Ad Age has joined the world of weblogs with the launch of Small Agency Diary, a blog written by McKee Wallwork Cleveland Creative Director Bary Cleveland. The blog, as its name indicates, will focus on the working of small agency business with Cleveland writing in is first post, "This blog is for the future of creativity in our industry. For if that future is to be one of creative excellence it lies in the hands of small agencies." A bold statement indeed.
It seems Ad Age has plans for other topical blogs as well indicated by a Diaries pulldown menu on the front page. Welcome big guy.
The honesty in circulation crackdown the federal government launched has nabbed yet another lying publisher. Edward D. Brown, president and publisher of Bedford Communications, publisher of Laptop magazine, and Director of Circulation John Jay Annis were caught dumping 15,000 copies of Laptop on a distributor that would never distribute them. That's because the distributor was actually an undercover operation set up by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey just to catch crooked publishers. Brown told the distributor he didn't care what happened to the 15,000 magazines as long as there was a paper trail that would make everything look legal. Arrest warrants have been issued for Brown and Annis.
Online publisher Lulu has announced the Lulu Blooker prize, awarded in three categories, to the person who submits the best "blook," a book based on the contents of a weblog. The contest, which offers a $2,000 brand prize, will be judged by big-time blogger Cory Doctrow, Slashdot's Robin Miller and ibiblio's Paul Jones. Unfortunately, while latching on to the term "blook" as if they owned it, Lulu neglected to mention either Jeff Jarvis, who coined the term, or Tony Pierce, who wrote the first blook which is just typical of entities cashing in on culturati, trends and memes.
Madonna's done her fair share of lip syncing for sure but she must have truly broken an actual vocal chord when she heard Blender Magazine decided to feature famed lip-syncer Ashlee Simpson instead of her on magazine's December cover. Apparently, Madonna was supposed to appear on the cover but the publisher dropped her in favor of Simpson. Blender won't comment but we're pretty sure the magazine is simply adhering to the "young trumps old" publishing maxim.
Madonna's handler downplayed the situation saying, "She's too busy healing from her horse-riding accident. I was talking to several publications, including Blender. Trust me, you'll see plenty of Madonna in the weeks to come." As for Simpson, we bet she's jumping for joy. She needs all the positive exposure she can get after that SNL incident.
With all the recent examination of circulation's underbelly, one wonders whether circulation rules and loopholes are becoming more rampant that tax law. Time Inc. has been subpoenaed to turn over information about its sponsored sales programs under which the publisher can sell subscriptions to sponsors for as little as one cent an issue. Those paid subscriptions, which end up distributed in public spaces, are noted by Time as paid subscriptions which help up the publisher's rate base. Time has decided to re-qualify these as "qualified" on its ABC Publisher Statements which will move about five percent of the publisher's circulation out of the paid category.
Celebrity blog Jossip publisher David Hauslaib has launched Queerty, a blog about all things queer. It's written by blog superstar Bradford Shellhammer of pre-blogging blog fame and published by Hauslaib.
Hauslaib, who, writing in the launch announcement says he'd "feel luckier than Michael Phelps' Speedo if he could snag a mention in your magazine, newspaper, blog, dinner conversation or mental dialogue," promises the blog will focus on fashion and style, entertainment and celebrity, news and politics, relationships and sex -- and "any other really, really gay topic we (or you, our readers) can come up with." Lest Adrants be accused of changing teams, there's an advertising angle here as well. Hauslaib says, "Queerty puts advertisers in touch with this affluent demographic, which has long been abandoned by mainstream blog publishers."
With the launch of Queerty, Hauslaib can now officially hang with the big boys of blog publishing, Denton and Calacanis.
The clearing house for internal media conglomerate memos, otherwise known as Gawker, reports Time Inc is tightening the old Travel & Entertainment budget across all properties. This intercepted memo to Sports Illustrated employees urges them to "adopt a heightened awareness with regard to spending and be as frugal with the company's money as you would with your own." Staffers are urged to take Yellow cabs versus, we assume, limos; to fly only in cattle-class; to limit submitted entertainment expenses to story subjects and source - as opposed to, oh, friends, aunts, girlfriends; and staff meeting may not be catered. Oh, the horror of it all!
Placing jokes about digits aside for a moment, lad-mag granddaddy Playboy will launch a digital addition of the magazine with its October issue on September 13th. The digital addition will be powered by Zinio Systems. As with the print edition, the digital version will be available for subscription and single copy sale. While Playboy does have a website with some of the magazine's content, Zinio systems will reproduce the magazine online exactly as it appears in print. Playboy's Lingerie is already produced digitally by Zinio.
Hoping for further worldwide reach, the move is more likely in reaction to the publication's declining numbers. Year-to-date ad pages are down 15 percent, the magazine missed its 3.15 million rate base by 35,002 and newsstand sales are down 23.2 percent. Zino says circulation of digital editions, on average, amount to five percent of print circulation. All other variable being equal, that brings an additional 157,500 readers though, likely, a considerable percentage of digital subscribers will come from canceled print subscriptions lessening the increase.
Thirteen year advertising industry veteran Hadji Williams has published a book, Knock the Hustle: How to Save Your Job And Your Life From Corporate America, which takes a look inside corporate America, focusing on the ad industry, and calls the whole thing a scam with calling diversity a joke and, by design, keeping the ad industry as lily-white as ever; claiming Madison Avenue a place with no morals; calling he agency/client relationship a pimp and ho relationship; citing focus groups and time sheets useless because of continuous cover your ass antics; ridiculing corporate hierarchies with too many bosses and not enough leaders and naming marketers as pied pipers who need to look in the mirror before criticizing pop culture.
While we haven't read the book, our own experience in the industry, while perhaps not as negative as Williams' seems to have been, certainly leads us to believe Williams may not be too far off the mark.
With the increasing automation of the media buy/sell relationship, there has been a shift towards forcing a square peg in a round whole when it comes to a buyer gleaning information from a media seller for consideration as part of a media program. It's only natural to try to streamline the process but when it eliminates viable media properties, simply because the media property can't fit its (very worthy) square peg sell into the buyer's myopic, square buy hole, that's a very bad thing. And, seemingly, it's all done, not without merit, just to get all potential media vehicles on the same proverbial playing field so the buyer can then compare them using the same set of metrics. Well, an apple isn't an orange and it never will be but apples and oranges are both, still, food worthy of consumption.