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The opening speaker at the E&P Interactive Conference, was John Paton, newly appointed (since March) CEO of the Journal Register company and E&P's 2009 Publisher of the Year. Here's his challenge: The Journal Register was a frugally run group of 18 dailies and 150 non-daily papers that was over-leveraged and coming out of bankruptcy. Not the easiest ship to turn. But Paton has made a name for himself as a digital innovator on a broad scale. This morning he let fly one statistic that encapsulates the complexity of the task: In 2006 Impra Media had nine products on two platforms. In 2010 Impra Media has 100 plus products on seven platforms, and operates at 40% less cost. In many ways the Journal Register company is just beginning down this road. more
Just returning from the 2010 Geodomain Expo, where a number of new ventures surfaced, including Groupon offering to partner with local media and a couple of small city.com sites that are doing very good things. But one interesting attempt to breathe some life into the market of passive domainers is "City in a Box," created by Fred Mercaldo to appeal to the, well, lazy money in the industry. Just five years ago, Fred Mercaldo was in the golf and travel business, with a little real estate thrown in, and as such was one of the biggest advertisers on Scottsdale.com. So it seemed logical to him to buy the domain (he already owned a small, valuable portfolio) and develop it himself. Today the site, designed as a city guide, has a solid $800,000 in revenues, mostly from travel, golf and real estate, plus directory upgrades. Mercaldo decided to market the platform he developed to other domainers, and sold the platform for $12,500 each to eight small domainers who also own city names and work them as small businesses. The sites are designed as city guides; some local news is piped in via RSS feeds from partnering media sites. He decided to call the software "City in a Box" and market to some domainers who are inactive publishers by offering to sell the advertising, too. It works like this: Mercaldo takes a 75% revenue share until the $12,500 is paid for, then the cut shifts to 50/50. His first partner, Nate Cohen, of State Ventures, LLC owns 40 city sites. Mercaldo also plans to earn a revenue share on the eventual sale of the sites in which his company sells the ads, based on their increase in value. He says he and Cohen agreed that Ranchomirage.com a city site in Arizona was worth $30,000 before being monetized and has a target sales price of $150,000 after deploying City in a Box, which he'll split if the domain is sold. By targeting passive domainers, he figures he can roll-out 40 cities a quarter, 80 by the end of the year and 150 with in 18 months. That's a tall order, but it shows there's still cake left at the table. more
"When someone like me tells you how to run your business you should tell them to go to hell. But let me finish." That was Rishad Tobaccowala, the the visionary Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer of Vivak, speaking at the opening session of MediaXchange, a Newspaper Association of America (NAA) conference. In general, Tobaccowala predicts the print part of print will continue to decline by 4 to 6% per year, but that newspaper companies are big and strong enough to preserve their role as chief community connector. more
I'm a sucker for good writing and Sterling is usually dry as a bone. Not bad writing, just... clinical. Detached. After all he's writing about technology, right? Until he got his new iPad. For … more
Jeff Jarvis, blogging in The Faster Times, says he will not subscribe to NYTimes online when they begin to charge frequent users as expected: “They would end up charging - and, they should fear, sending away - the readers who are worth the most while serving free those who are worth least.” more
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