John Battelle Keynote

John said that New Orleans pubcon was the first time he talked about federated media and if this audience didn’t boo him off the stage he felt it could be a good idea.
He’s talking about digitizing the back-office and showing a graph of people who were involved in technology, a little over 10 million in 1970. Now digitizing the front-office with over 100 million people who were touched by technology in the 90s. His mac just showed a blue screen and he said its an intel mac and its “totally screwing with him”. He says its bi-polar, it doesn’t have any idea what it wants to be. (He asked somebody to blog it, and I just did). Now the graph shows the digitization of the customers (web 2.0) with lots of people touched by technology. He says he wishes he made a bigger deal about search as interface in his book “Search”.
He’s showing the DOS interface with dir. Now the desktop GUI with “hunt and poke” interface. He’s saying there is still a list inside the window.
He says we’re in the 1.0 of search, the command line of the search as an interface, with a list of results, like dir. The big difference is that we’re using natural language now, instead of some arcane computer code. Natural language as a way of navigating computing is a huge jump, but we’re just getting started, we’re still at the command line. search as steering wheel.
He’s talking about using a handheld device to search for a wine label while you’re shopping. Price comparison, reviews, collaborative filtering, company info, merchants that are selling it, buy now, get it shipped. He says roduct inventory information has to become open an available.
Search is the driver of web 2.0 businesses, and it is a turning point for all forms of marketing.
Intent over content old marketing was content driven, but with search it is intent driven. Intent becomes a proxy for audience. It is non-innteruption marketing.
Search drives social media. You expect every community to know the rules of social media and the community expects businesses to know how to deal with it. Marketing becomes dialog.
it uses to be all about distribution, print media distribution channels charge extortion type rates, but now its all about attention.
Conversation over dictation
new marketing is driven by permission not interupption.
how do you do brand marketing where people are already talking to eachother and the site? Turn over control to the consumer. The best businesses on the web let their customers help build their business. amazon, ebay, myspace. can we do that in marketing?
He’s using the thinkpad as an example, they were about to go with a chinese manufacturer and consumers were concerened about the brand being tarnished. He suggested that IBM take customer input but the company freaked out. “our customers buy the stuff we make”. They ran a poll about titanium vs black thinkpads. Titanium won, they’re going to make both.
Microsoft was running one creative across all FM properties and the authors were not happy. One suggested context-specific “author copy” and they ran both. The author-copy improved performance 60%.
Symantec started a blog and wrote a story about zero viruses on mac and it was dug, now symantec only runs RSS ads across FM properties.
Cisco wanted to drive discussion of “The Human Network”. They were going to put up a wikipedia with all the FM authors writing what they though the human network was. they were suggested to move over to the commercial wikipedia and people voted on which definition they liked. later a wikipedia entry just happened on its own.
Dice is an IT jobs board. They ran a rant banner, it allows you to type in a little box a rant about how you hate your job and every rant is shown across all properties. Almost an IM chatroom. Conversation through marketing. The average interaction time with this ad was 8 minutes.
There are 2 ways to work with FM. self service or the sale department. Reader surveys across properties are inputted into the self service system. He logged into the self service system (with a 3 character password!). He’s showing the demographic targetting properties, it shows relevance data for properties that match your demo search.
He noticed that his search blog was getting into the tens of thousands of readers. Boing boing had a 500$ bandwidth bill for having half a million visitors and they came to John with this “problem”. So they bundled this into FM and built some reporting and analytics software. Their mission is to cultivate relationships with authors by focusing on quality and engagement. All advertising is approved by authors.
FM Mores:
voice and POV
accuracy
community
responsibility
transperency
FM has almost 100 sites, more than 750mm impression/month. great demos, doing over a mil in month in revenue, sales force of 15 engineering staff of 4, author services staff of 4, almost 1500 advertisers on the self-service platform.
Questions:
Church and state, editorial and advertising.
the thing that blogging allows that old media doesn’t is transperancy and trust. He says that you shouldn’t “sell your words on your editorial site”. The blogger has a conversational relationship with the audience.
Google’s radio, print and tv ads.
He called his conference “web two oh” (no point). You have to have a conversation with your audience. FM is in the “cream” business, and google is in the “milk business” they’re partnering with google.
whats the most unique thing he’s seen a blogger do to increase his readership?
Lists do really well, but there is no replacement for having a high quality conversation and author passion. There are two ways to publish, write about what you’re passionate about or look where the market is. The most passionate and high integrity voices always win in blogging.
Somebody is asking about the “legacy business of hosting” saying he’s one of the original hosts, that nearly everyone used to be on. He’s asking how to take customer input.
John suggests to open a forum or site where you can ask people what they want, listen to mass feedback and engage in a conversation.
someone is asking about pricing models for “cream” vs “milk” is cream always going to be CPM? why not CPC or CPA? And what percentage of advertising is rejected by FM authors?
Cream pricing will generally always be CPM. Becuase it is difficult to measure when the “loop is closed” for brand advertising. When an author can say no, it means a yes is an affirmative vote, its about 98% yes.

Read More