Noah Davis

The Huffington Post Snags Former CNN Exec for Biz Dev

logo_homepage_hp.gifOver on FishbowlNY.com, there’s a story about the Huffington Post‘s new senior vice president of business development, Derek J. Murphy. He previously worked at CNN Interactive Group developing strategic partnerships for the site.

Murphy becomes the latest hire by an Internet company trying to find a revenue stream. Last week, The Daily Beast tapped former Googler Brian Dick as its vice president of business development. We’ll keep an eye on further developments to see if either of these companies can make money or if they will continue to burn through cash until backers decide to pull the plug.

Ashton Kutcher’s ‘Twitter Guys’ Profile Actually About Ashton Kutcher

Ashton-Kutcher.jpgIn the latest issue of Time, Ashton Kutcher — he of the one million Twitter followers — profiles The Twitter Guys, who made the magazine’s Time 100 list.

The “profile” contains four paragraphs: one that mentions founders Biz Stone, Evan Williams, and Jack Dorsey, one that describes the microblogging service, and two about how Kutcher uses Twitter.

Perhaps this shouldn’t be a surprise.

Former Star-Ledger Join Local News Site Trend

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Back in October, the New Jersey Star-Ledger bought out 200 employees (and then hired interns to replace them). Roughly one-fifth of those employees recently launched NewJerseyNewsroom.com, a local site aimed at covering the Garden State with a combination of original reporting and rehashed stories.

Matt Romanoski, previously S&L‘s deputy sports editor who’s heading the site along with fellow sports guy Garrett Morrison and 26-year veteran Andrew Lagomarsino, told E&P, “We had started talking about doing this even before the buyouts were made.”

The former S-Lers are following in the footsteps of refugees from major papers, including the online-only Seattle Post-Intelligencer — who launched Seattle Post Globe — and Denver journos, who are trying to get InDenverTimes up and running.

Romanoski says everyone is currently working for free, but hopes to secure a revenue stream soon.

Show Me the (Online Video) Money

onlinevideo-4.27.09.jpgDespite an industry-wide advertising slowdown, money spent on online video ads continues to grow at a 32 percent clip, at least according to one expert.

Brian Wieser
, global director of forecasting for Magna, predicts that companies will spend $699 million on online video ads this year, up from $531 in 2008. He expects the amount to crash through the $1 billion mark in 2011.

The news isn’t all good, however, as earlier this year Wieser predicted a 45 percent increase. Still, given the crashing worldwide economy, that revision doesn’t seem to dramatic.

Even Time.com ME Doubts Validity of His Site’s Poll

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4Chan founder, Moot, won Time.com‘s World Most Influential poll, beating Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie among others to take the “honor.”

While reports surfaced last week that followers of the Internet message board hacked Time.com’s site, a press release from the company reads “Moot denies knowing about any concerted plan by his followers to influence the poll, though TIME.com’s technical team did detect and extinguish several attempts to hack the vote.”

Time.com managing editor, Josh Tyrangiel, admits that something was fishy, however. “I would remind anyone who doubts the results that this is an Internet poll,” he said in a statement. “Doubting the results is kind of the point.”

Traffic to Seattle P-I’s Web Site Plummets

pi_grabb04.22.09.jpgWe told you going online-only was a bad idea. According to Editor & Publisher, traffic to SeattlePI.com, the site of the newly online-only Seattle Post-Intelligencer, fell 23 percent from a year ago. With just 1.4 million unique visitors a month, it’s now the 32nd most-visited newspaper portal on the Web.

More concerning, perhaps, is the fact that readership dropped 400,000 uniques just one month while the Seattle Times‘ site gained almost one million users (from 1.5 million to 2.2 million) during the same time period. This news only adds credibility to the theory that having a print product drives people to your site. (Of course, given the economics of Web publishing, this increase in traffic doesn’t offset the costs of producing a physical product.)

We emailed the staff behind SeattlePostGlobe.com, the site started by former Seattle P-I staffers, but have yet to hear back about how the traffic of their venture has fared.

UPDATE: Paul Luthringer, a VP at Hearst, sent us some numbers from Omniture that show a 9.6 percent increase in Web traffic to SeattlePI.com

Here are the actual March Omniture unique user stats. (Full month of March compared to March 2008).

Website March 2009 March 2008
SeattlePI.com 4,510,207 4,114,875

The larger argument (which will not be won today) is that Nielsen’s methodology is flawed. Nielsen’s ratings are based on a statistical extrapolation of a small number of selected users—a statistical guesstimate. That is why we prefer Omniture.

Calling Bullsh*t on WSJ’s 500,000 Pro-Bloggers Story*

blogger04.21.jpg* With the help of The Wall Street Journal‘s very own commentators.

Mark Penn
published a story in the WSJ claiming that almost 500,000 people make their living from blogging. According to the author: “The best studies we can find say we are a nation of over 20 million bloggers, with 1.7 million profiting from the work, and 452,000 of those using blogging as their primary source of income.”

Choire Sicha doesn’t believe that and neither do we. For good reason, as it turns out.

Penn’s numbers come from a Technorati study claiming that there are 20 million bloggers, two percent of whom make a living from their site. As Dan Sinker points out in the comments section of the piece, however, only 7.4 million blogs have been updated in the past four months. “Taking two percent of the largest number you can find is not an accurate way to build your argument,” Sinker writes. “Even taking two percent of 7.4 million seems high to me.”

We would agree.

The Dangers of Going Online-Only

pi_grabb.jpgNewspapers, from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer to the Christian Science Monitor, and magazines such as Maxim‘s UK edition, are going online-only to save money. But will this actually achieve its goal?

Not really, according to a study performed by City University researchers. They looked at Finnish paper Taloussanomat, which went online-only in December, 2007. While the move decreased costs by 50 percent, revenue fell more than 75 percent and online readership dropped 22 percent. (The Seattle P-I followed suit, seeing a drop of 20 percent in its first week.)

In our eyes, the readership fall off is more concerning than the revenue drop. No one has really figured out a way to make money on Web sites yet, but presumably they will and revenues will increase. Not to print levels, of course, but there will be money to be made by newspaper sites online.

The readership number, however, shows that having a print product does serve as a promotional vehicle and drive people to a site. At the very least, seeing Taloussanomat on the street or in a coffee shop raises brand awareness. In an Internet world where the same news can be found on an infinite number of Web sites, losing that street presence could hurt more than anyone realizes.

Ellie-Nominated Mags Go Mobile

ellies_hardware_hp12.jpgThis week, the 2007 National Magazine Awards will showcase the best and the brightest in the magazine industry. Yet — from Fortune to Wired, and beyond — underneath the glossy surface, there’s a new revolution underway in mobile technology, and many of this year’s nominees are taking advantage of it.

Transitioning to a new platform is nothing new for publishers. Magazines first began migrating content to the Web about 10 years ago. They created elaborate Web sites that featured articles from print issues as well as exclusive stories. Then, publishers added slideshows and video feeds as consumer broadband dropped in price and became commonplace. Now, the industry is shifting again — this time to the cell phone.

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