Google and Branding

April 27, 2010

A very interesting article on corporate branding by Al Ries from AdAge, spotted by Bob Sacks today, points to a factoid that took me by surprise. I think most of us see Google as still an unstoppable tech monster that will continue to devour all competitors. Apparently not:

Here are year-over-previous-year revenue growth rates for Google’s past seven years.

    * 2003: 233.5%
    * 2004:117.6%
    * 2005: 92.5%
    * 2006: 72.8%
    * 2007: 56.5%
    * 2008: 31.3%
    * 2009: 8.5%

It doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out that Google’s rapid growth is coming to a screeching halt. Then what?

Hmm…I guess the game isn’t over.

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No. 1 Planned Use for Apple iPad: Working on the Go

March 24, 2010

As Bob Sacks points out in one of his three newsletters this evening:

Can there be anything more ridiculous than a survey about what people will do with a product that hasn’t yet been delivered?  All this hype is getting to me.  The Apple hype machine once again has my complete respect.  As I’ve stated before, I’m already on the list and ordered mine early.  My excuse is one of professional necessity.  If I’m going to predict the future, it sure makes sense to continually be part of it.  What’s your excuse?

He’s referring to an article published under tomorrow’s date on Apple Insider. Surveyed were 2,443 adults with a mobile phone, 770 of which own smartphones. And, as it turns out, this is an extremely prescient group!


Adding to Bob’s questioning above, I wonder how something that does not exist can be referred to as a “trend.” Oh well, precise use of language has never been a strong point among technologists.

As you can see above, 12.2% disqualified themselves altogether by stating that they “would never consider purchasing such a device.” Party poopers. Another 4.4% have been living in the deepest Amazon jungle for several months and have let Steve Jobs down by not knowing what an iPad is. Shame on them.

Based on the phrasing of the question, apparently 15.5 % of those surveyed do plan to purchase an iPad without any idea of what they’ll use it for. Discretionary income put to good use.

The rest intend to use it for tasks they can already perform on existing computing hardware. Very creative.

I think I’ll just drop this warm potato right here. It speaks so eloquently for itself.

Update, March 30/2010: MediaPostNews Online Media Daily has found another survey (from a firm named “PriceGrabber“) that boldly predicts that of the 34% of those surveyed who intend to buy an eReader of some sort next year, 59% will choose the Apple iPad versus 35% who will choose a Kindle, and half that percentage the “Sony Reader” (presumably all models from Apple, Amazon and Sony are included).


But this cross-section of the American public demonstrate that it has not done ALL of its homework. As the article points out:

Focusing on the e-reader market, the PriceGrabber study found that four of five consumers want to pay less than $250 for such a device. Since that would rule out the iPad, which sells for $500 at the lowest price, either people aren’t aware of what the Apple tablet costs or they are willing to pay more for its versatility. The average price of the  top 10 eReaders on is $241.

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The First Study of Magazines and their Web Sites

March 7, 2010

Courtesy of a tip from Bob Sacks, and published in The Columbia Journalism Review (CJR), Magazines and their Web Sites” found publishers are still trying to work out how best to utilise the online medium. There is no general standard or guidelines for magazine websites and little discussion between industry leaders as to how they should most effectively be approached.” (Comment by emilybraham in the Online Journalism Review.)

Available for online reading or for PDF download from the CJR site (linked above), the 58-page report by Victor Navasky and Evan Lerner notes in its introduction that:

This is “the first comprehensive study of online practices of print magazines.

“The survey had various goals: to identify some best (and worst) practices; clarify journalistic standards for new media; and guide journalists and media companies towards a business model that allow revenues not only to be allocated more efficiently, but also channeled back into the kind of news-gathering operations that are essential for democracy.”

The final report is based on 665 responses from 3,000 magazines invited to participate. In the authors’ opinion, “these represented a significant cross-section of topical interest, including news, entertainment, sports, shelter, fashion, and men’s and women’s issues. Respondents’ circulations roughly correlated to the distribution found in our overall sample.”

The report is packed with charts and graphs and is full of surprises. For example:


(Come to think of it, perhaps this one’s not so surprising after all :-))

For anyone interested in the future of journalism in print and in electronic form this is essential reading.

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5 Magazines and Their Creative Approaches to Gaining Revenue

August 24, 2009

Courtesy once again of the indefatigable Bob Sacks, a link to a very interesting article in Advertising Age. The article leads off with a clear lede:

It wasn’t so long ago that almost every magazine chased ever larger circulation, even if it meant losing money in the process. It worked because print-ad sales paid the bills — and then some.

Now that magazines seem unlikely to recapture the print-ad revenue they enjoyed before this recession, however, their other revenue sources are taking on new importance. Happily for the industry, it’s getting easier to find publishers that have built or begun real businesses beyond selling ad pages. Unhappily, however, it’s still not easy.

Ad Age surveyed five magazine brands, big and small, whose revenue mixes suggest models that may become much more common.

Print ad revenue ranges from as little as 3% for O’Reilley’s Make magazine, to a high of 45% at Fader.

When circulation revenue is added to print ad revenue, Make is still the winner, with only 36% of it’s revenue coming from these two key traditional sources.


The loser, if that term is really applicable, is The Atlantic, with combined circulation and ad revenues at 76% of its total. The good news is that 10% of its revenues come from digital advertising (in part because it hosts some of the finest blogs on the Web) and 14% from events. (According to the article, the magazine is having, relatively speaking, a very good year.)

All -in-all, an inspiring article.

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Epaper and the Future of Publishing

April 20, 2009

Courtesy of Bob Sacks, I’ve just discovered a site devoted to ePaper that is is informative, broad, interesting and not beholden to sponsors (as far as I can tell).

Of particular interest is the “E-paper Technologies Reference Guide,” the most thorough I’ve seen to date.

If your interest in ePaper is deeper than a pixel, this is a great destination.

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