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The Business Side

The Dog in the Bathtub

Woof_woof_150_053007a.jpg In advertising sales, there’s nothing worse than trying to wedge a customer into a website they have no business being in. That’s what we call the old “Dog in the Bathtub.” Why? Because they are tough to get in, you get dirty putting them in, and–once they ARE in–they’re impossible to KEEP in. You just don’t need advertisers like that.
Sure, you can pick up some quick short-term revenue by getting the dancing monkeys mortgage ads on the site for a month, or delivering a few hundred thousand pop-unders for Career Builder. But your readers will hate you and–when the campaign is pulling sub .01% clicks–so will your new advertisers. But what about those companies that are somewhere in the middle? The ones that MAY do well on the site, but you never know?
I like to encourage customers to run test campaigns before they commit to a major ad spend. It may sound counterproductive to not look for the maximum dollar amount for every new customer when you can get it, but I believe in creating long term customers, not one-shot deals. I consistently encourage new advertisers to try test campaigns valued at under $1000, and make sure they receive a variety of different ad types across the site.
This gives us two things: an almost 100% conversion rate among new clients (they will “risk” a small amount to try our site), and valuable market data I can use to optimize subsequent campaigns after the test run. After delivering a campaign with a new advertiser, I like to compile the campaign stats from our ad server, and see what the client-side feedback is. In most cases, the client has the best responses from the portion of the test campaign with the higher CPM, and will initiate a subsequent campaign priced at a higher value than originally budgeted (if the results are good). If the results are not effective, you just saved an advertiser a lot of money–and ensured that their word-of-mouth feedback was “those guys are very fair” rather than, “–what a rip off!”
It’s a great way to make friends, and a lot easier than putting the dog in the tub.

Mediabistro Course

Mediabistro Job Fair

Mediabistro Job FairLand your next big gig! Join us on Janaury 27  at the Altman Building in New York City for an incredible opportunity to meet with hiring managers from the top New York media companies, network with other professionals and industry leaders, and land your next job. Register now!

Chef of the Year: You!

Chef.pngIt’s a brave new Web 2.0 world out there. Time’s Person of the Year is (annoyingly) “You.” Theoretically, “You” are empowering yourself via the internet by blogging, comparison shopping, posting to bulletin boards, making new friends and business connections on LinkedIn and MySpace. Maybe you are even authoring web videos. It’s a wonder anyone has time to get in front of a stove to cook the family meal. Well, how about doing both?
My friend Michael Schreiber, a producer for the RealMeals site,enticed me–a humble cookbook author and hobbyist chef–to try it out. Armed with a digital video camera, a microphone, and my kitchen, we whipped up some chicken wings, a homemade barbeque sauce and a tasty Bloody Caesar cocktail in about an hour. About a week later, I was staring at my laptop, watching myself mincing garlic and sauteing onions. I’m not famous yet, but I have to admit, I really enjoy watching myself cook. Somehow, being on video really makes you look like you know what you’re doing. One day, when our kitchen television sets are hooked up to the Internet via the next generation of Apple TV, we’ll be able to keyword search through thousands of video recipes (some professional, but mostly amateur), and follow along with our virtual friends as they teach us how to roll dough, or de-bone a chicken. That’s the real “Web 2.0,” and I’m actually looking forward to it.
My friends at encourage the budding Mario Battali to break out the digital video camera and iVideo software, and start cooking. Submit your video recipe directly to the site, and enjoy watching yourself concoct an Apple Martini, make your own “DIY” wedding cake, or get dressed up like Elvis and make a peanut butter and fried banana sandwich that’s true to the King’s original recipe. Get a YouTube buzz going, and maybe someone with a yen for obscure cooking talent and a fat checkbook will make you the next Rachel Ray.
It’s worth a shot.
Courtesy of

Confessions of a Dirty Link Whore: Part I

LI.gifI can’t get enough of LinkedIn. The businessman’s MySpace, LinkedIn has basically crept out of nowhere to become the default social network for people who MAKE THINGS HAPPEN. I make some things happen, certainly, but I never really felt like a real mover and shaker–until I buffed up my LinkedIn profile.
Now, I look like a real networking maniac. LinkedIn is basically a resume on steroids, and it does look pretty good once you encapsulate the first 15 years or so of your career on one page. Add a few recommendations from high-up sounding colleagues and business friends, and your bonafides go right up. But the real power in LinkedIn is more in who you know, than what you know.
True, I personally know only about 400 of the 1000+ people in my LinkedIn network, and probably would feel comfortable grabbing a drink with about 125 of them. That’s okay, though, because they want to know me. Either that, or they want to be able to know me in case they need me. I feel the same way. I need business contacts the way a junkie needs his next skinpop of heroin. Good contacts are the lifeblood of media business, and you might as well stock up while the getting’s good. And the getting is incredibly good right now.
Some call building a huge LinkedIn contacts database “open networking.” Others call it “promiscuous linking.” Some people take unkindly to those LinkedIn users with the “500+” designation after their name (the highest number LI will assign a user). Ridiculous. The more the merrier. Call the link whores what you want but I know that, sooner or later, you’ll be asking to join my network too.
After all, it’s who you know.

Movin’ On Up

cheese_thumb.jpgWelcome to mbManage, a new AvantGuildAvantGuild feature exploring workplace issues for media professionals who want to better manage work, staff, and their own careers. Our second installment explores how to climb the corporate ladder.
mbManage: Position Yourself As Management Material
Have topics you’d like mbManage to tackle in the future? Let us know!

How To Find Investors For Your Awful Film

invest_thumb.jpgA movie publicist explains how to pimp old high school friends and use them to fund your atrocious flick.
How To Find Investors For Your Awful Film

Copyright Fun! (Is There Any Other Kind?)

Copyright_symbol_13.gifFrom the WSJ:

Attributor analyzes the content of clients, who could range from individuals to big media companies, using a technique known as “digital fingerprinting,” which determines unique and identifying characteristics of content. It uses these digital fingerprints to search its index of the Web for the content. The company claims to be able to spot a customer’s content based on the appearance of as little as a few sentences of text or a few seconds of audio or video. It will provide customers with alerts and a dashboard of identified uses of their content on the Web and the context in which it is used.

Meanwhile, for those of you in Britain, via Susan Kirkland, you can put that big old circle C on your stuff at Copyright Deposit. Although, you might want to be careful how liberal you are with your copyright. Editors might not think it’s very cute when you copyright your pitch letters.

So You Wanna Write a Business Plan? (Not Really)

Writing isn’t all fun and games. Sometimes you have to write boring stuff. Like business plans. As of yet I haven’t had to write a business plan, but they keep threatening me with the responsibility at my day job. Thus far I’ve successfully dodged that bullet but in case I ever actually have to face the task, I might use this site as a resource.

Content Sites: Something to Beware

warningsign.jpgMany content sites promise writers extra cash for posting their work in exchange for income based on ad clicks. As always, though, there is fine print that reveals that some things are too good to be true. The not-too-good-to-be-true At Last! blog discusses what to watch out for.

Sexy, Sexy Tax Tips

There is no way to dress up tax advice, hard as I try. But TurboTax sent me some year-end Tax Tips that I thought might be of use to some of you out there. Perfect for getting in the holiday spirit!

The Joys of Foreign Publishing (?)

At DeepGenre:

I thought I’d start a topic here for gripes about foreign publishers. I am having a bellyful currently with the French, the Russians, and possibly the Germans – though the last is the fault of the German agent, not the publishers, most likely.
First off, of course, my Russian publisher doesn’t pay. They seem to have no intention of paying, in fact. They’ve brought out at least 10 books and not one ruble have I received. They did send me copies of 5 of the books though.

Anybody else have problems with publishers abroad? Read on and rant here.