The Wall Street Journal reports on news publisher’s behavior to market their stories via Google AdWords:
The New York Times started buying search terms for general news in 2004, earlier than many rivals, and now buys tens of thousands of them a year. Now, almost every major outlet – from CNN and Fox News to ABC News and Washington Post Interactive – invests a portion of its marketing dollars in search keywords. (...)
Because keywords are sold through online auctions, prices often spike for those connected with big breaking-news stories. On the day of the Virginia Tech shootings, the cost per click of buying phrases such as “Virginia Tech,” “Virginia Tech shooting,” and “Virginia Tech massacre” jumped as high as $5. Over the following week, prices dropped to six or eight cents a click, according to Reprise Media, a search-marketing firm owned by Interpublic Group. A longer-lasting news term, such as “Iraq war,” costs on average 39 cents a click, Reprise says.
News outlets say they use search marketing to increase awareness of their Web sites, so that the next time people search for news they visit their sites first, instead of Google or Yahoo.
CNet reports that PC World’s editor-in-chief, Harry McCracken, quit his job because of (according to several sources who wish to remain anonymous) pressure from Colin Crawford, online senior vice president, to avoid stories critical of major advertisers.
On another note: news bloggers today often close their own ad deals, many taking up the role of publisher, editor and writer all in one. Are they free of conflict of interests, and if not, does that influence the honesty of the reporting?
Update: Colin Crawford defends his position in a blog post:
Some of the public reports have suggested that the credibility of PC World editorial is in question and that directions were issued to give favorable coverage to advertisers or to present information in a way that favored specific advertisers.
The reports are not accurate. IDG and I hold editorial integrity in the highest regard. PC World, has not been nor will it be influenced by advisers’ pressure. Independent and trusted editorial is at the heart of everything we do. Serving our readership with fair and unbiased content comes first.
Tall Eye is a Google Maps mashup answering the question: “If I walk in a straight line around the world, where will I pass?”
[Thanks Luis F.!]
*No Google, I did not mean “whisky”.
Pd points to a map of online communities, with country areas shaped by the estimated community size behind them. To the north, you’ll find “Practicals” (like Classmates.com, AOL chat rooms), the east has a “Focus on Web” (like Digg or Fark), the south inhibits “Intellectuals” (Wikipedia, blogs), and the west has a “Focus on Real Life” (Orkut, YouTube) Can you spot Google’s Volcano Fortress? [Thanks Pd!]
OpenNet accuses the Ethiopian government of blocking millions of blogs, including those by Google’s Blogger, Andrew Heavens for Reuters reports. Looks like we’re seeing a trend here for gov’t’s around the world to block sites with user-created content (like YouTube in Thailand), though the Ehtiopian Information Ministry spokesman declines the accusations... [Thanks William!]
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