Thursday, December 15, 2005

Volume vs. Trust...

Why is the everyday larger publisher scared? I was thinking about this the other day when talking to one of the largest publishers in Chicago. Common sense says they should not be scared because they have volume. The readership for the Chicago Tribune in any give day is around 2MM consumers. The Tribune website gets around 1.2MM visitors every month. Why would a large company such as the Tribune Company be nervous? The reason is trust

Cameron does a great job of addressing this issue in his post on the root of media value. The issue is the consumer is burned out, or maybe just burned on traditional media. There is a reason the Drudge Report has an average of 1.5MM unique visitors per month (more than the tribune). The average consumer is looking for something new and fresh. This does not only apply to publishers and media sites, but also corporate information and research. Consumers are becoming more likely to visit a consumer opinion site over a site from Apple computer. This phenomenon has been embraced well by some companies, such as Apple, and has been a problem for others, i.e. Ford motors.

The viral nature of the internet has allowed for some rapid success stories that may not have been possible in the traditional media (your welcome Paris Hilton). The issue with self publishing and the growth of RSS, Podcasting, Blogging and social networking online could be a disruptive event in the life of corporations as we know them.

Blogs are darn scary for the big newspapers, and even more scary for consumer oriented companies. The negative side of this technology is, anyone can post anything they want online. The positive side of this technology is: anyone can post anything they want online. Of course there are going to be the fringe and conspiracy theorists of the world, but the world of self publishing and social networking is not fringe any longer. This is mainstream, and it is moving faster than anyone (including Rupert Murdoch) can control it.

The companies out there need to embrace this technology and environment, not fight it. There are many companies forming that are offering services to large Fortune 500 companies to combat the Blog world and save their image. This is the wrong approach. Companies need to use this rich environment of consumer data to learn. Self-publishing should be one of the biggest areas of learning from large companies and those that set-up their service and business around this technology will succeed. Look at it this way, where else will a company like Comcast ever have access to unadulterated comments, opinions, ideas, and insights on themselves and their competitors.


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