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September 2005

Google's internal markets

Google is using internal markets to forecast "product launch dates, new office openings, and many other things of strategic importance to Google". They write that their results have been excellent. And the self-described "geeks" at Google even acknowledge the influence of Friedrich Hayek and the help of economist Hal Varian. How cool is that?

(Link via Marginal Revolution.)

And here's more speculation on Google's plans.

"Can Bloggers Strike It Rich?" Now we're getting somewhere: an academic is looking into the wage rates for blogging. Jason Calacanis supposedly pays writers in his blog syndicate between $200 and $3000 month. For $500/month, a blogger needs to "Publish 125 entries a month, monitor comments, respond to readers and delete offensive comments."

Nick Denton supposedly pays his writers an average of $2500/month plus traffic bonuses. And the article suggests these specific numbers: Gawker, $5000/month; Gizmodo, $7000 to $8000/month; and Defamer, $7000 to $10,000/month. (Mr. Denton denies these specific numbers.)

Nice column by Michael Barone, "Adam Smith, Political Pundit". One cool bit:

It evidently irritates many liberals to point out that their party gets heavy support from superaffluent "people of fashion" and does not run very well among "the common people." They like to think of themselves as tribunes for the ordinary person, ready to spend the government's money to help him bear the travails of life, and they are puzzled when these people do not respond with proper gratitude.

If you search for a word at the New Yorker site and the site can't find the word, you get the message, "I'm sorry I couldn't find that for which you were looking."

That prompts Geoffrey K. Pullum to write a savage, funny rant.

Big newspapers find out about Schumpeter's "creative destruction"

Henry Copeland's point about big newspapers keeps looking better and better. Here's some of a white-hot critique of newspaper management, "Newspapers, meet precipice: It's the product, stupid":

In October metro newspapers across the country will post astonishing year-over-year declines.

The circulation fall-off at large metro papers will be between 9% and 15%. Smaller market and mid-sized market newspapers will fare slightly better. But across America, the average decline will be somewhere between 3% and 5% year-over-year. . . .

Why? Because as readers flee and advertisers follow and confused newspaper executive fiddle with their Blackberries the one thing that almost certainly won't be discussed as the cause for readership decline will be the product itself.

Of course, there is statistical support for the platform shift argument. Study after study demonstrates that readers are replacing print media with online readership of essentially the same content. The results are irrefutable. And these results are damned comforting if you're after business-as-usual.

Unless, of course, one steps back and challenges the context in which the studies take place.

All of these studies -- sincere as they are -- have a pre-defined outcome. Of course people replace print with the same content online because they have no other option today. Nearly all online efforts of print companies are little more than shovelware. Media companies have not provided meaningful product differentiation between print and the web, leaving aside the odd multimedia package here and there. . . .

More or less, you start talking about brands when you don't want do anything new. New ideas chase their own outcomes and sometimes those outcomes are corrosive to the brand. Tough.

Traditional media in general, and newspapers in particular, shall pay a grievous price for excessive brand consciousness. In a worldview filtered by brand, it's logical to take what you do in print and plaster it unaltered online. In a brand-driven universe, constistency matters above all. Don't want to violate that brand promise, do we?

And if print readers migrate to the web because you've given them nothing else to do, at least the brand is intact.

Or it will be until barbarian products arrive to sack your neat little branded cities.