Thursday, September 30, 2010
Want more clicks on links to blog posts, articles and other stories? SEO says we should spell out keywords in the title, but sometimes, you need to make the decision to intrigue the reader instead.

Glamour’s Vitamin G health blog is excellent at this. Despite the fact that the author works in the same field as me, with the same information and even many of the same press releases – so the information she shares is rarely if ever new to me – I just can’t help clicking. Like this one:

Breakfast at Your Desk: Cold and Flu Season is Here – Eat This to Protect Yourself

You want to know, right?
Sunday, September 26, 2010
From an article on Min Online on Macworld’s launch of a premium online subscription service (quote from the cumbersomely titled evp/gm of IDG Macworld/PC World Stephan Scherzer):

"Users are willing to pay for content, convenience, being part of a special community, and they feel good about supporting a brand that delivers great content and serves their needs well."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010
You’re familiar with captchas, the “are you a real person?” tests at the bottom of online forms that are sometimes decipherable, sometimes not – but essential to cut down on spam, at least of the computer-generated type. Unfortunately, the act of making text unreadable for computers often makes it just as hard for people. But there are a couple of very cool alternatives circulating.

First, one I just read about yesterday – an advertising-based tool that would require users to type in some words related to the ad to “pass the test”. The idea is that they would require some sort of analytical thought to get through, rather than just repeating verbatim what’s presented. In the example shown, for instance, users are asked to enter the quoted text – which requires that they know which text is in quotes. The brilliance in this approach, of course (assuming it works), is the additional revenue it could generate.

The second is an older one, but also very cool and worth pointing out. It’s called recaptcha and is a form of crowdsourcing. Basically, when old books are being scanned and digitized through OCR (optical character recognition) technology, some errors will inevitably creep up. Recaptcha takes these hard-to-read (for computers) words and turns them into a captcha test so that the time spent solving captchas can be put to good use.
What are your thoughts on captchas? Have you used either of these technologies on your site? Do you know of any other alternatives?

Thursday, September 16, 2010
An interesting point from an article on Min Online:

“Our premise is that everyone should have some sort of subscription content on a site,” says Matthew Mitchell. His company [MediaPass] works with publishers and bloggers to identify the sections of their sites that are of highest value to the right segments of their audience—the content so good some people will pay to access it. “There should always be a mix,” he says. “For some it may be 5% of their content and for some 95%.”

The idea, says Mitchell, is that even if you can get a small percentage of people to pay for a small percentage of content, the revenue beats advertising (although shouldn’t replace it). The challenge is making it easy technically, which is, of course, what MediaPass claims to do for media companies.

Overall I like this idea, especially Mitchell’s point that the goal is to find that specific content that you offer that readers can’t – or don’t want to – get anywhere else. For one brand it might be reviews, for another analysis, for a third games. But the key is to find out what your USP is online, and to capitalize on it. (Recipes, for instance, are probably a losing proposition as paid content, unless you’re offering something so absolutely amazing that you can compete with the rest of the web.)

What would you pay for? If you had access to a service like MediaPass for your magazine website, would you try it out?

Tuesday, September 07, 2010
Thanks to Jaclyn Law for pointing out this Slate article on Kanye West. Not only is it a good example of link journalism, but I like how they pointed out a correction made to a sentence in the story – with an anchor link, no less.

"Correction, Aug. 25: The article originally stated that West has given only two major print interviews since his mother’s death, to People and Details. West also spoke to Vibe. (Return to the corrected sentence.)"
About Me
Kat Tancock
Kat Tancock is a freelance writer, editor and digital consultant based in Toronto. She has worked on the sites of major brands including Reader's Digest, Best Health, Canadian Living, Homemakers, Elle Canada and Style at Home and teaches the course Creating Website Editorial at Ryerson University.
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