Tuesday, May 06, 2008

More on Web-first, and Web-only publishing

Yesterday I posted my thoughts about the New York Times article on IDG's move to web-first publishing.
And as I look through my RSS reader today, I see that a number of other folks have voiced their opinions as well.

Perhaps the most interesting comments come from my friend and IDG executive Colin Crawford, who used the article to start a conversation about what's going to be IDG's next focus: mobile.

Others weighing in on the Times article include Jeff Jarvis, David Churbuck and Mathew Ingram.

For a slightly different take, check out Rex's thoughts on whether or not "print is a burden." (He says it's not.) And read what Prescott Shibles says about the move of some Penton properties to Web-only.

tags: , , , , , , , web-first publishing


  1. AnonymousMay 09, 2008

    Paul, curious on your take: How slippery is the slope from "web first" to pay-per-click as referenced here:

    (I'll be anxiously awaiting your reply while updating my resume)

  2. RBIGUY,
    Thanks for the comment. I'll try to answer your question.
    But first, let me say that in this economy, I think it's always a good idea to have an updated resume at the ready.
    As for the pay-per-click issue, I'm concerned ... but not much.
    I LIKE the idea of a compensation system that rewards journalists for learning things that they need to know, such as search-engine optimization. More importantly, I LIKE the idea of a compensation system that allows the most ambitious folks on the editorial team to boost their earnings.
    However, what I urge publishers to do is to create compensation systems that give bonuses based on revenue share rather than just on page views.
    Here's why: page views are only one piece of the online revenue pie. And although they are easily tracked and thus easily rewarded, page-views tend to give the greatest rewards to people who only produce evergreen content (particularly how-to articles.) Thus the folks who focus on hard news are at a disadvantage.
    Creating a system that rewards online performance and accepts that not all journalists can be held to the same metrics isn't all that difficult. The New York Times' About.com unit does exactly that (Disclosure: About.com is a client. And I was once an executive with the company.)
    It's also worth mentioning that I don't worry about people "gaming" a page-view-based comp plan. That's often the concern of people who don't understand and don't like online journalism. But it's pretty easy to track and then fire any reporter who puts the brand at risk by trying to boost page views with inappropriate posts.

  3. Technically, I said "everything" is a burden -- if it's drivel. You move drivel from print to the web and it's still drivel -- and still a burden.