As you may have noticed, we did not publish MarketingSherpa this week because we were on the road gathering news for it. Our tech editor Alexis Gutzman is at the Editor & Publisher show in San Jose (you can expect to see a Blog here from her on the event next week). In the meantime, I got to visit exotic (to me at least) Trenton New Jersey for the Trenton Forum on Interactive Publishing which was organized by Tramp Steamer Media. My notes for you:
- Craig Allsopp, President & CEO of Index Pricing Group said he was psyched about his company's new name because they were formerly Internet Publishing Group and so the logo and letterhead didn't have to be changed. Although his biz model has narrowed since they held the first Company meeting in Feb '99 (back then they were going to create specialized news wires for lots of niche b2b markets, now they sell market data to the electricity industry), he says his rules of how to be a successful electronic publisher have not changed. They are: 1. What will the customer think 2. S**t happens, be ready to adapt 3. It is alright if it does not hurt the company
- Charles Brady, COO and President of myESP.com, said his revenue model is nicely diversified. According to Brady myESP is a community site for "People who shop at Kmart and smoke." (Presumably not at the same time.) Instead of just counting on advertising, he also gets a cut of the teleco charges when members chat with each other on the phone "It's a tiny slice but it adds up" and he has also successfully experimented with offering a paid level to his chat rooms, where members can chat safely in a moderated environment. "70% of our members said, 'What a stupid idea!' 30% said, 'Oh that sounds great.' So we started it."
- I spoke about how old-fashioned subscription marketing and ad sales (vs. order taking) skills are now in demand in online media, but editorial requires a new kind of talent that's unusually concise and more personality-driven than print. I also mentioned that healthy online media companies have multiple revenue streams (ads, subs, ebooks/pdfs, syndication/licensing, mailing lists/co-reg, affiliate deals, custom publishing, etc.).
Then I wrapped up with a quick note on how the plethora of online content from non-traditional sources (such as 45k+ marketing ezines and 300k Blogs) is forcing those of us who make our living with content to improve our quality in order to stand out, and then improve it again and again. Just ten years ago you could publish a print newsletter for $500 a year that was little more than rewritten press releases for a particular industry niche, and folks would eagerly subscribe. Boy, we never knew how easy we had it.
- Thomas Baker, head of Open Field Partners - a consultancy for content companies looking for ways to profit online - was the moderator. And he was charmingly unassuming. Which, given the fact that he founded WSJ.com and knew more than anyone in the room, was pretty cool. He also turned out to be the guy to follow at the wine tasting afterwards. Tom knows his reds, so I just said, "I'll have whatever he's having."
- Best quote from the event: "I'll bet a bunch of us would pay money for Google. It's so good," said Craig Allsopp (heartily seconded by the crowd which included execs from Factiva and InfoCommerceReport).
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