Why media execs still don’t get social media is beyond me.
Yes, I get their business model: serve as many pages as possible so they can have enough media “inventory” to sell lots of ads. And then there is subscription. That’s when you collect names through registration forms so you can market the lists and/or prove your readership demographics to advertisers. This is basically the old print media model online. And it, like other old-fart models, is stuck a decade behind.
You’d think media companies would be all over social media.
I mean, media is their business. No one should be better than they are at leading the way. They’re sitting on a gold mine of assets. Awesome writers, tons of video and images, lots of (as Hugh MacLeod would say) “Social Objects.” Media companies are the ones who can get the conversations started and keep it going.
But they’re getting their ass handed to them by blogs. Bloggers are on top of the active conversations and participate in the dialogue without forcing you to jump through hoops before you can chime in. They, like companies in other industries embracing social software and principles, are beating the crap out of the later adopters.
This is killing the talent’s morale.
Folks like CNET, ZDNet, and PCWorld have awesome talent cranking out great stuff, but no one can engage with them without filling out a stupid form. To be clear, all these folks have social software. Some of them even use our software. This isn’t about the software, it’s about their policies. Media companies choose the hoops they make their readers jump through.
Media execs have two choices:
- Let people freely add their comments with only human verification (those “HQ7FN” letters you enter to make sure you’re not a spambot).
- Force people to register before they comment. That means, name, email, password, sometimes more.
This is a conversation. And advertisers know it.
The folks who buy the ads aren’t stupid. They know who has a vibrant community and who doesn’t. They know who gets it. They read the media they advertise in. And they want media companies to help them become part of the conversation. No media company could ever convince me they could help me do that if I didn’t see them doing it themselves.
Who gets it, who doesn’t.
Interestingly, some of the media properties are inconsistent across their brands. For example, some IDG brands make you sign up to leave comments, some don’t.
- Bnet (what’s up with the non-embeddable video?)
- FastCompany (sorry, I know they’re supposed to be 100% social media and have Scoble and Shel but they still make you register, fill out yet another profile, etc)
I used to be VP Marketing at CNET in the late 90s, so I secretly root for them. Also, CNET Networks is a customer of Jive’s. They use our stuff on CNET, ZDNet, Webware and perhaps some other properties. PCWorld and MacWorld are customers, too.