Monthly Archives: February 2007

What is the purpose of your web copy?

I’m stating the obvious here, but it’s amazing how many clients don’t fully anticipate or appreciate their user’s needs when it comes to web copy.

When devising web copy or a content strategy, ask yourself the following questions:

What is the purpose of your web copy? What does it need to achieve? What do customers need to do on your site and will the copy help them?

There’s hundreds of more questions you need to ask yourself. For example, does your web copy ‘sell’ your services, product or public information? Is copy ‘on message’? Does it reflect your brand values? Don’t know what your brand values are? Then find out! Does copy meet your editorial guidelines? Don’t have any guidelines? Then write some!

Rant over.

Monkeymag to tone down content?

It was inevitable. Dennis Publishing is to review content in online only lads mag Monkeymag after a media agency voiced some concern over content which – as Digital Bulletin quotes – ‘pushes boundaries’.

As well as featuring babes, sports and cars, Dennis’ product development editor Ben Raworth recently suggested Monkeymag aims to showcase and filter web content so users don’t have to. That includes user generated content which some may feel ‘pushes boundaries’.

Interestingly, someone from a Times Newspapers URL was reading my various posts on Monkeymag this morning. Let’s see if there’s a story in tomorrow’s Times.

Tensions between print and online departments in publishing

Merged publishing operations have it easy.

Print teams are getting annoyed with online departments because they not only administer websites but they also collect the ad revenue.

Media buyers are eager to reach new audiences so they also want to see digital and print sides unite.

Does the Daily Telegraph no longer have this problem since it merged news operations?

SMD Publishing

Something odd’s happening. Each day, I’m getting a huge amount of Google referrals from people searching for ‘SMD Publishing’.

Many of the searches are from international users e.g. Spain. Are publishers circling SMD? The absence of a strong online presence for SMD Publishing has seen searches picking up on this contentcontent

Does anyone have any ideas on what’s going on?

Imagine Publishing upbeat about video games sector

It’s Bournemouth vs Bath! Imagine’s MD Damian Butt has told that it’s set to beat video games magazine publishser Future in terms of sales of video games mags.

Growth of any kind in print is good news, but more interesting is that Future’s last ABC report showed a drop in ‘official’ magazines while the broader and unofficial mags like Edge, Xbox World 360 and Games Master (holy rebrand and repositioning – is that still going?!).

I’d be interested to see what plans Imagine has for its titles online before other’s steal their thunder. It has a few forums set up (for example X360). but they’re pretty basic.

Friction TV, magazine publishing and User Generated Content

UPDATED: Friction TV is a politicallty themed website where users can upload video content on hot topics of discussion.

Sonic has gone in the for the kill in terms of advertising around this content:

“If you are a brand that wishes to be associated with a key issue such as Global
Warming, is the place where your ownership of the issue will be
cemented. If your company wants to spark a debate then create your own video –
it doesn’t just have to be individuals who can take the floor.

With nine channels to choose from (and more to come) advertisers can target ads to relevant content and can even sponsor the media player by channel. These will extend to debates on regional issues as well, opening up regional targeting opportunities.”

I’ve yet to see any video content where people have sent in a video response and in the main, users have so far been sending in the easy to produce written responses.

Without the need for registration, all comments are posted anonymously. Does this anonymity lessen the impact I wonder? How can people make a name for themselves within the community? What if I’m impressed by someone’s comments and want to read more of their posts?

So why is this site worth watching? It seems Sonic understands that a user generated content site with a theme (think of a Snowboarding magazine or site dedicated to video gaming) can be a stronger proposition than one with a wider remit.

YouTube’s got the first mover advantage, but imagine the potential for hobby and interest led magazines once they start offering UGC / video messageboards. Will a World of Warcraft fan (notice I didn’t say geek) want their video rant to be seen by huge but ‘irrelevant’ audiences on YouTube, or will they see more value in their video being hosted within a dedicated portal for WoW fans? Imagine the value of your peers, within a dedicated and tailored community, agreeing or even championing your comments. It’s obvious stuff – it’s been happening for years with forums. Look at how music fans always opt for messageboards over a Yahoo or MSN music themed messageboard.

Friction TV may be designed for adults who want to engage in debate rather than see skateboarding accidents, but even the slightest hint of offering a narrow / niche UGC platform has got me exicted about the future of e-magazines and publishers. Can pairing UGC with long tail folksonomies actually generate cash?

The BBC’s The Verdict


I don’t normally go for reality TV shows (if this really is reality TV), but The Verdict appears to have really caught the imagination of a few people I know. Despite the celeb jury team factor, watching the process of the justice system is undeniably fascinating.

Particularly interesting is watching Michael Portillo repeatedly distance himself from anything Jeffrey Archer says and see Stan Collymore get annoyed with everyone’s ’emotional’ judgements because he may be swayed.
Is this whole exercise part of a plan to push for televised court cases in the UK?

Read more about BBC Verdict.

TimesOnline relaunch and review

The TimesOnline website has relaunched.

The first major rework since 2000, the £10million relaunch has been well received by online users, despite initial teething troubles on 5th Feb.

These include: slow loading, missing columns of text on certain stories and slightly confusing content labels (‘Most curious’).

The site uses lime green because the web site is the Times with a twist (their words) and it’s also dropped the Times coat of arms. Use of colour has also been limited, with ‘comment’ content gaining a salmon pink hue.

Expect boat loads of comment on the increased use of UGC / video / podcasts etc.