Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Link roundup

1. iPhone wallpapers by Dan Matutina.

2. Long article with many fascinating observations about Gawker's strategy. I highly recommend the read, but here's a few excerpts:

As a result, I suspect that Gawker Media’s pageview numbers will fall substantially when the new design is introduced. A lot of sites have tried to emphasize the primacy of audience metrics over clunky old pageview metrics, but the chase for pageviews stubbornly persists—even sites which carry no advertising have been known to do things like break stories up into multiple pages so that they can bask in artificially-inflated pageview numbers.

That’s maybe why no other major site has decided to adopt this kind of design, and it might also help explain Batty’s departure. The way that Denton explains it in his memo, he’s chasing audience while Batty was chasing revenues, and as a result “Chris and I diverge seriously over strategy.”

Denton spins this admission as a result of being “allergic to corporate boilerplate,” but it still sounds like corporate boilerplate to me. So let me try to be more specific still: if there was one area of disagreement between them which took long-simmering tensions to the point at which the two had little choice but to part ways, it was the fate of the sponsored post. Batty is a huge fan of the format.


The CPM game, then, is looking increasingly like a race to the bottom, where publishers desperately try every trick in the book to boost their pageviews and ad impressions, just to compensate for the fact that their revenues per page are very small. The results — sensationalism, salaciousness, and slideshows — only serve to further erode the value of the sites in the eyes of advertisers, and put ever more downward pressure on those CPMs. It’s a vicious cycle, and Denton has decided that now is the time to break it: no longer does he want to deal with advertisers looking idiotically at clickthrough rates. “Clickthroughs,” he writes, “are an indicator of the blindness, senility or idiocy of readers rather than the effectiveness of the ads.”

To break out of the current painful loop, Denton has decided to emulate his beloved television and move to “a programming grid which owes more to TV than to magazines.”
That last observation makes me a little sad. I love magazines, and love blogs even more because they're basically magazines, only better. I never liked tv very much, and typically just used it as background noise for whatever else I was doing (playing gameboy, reading magazines, doing homework).

3. But speaking of TV, don't forget to watch the Twin Peaks episode of Psych tonight. It's the most excited I've been about a tv show in ages.