“Native Advertising” – Is This New?

Forbes Magazine recently published an ad on it’s cover. This act has started a discussion on the ethics of “native advertising”, a practice where publishers show ads that look the same as articles. An American Marketing Association writer, wrote about the ad and the ethics involved here.

I’m a marketer and a fan of content marketing, but aside from questions of ethics, is the more practical aspect of this discussion which is, “Will consumers lash back?”

I don’t recall where I read it, but I read a long and thorough discussion on this topic years ago. The study concluded that publications who disguise advertising as content eventually lose reader trust. There is a natural human tendency to distrust a publication that drops the distinction between ads and editorial.

This doesn’t mean that advertisers have no right to publish informational articles (and today, to share that content via blogs and other online outlets) but human nature doesn’t change. “Independent” publishing outlets, whether they be print or digital will get their just rewards and if history proves anything, it will be a loss of trust.

It’s my view that publishers who show ads that appear to be independent will eventually lose the trust of readers who will go elsewhere for independently-produced content.

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Google Reads Coffee.Club As Coffee Club!

My friend, Christopher Hofman, Writer and Editor at the European Domain Centre did a nice write up on how Coffee.club ranks well for the key phrase at Google. There seems to be something to this.

“The relatively new website coffee.club revealed something very interesting about how Google reads the new extensions, when it comes to ranking in Google Search – Google reads coffee.club as coffee club!”

It’s a good read for anyone interested in ranking well at Google and new gTLDs.

Read the story… | Source: European Domain Centre

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New gTLD Sites Advertising in the LA Times

I’m happy to see an ad in the LA Times Calendar Section today featuring four new gTLDs (in one ad).  The headline of the ad was the website, Vegas.buzz. It has a really nice logo and is memorable.  I looked up who owned the domain name.  It is Howard Lefkowitz, who is the former CEO of Vegas.com, now the founder of 1 Degree World, an entertainment and travel booking engine.  That’s encouraging.  I love seeing people with expertise in travel and entertainment using new gTLDs like this.  It appears that his company will be using their booking engine on a number of sites such as www.vegas.buzz and vegas.ninja.

vegas-buzzI suppose that the .vegas registry partnered or cooperated with them on the ad offering content at nightclubs.vegas and shows.vegas. The domains appear in the ad but seem to still be owned by the registry (probably awaiting an auction or premium buyer).

All of the sites use the 1 Degree World booking engine with various color themes.  There are some subtle differences.  Vegas.buzz focuses mostly on several shows while vegas.ninja solicits “Ninjas” to offer their content and ideas to the site; seems like a good idea to me.

I’m not sure if I should think of this ad as an ad for a Las Vegas travel website or as an ad for new gTLDs.  Any layperson will obviously think of it as an ad for a Vegas website but the question of which website to visit is certainly there.  I suppose people will visit the one that stands out to them the most.  If they are interested in nightclubs, they’ll probably have a bias to visit nightclubs.vegas first.  If they just want the latest news, I suppose they’ll be drawn to vegas.buzz.  Note that Buzz.vegas is still held by the registry and forwards to vegas.com; that seems a little self-defeating considering they’ve spent some money on this ad and it’s likely that at least some will remember buzz.vegas instead of vegas.buzz.  I suppose we will need a few years to fully understand all of the ways that new gTLDs will pan out and how to cover ourselves for traffic leakage.

In any event, I’m happy to begin seeing some new gTLDs sites doing advertising in the wild. I’m also very excited about the new variety of choices people have in domain names.  I don’t think we’ve even seen the beginning of how these will end up being used.  Creativity should be in abundance over time.

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I love to read and run across ideas worth remembering almost every day.  Almost every day I want to blog and post something thoughtful about what I’ve read.  The problem is that I rarely have time.  But today I’m doing it.  I have a little time and I read two articles that I found interesting and thought compelling.  I’m going to post these more often; I’m going to call them “Joeservations“, short for “Joe’s Observations.”  It happens to me all the time and is worthy of naming as an incentive to keep it up.  Here are today’s…

The Wall Street Journal had an opinion post written by Jim Hake, who is a Los Angeles-based venture capitalist.  It’s an intriguing essay telling the story of Spirit of America, his NGO providing civilian support to U.S. military personnel who are trying to win over private sector players in other countries. He explained how when he got the idea to support military personnel, his first move was to meet with an Officer profiled in the  story he saw. This officer was trying  to win over the hearts and minds of some local Afghan villagers. His story was profiled in a National Geographic special. Mr. Hake wanted to help.  I am now a fan of Jim Hake but that’s not the point I wanted to share.  In one part of the article, Mr. Hake stated something that we all need to remember.   Here is the point; this is my Joeservation:

In the article, Mr. Hake stated:

“Here’s the guy closest to the problem.  Let’s ask him what makes sense, then do it.  You have to get to the point where the transaction really happens.  In business, if you don’t understand that, you don’t understand anything, no matter how bright your idea may be.”  (Joeservation #1)

How valuable is that?  I’ve seen this over and over.  Some of the best ideas in the world go nowhere and good businesses fail because no one understands how to convert a prospect into a buyer.  They never get to and don’t understand “the point where the transaction really happens.”  I loved this quote.

I have one more Joeservation I ran across today.  Also from today’s Wall Street Journal, another opinion article written by Holman Jenkins, Jr., he quoted a memory-worthy statement that apparently is a Google mantra:

“Competition is only a click away”   (Joeservation #2)

We all need to remember that. Nothing more needs to be said.

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