given Facebook just reported a massive drop in the amount of time people are spending on the site/app, though the company is trying to spin this as good news and all part of the plan.
Spotify’s new “Stations” app is free, albeit ad-supported and lets you just listen to playlists, not albums or on-demand individual songs. Congratulations, you invented Pandora, which is changing headquarters cities and laying off 5% of its staff.
Further proving my point that the idea behind QR codes was a good one that failed more because of education on usage than anything else, Amazon is experimenting with “SmileCodes.” Those are appearing on outdoor signage and in magazine ads and open product pages or other media when scanned with a camera that’s within the Amazon mobile app.
Want even more recommendations? Check out my Pocket Shared Items.
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.