More Ways Nielsen May be Missing It on Twitter

Not only do Nielsen stats saying Twitter has a hard time retaining users miss all those who use third party applications to Tweet, as Steve Safran notes, they also miss the mobile portion. Twitter, let's not forget, was initially devised as a mobile app whose founders discovered its power during an earthquake. Part of Twitter's beauty is its ability to let us communicate seamlessly across apps, platforms, handhelds, networks, etc. It's in my browser one moment, a mobile phone, next, a favorite app after that. Conceiving of the impact of a digital property as traffic to a Website under a specific URL is not very 2009. Web traffic, alone, misses a significant portion of the impact. Just ask Tweetdeck, Tweetie, or anyone who gets alerts and tweet via their mobile phone using the short code 40404.

Nielsen, in trying to get at Twitter's impact, compares its Web traffic to that of MySpace and Facebook, and retention of users at a similar stage in each company on their websites. But, today, making someone go to a specific site can in itself be considered a weakness -- a lesson Facebook appears to be learning with Facebook Connect and more open architecture that allows people to interact, at least some, "off-deck."

Each of these social networks is different, impactful in different ways. I discover musicians on MySpace, friends and colleagues on Facebook, colleagues and business leads on LinkedIn and news on Twitter. Each feels different, and attracts different crowds and different uses. As Twitter is unique in its use case,  stats that count only its website's traffic don't just miss the boat quantitatively, but there's also a qualitative disconnect.

I hope to explore this topic with Jon Gibs of Nielsen, when he's on Naked Media next month, along with Todd Juenger of TiVo.

An aside: It's incredibly frustrating that I have to go to a Facebook, or LinkedIn or any other page to communicate w/ my network(s), rather than being able to easily have it all in one place. (I am aware of one venture trying to let folks do it all through one interface -- I hope they get funding and come out of the box strong. And I hope their architecture is open.)

Larry Kramer: Another Financial News Venture

Larry Kramer, who founded Marketwatch and sold it to Dow Jones for $500 million, hints that he'll be getting back into the news business, maybe even financial and business news, in this segment of Naked Media.

To Be A Successful Entrepreneur

At the Entrepreneur's Week panel Translating Your Idea Into Reality at NYU's Tisch auditorium, heard some tips for entrepreneurs, some were typical, but with new nuance.

- Guard your cash. "Spend imagination,"where you can, instead of spending. Barter. Give options. (Steve Brotman, Managing Director at Greenhill SAVP talked of offering a landlord 50,000 options to save $2,000 - $3,000 a month on rent. "They don't know how much of the company that is," but they get excited for the chance to be involved.)
- Good advisers
- Get a “rock star” sales person. They’re very rare. Find one, pay him/her what they’re work.
- Don't keep the idea to yourself. Get it out there.
- Don't worry about lawsuits and be overly legalistic. When you're starting, and don't have $1/2 million or $1 million in assets, you won't likely be sued. A plain language agreement is often fine. Brotman said he knew he was going out of bounds to say this.
- Don't be greedy with your equity. Don't be stupid, but to get the right people give enough away to get them invested (and vested) in the project. This also Brotman, who said you could say to a top sales person, as an example, not necessarily literal: "If the company makes $5 million in revenue this year, I'll give you 10 percent."

(Here are some more I've written before, based on Naked Media.)

Crovitz, Brill in New Pay Journalism Project

Steve Outing today pointed me to Journalism Online, a new attempt to charge for journalistic content. The press release makes it seem they’ll be offering readers a way to pay one price and pick from among paid content they want, and publishers a chance to make their efforts available at a price point they choose. Users will be able to pick stories a la carte, or via subscription. The release frequently mentions newspapers, but also says there are talks with magazines.

The release says ads, alone, can’t and never have paid for quality journalism. Maybe not. And we’ll find out if J.O. is right that Americans will pay for journalism because they understand it needs to be supported. I’m not so sure. They will pay for convenience, ease of use, utility and access they wouldn’t otherwise have.

What will make this work, I think, is from the reader side:
  • if they can get what they want with ease
  • if the price point is low enough that convenience outweighs the desire to go hunting for the info elsewhere (think iTunes)
  • If there are enough publications available
  • if the content is not commoditized or the kinds of stuff available so many other places that it’s easy to find. (I doubt breaking news or big stories available all over the place will make much money.)

... and for publishers:
  • the ability to make additional incremental revenue from content they couldn’t get on their own.
  • strong Incentives to cooperate in the project rather than go it alone, as they’re so used to doing
    ease of installation and use
  • flexible pricing -- Journalism Online is promising to let publishers charge their own prices and adjust them.
  • data, which J.O. is also promising, to allow quick changes in pricing, story mix, etc. (“Journalism Online will provide reports to member publishers on which strategies and tactics are achieving the best results in building circulation revenue while maintaining the traffic necessary to support advertising revenue.”)
  • assurance their content won’t be pilfered, will be in an environment they can trust in every sense
  • enough revenue and revenue share that they’ll feel it’s a fair shake, that J.O. isn’t taking too much of a cut.

I can imagine some arduous negotiations with publishers, many of whom will take the position that their content is invaluable, deserves a higher percentage, and so on. J.O. will have to hold the line and figure out incentives, as well as, perhaps, cut some special deals for must-have publications. I also can’t help but wonder what scale Journalism Online needs to break even. It would seem to be a perfect model from their standpoint -- they are a platform, with relatively low cost, paying nothing to create content, and can scale at little incremental cost. If the application they provide goes on the publisher site, even easier for J.O. The only stipulation for publishers is that they charge for at least some of their content, meaning they can still make much of it free, and, presumably, get the benefits of linking, SEO and the like.

It will be a delicate and difficult balance among all the participants, and finding terms they all can live with. There will have to be adjustments over time. Other experiments along these lines -- including Congoo, in which I was a minor participant -- have not been overwhelming successes. Still, with Gordon Crovitz participating, it could work. He’s the former Wall Street Journal publisher who’s been lionized for helping build the brand to, maybe $100 million per year in subscriptions, a figure Larry Kramer mentioned on Naked Media yesterday (we’re promised the on demand version will be ready this week; check

What media consumer isn’t enticed by the idea of paying one reasonable price and then getting whatever you want from, say, a swathe of subscription newspapers and magazines? This was an attraction of AOL in earlier days (they offered Time Inc. magazines through the service), and got them some added subscriptions. What if we could also add publications from Conde Nast, Meredith, Hearst and others? What if it were also the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal? (But can J.O. really herd all these cats together?) J.O. will have to be significantly less expensive than existing aggregators like Factiva, as well. And, Crovitz had the WSJ to work with -- that’s was a preeminent must-have brand for a well-heeled, info-hungry mobile audience.

The other founders are Court TV and American Lawyer founder Stephen Brill, and former cable exec Leo Hindery.

Ask Larry Kramer - April 14 on Naked Media

I'll be hosting Larry Kramer, founder of Marketwatch, of CBS' digital media division and really smart media and money guy on the next Naked Media, Tuesday, April 14, from 12:00 - 1:00pm EST.

I'm really excited to have him as a guest. Got a question for him? Send it along in the comments, or email, Tweet, Link In, or mentally beam me through my dental filings with what you'd like to ask. And please watch. You can logon here, now for a reminder and to ask questions or chart directly on the Naked Media show.

It should be a great show. Larry's not only really smart, is not afraid to speak his mind.

Help Price 'Finance for Media Professionals'

It's surprising to me how difficult it can be not to produce a great seminar but rather to figure out how to price it. Pricing, of course, is a science in itself with people getting Phd's to figure out its ins and outs and teach it at prestigious business schools. My partner at Scribe Media, Peter Cervieri (a graduate of one of those schools), has written a very open post on the Scribe site talking about some discussions he and I have been having about how to price our 'Finance for Media Professionals' video course.

I'd be grateful for your feedback. The post is here. You can comment there or below.

We have to cover our costs, and also want to make the video as widely available as possible. We want to make at least some profit. Price it low, and we might sell more copies. Price it higher, and we may sell fewer but make more money. Those who attended the shoot told us they thought we could charge $149-$179.