Jessica Biel Overtakes Brad Pitt as the Most Dangerous Celebrity to Search in Cyberspace

August 30, 2009

A little bit of a levity as befits a Sunday blog entry, albeit about a serious issue, computer security. On August 25th McAfee released its third annual report on the most dangerous celebrities to search for online. (McAfee, Inc. “is the world’s largest dedicated security technology company.”)

The big problem is that if you follow the search results for top celebrities there’s a high risk that you’ll be “landing at a Web site that’s tested positive for online threats, such as spyware, adware, spam, phishing, viruses and other malware. Searching for the latest celebrity news and downloads can cause serious damage to one’s personal computer,” according to McAfee.

As noted, Jessica Biel is the riskiest. According to the report “Major buzz about her figure and high-profile relationship with Justin Timberlake makes Jessica Biel an easy target for spammers and hackers. When “Jessica Biel screensavers” was searched, almost half of the sites were identified as containing malicious downloads with spyware, adware and potential viruses.” Jennifer Aniston, “Hollywood’s favorite leading lady, should be searched with caution. More than 40% of the Google search results for ‘Jennifer Aniston screensavers’ contained nasty viruses, including one called the ‘FunLove virus.'”

The good news: “Surprisingly, the U.S. President and First Lady are not among the most risky public figures to search; Barack and Michelle Obama ranked in the bottom-third of this year’s results, at #34 and #39, respectively.”

Let’s be careful out there!

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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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The Penguin Building in NYC has a Bedbug Infestation

August 21, 2009

And now for something a little lighter…

According to The New York Observer, based on a report in Gawker, “(Penguin) management sent a memo out to staff yesterday warning them of ‘an insect issue in certain areas’ on several floors. Staff were instructed to vacate the building by 1 p.m. today and not return until Monday while pest control goes in and takes care of business.”


While the Gawker report is brief, the Observer takes another tack:

The obvious question to ask here is: what will become of all the books in the building? There are probably thousands of them! Are they all just going to have to get thrown away? Or microwaved!?

For answers, The Observerturned to a couple of bedbug experts: entomologist Louis Sorkin from the American Museum of Natural History and Jennifer Erdogan, the director of bedbug control services at New Jersey-based Bell Environmental Services.

Neither expert felt it very likely that the bedbugs would get into the books — “They don’t necessarily like books, especially,” said Mr. Sorkin — but it is a possibility.

After some discussion of the different techniques that might be employed to address the problem, including putting books wrapped in towls into the dryer, which was dismissed as impractical for the number of books in Penguin’s offices, the article concludes:

Should journalists and book critics be worried about opening Penguin packages in the next couple of days? Not really, but maybe, according to Ms. Erdogan.

“Bedbugs aren’t invisible, so you could see a bedbug on a book,” she said. “And again, likely a closed book that’s been on a shelf pressed against other books, it’s unlikely that the bugs could get inside. Is it possible? Yeah, there’s always a slim chance. I would advise whoever’s receiving them to be careful and inspect the packages.”

Or put them in the dryer “on high for a minimum of 20 minutes.”

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The Latest Data on eBook Sales

August 20, 2009

Once again it’s a record quarter.


But keep in mind (as I’ve pointed out many times before) that annualized this would total about $150 million of a $35 billion US book industry.

Let’s cheer them on. The sales are exploding.

Let’s stop the cheering as we keep our perspective.

Do please go to the IDPF website and consider their provisos regarding this data. They are important considerations. But small percentages tell their own story; and optimists sleep well.

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Back from the Brink — Newspapers Stop Their Slide

I would imagine that the title of this blog entry will strike you as about as contradictory a title to yesterday’s entry as would be possible. But it’s pulled from the précis (registration required) of a new report from Borrell Associates, which has a strong reputation analysing all thngs Web. I thought I would rebalance my karma after yesterday’s posting.

Let’s start with the obligatory chart:


Now add some lively spice from the blog entry of CEO Gordon Borrell:

So here are our latest projections: Newspapers will be down this year, then they’ll start going back up. We expect a 2.4% rebound in newspaper advertising in 2010, and continued single-digit increases over the next several years. By 2014, newspaper ad revenues will be up about 8.7% over 2009 levels. While national newspaper advertising will do just fine, we foresee the greatest growth in local print – going from $8.9 billion this year to $10.1 billion, a 13.4% increase.

But there’s a caveat, a “dead-cat bounce”:

True, it all equates to more of a dead-cat bounce than anything else. And even at 2014 levels of just under $30 billion, newspaper advertising won’t be anything near the $55 billion we saw earlier this decade. Nor will it ever return to that level.

The fact is, newspapers reached their peak 91 years ago as two publishers battled over the presidency. On Nov. 2, 1920, in the first-ever radio news broadcast, KDKA delivered the results: Warren Harding beat James Cox. Electronic media was born, as was the business of writing obituaries for the newspaper industry…

The latest mediamorphosis of newspapers is almost complete. This once-fat, gray caterpillar that we knew as the “major daily newspaper” is turning into a smaller, more delicate, colorful local magazine, with fair prospects for growth. The smaller newspapers are firmly entrenched in their niche of providing rich local content that people seem to prefer in print – rather than screen – format. Our local newspaper, the Virginia Gazette in Williamsburg, is actually growing circulation and is thick with advertising supplements.

We may be dead wrong. The entire industry might die, and scores of papers might go belly-up over the next year. I’d like you to mark your calendar for today’s date, 2010, and see if that’s the case, or if we wound up being right.

Mark your calendars!

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