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Posts Tagged ‘The Houston Chronicle’

New OneSpot Platform Fuses Branded Content and Advertising

Journalism, PR and advertising: As the lines between the three practices continue to blur, the point at which they meet is the talk of the communications industry. We’ve covered the issue on blogs, intellectualized it and discussed it in LinkedIn forums. But what if we had a tool to bring the three together seamlessly?

Today, a startup called OneSpot launched a new platform designed to simplify the equation by turning branded content pieces into banner ads, thereby giving PR and marketing professionals more power to distribute and monetize their own content.

Founder and CEO Matt Cohen has worked in tech and venture capital roles, but he first grew interested in advertising while working at The Houston Chronicle and noticing that readers consistently called back-page ads one of their favorite parts of the paper–because these sections provided useful information on local sales and events. This experience helped form his promotional philosophy: “What we think of as advertising is generally quite commercial, but it’s still content. And it doesn’t have to be annoying. I’ve always felt that advertising could and should be better.”

Here’s a relevant statistic: Despite the fact the we all see banner ads everywhere online, 86% of web users haven’t clicked on one over the past year. Impressions are valuable, but you really need the clicks. Cohen recognized the root of the problem: “I never see a banner ad that I’m interested in.” Starting at that point, he made it his goal to improve the ad experience for both the user and the advertiser. Here’s an example of his company’s end product:

Cohen explains the purpose of the new platform:

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Mediabistro Job Fair

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Is PRWeb Just Spamming the Whole Internet Now?

Spam adYesterday we ran a cautionary tale about how some shady stock trader fooled almost everyone on the Internet (and made a bunch of easy money) by penning a PRWeb release about a non-existent Google acquisition and manipulating stock prices for a couple of hours. In asking the Big Questions, we wondered whether readers place too much faith in digital press releases and how much we should blame PRWeb itself for the mixup.

Last night, the SearchEngineLand blog followed up, exploring the issue with relish in a post titled “How PRWeb Helps Distribute Crap Into Google & News Sites”. Fun!

We’re not out to besmirch the Vocus/PRWeb brand: We’ve used it, and we’re fairly sure the vast majority of our readers have too. But blogger Danny Sullivan wonders whether PRWeb truly has the power to review all press releases and ensure their “integrity”, and we share his skeptical curiosity.

Of course, distribution is the service’s key selling point—for a one-time fee, reps can ensure that their releases will appear on a wide range of sites both mainstream and obscure/legally dubious. We’ll say this, though: The fact that official “press releases” hyping “Lowest Price Viagra” from “LICENSED and LEGAL European online pharmacy” moved through PRWeb’s filter intact and ended up on the websites of otherwise respectable “distributor” publications like The Houston Chronicle may tell you something about the intensity of the organization’s fact-checking process.

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‘Houston Chronicle’ Reporter Explains How to Get Coverage

The Houston Chronicle‘s Douglas Britt sent out a helpful e-mail on “how to help me help you get more and better art coverage in the Chronicle.” Gawker notes “it’s not a bad guide for PR people! If they can finish it.”

In short, Britt asks for hi-res JPEGs with caption info for each image, heads-up info for sneak peek opportunities, press releases with JPEGs when they’re issued, sent from Web-based e-mail accounts, and utility-based correspondence that takes place in “as few e-mails as possible.” He wants the “why” behind the work that makes it worth covering, and no nagging.

He says he’s sick of hearing “how prolific I am,” doesn’t want to talk about “what it’s like covering society,” and prefers substantive and relevant conversation that focuses on the specifics he’s staring at, the big picture, and related events he should have on the map.

Sounds pretty reasonable when he puts it that way.

[Image via Gawker]