Ziff Davis sells its mission statement

Paul Conley rants on Ziff Davis for their latest breach of journalistic ethics. They’ve gone so far as to sell the very text of their editorial mission statement to advertisers. Check out this screenshot:

“If you want to see the single most ridiculous, most offensive, most disgusting and dimwitted thing in the entire history of B2B publishing, then take a look at the Editorial Mission statement of Baseline magazine — the Editorial Mission statement, for god’s sake!!! — where ads have been inserted in the copy.”

Rex Hammock agrees and clarifies his distaste for the intelliTXT model:

“I’m not even opposed to having clearly marked advertising or sponsored content that is interspersed with editorial content. The practice that Paul (and I) oppose is the hidden nature of hyperlinked-text advertising…This is a slippery slope.”

It’s just unbelievable what people will do to their future to get an extra dollar today.

Do you want my clicks or my attention?

I’ve been a believer for a long time that the magazine business is best-suited amongst the “old” media markets to embrace and extend the online media world successfully. They understand communities. They understand niche content. And they get targeted advertising. They intuitively understand some of the hardest things to get right.

But watching eWeek handle the recent IntelliTXT controversy (more here from Paul Conley and here from Jason Calacanis) reminds me why there are newcomers in every market nearly every day displacing the magazine incumbant in that space.

RollingStone is kicking itself while MySpace displaces everything they once were. It continues to pain ZiffDavis and IDG every day that CNet and Slashdot control more and more of their once-dominant market positions. Everyone who was working at Time Inc. while Yahoo! rose to power is embarrassed every time they check their email.

Instead of embracing the Internet, the magazine businesses, particularly niche publications, choose to hide under their old business models. Then each time a Digg or a BoingBoing or the next new media site screams across the network, the internal fingerpointing and backroom politics escalate. And while everyone plots the next move, key thought leaders inside the company head elsewhere for employment.

There was a collective ‘ouch’ when InfoWorld lost Jon Udell to Microsoft.

I’m surprised that the trade associations are only just now picking up on things like this and the damage they cause. Martha Spizziri of the ASPBE takes a first pass at what IntelliTXT means:

“…at best the IntelliTXT model is annoying–in the same way that even editorial links can be annoying when the text is vague. In both cases, you aren’t really sure what kind of information you’ll get if you click.”

The American Business Media, on the other hand, has chosen not to take a side. In fact, they’ve chosen eWeek as a Neal Award finalist instead. B2B media watchdog Paul Conley explains why that’s a bad idea:

“it’s beyond me why the screening judges at ABM would think that a site that embarrasses the entire world of B2B journalism should be considered a symbol of what is best in B2B journalism.”

And Bill Mickey at Folio faults eWeek for being desperate:

“I’ve written about this before, as has Conley, who this time suggests that pressures stemming from owner Willis Stein’s efforts to sell Ziff Davis have resulted in a revenue-at-all-costs Web site strategy.”

Its obvious to everyone that print is struggling. And the stories of a market in turmoil only get more critical when a leader like eWeek sells out its last asset…the words on its pages.

Look, relevant advertising is great. It works for everyone in the media ecosystem. But when credibility is the elephant in the room, you can’t disrespect your customers. It’s as if your own content is getting in the way of what you want from people.

Do you want my clicks or my attention? If you capture my click, you’ll have a dollar today. If you capture my attention, you’ll have a customer tomorrow.

eWeek doesn’t want me to visit eweek.com

I saw a link to an eWeek story and visited in part because I hadn’t been there in so long.

Ugh. Now I remember why. Here’s a 30 second screencast showing you why I’m not a regular reader.


Link to video: http://video.yahoo.com/video/play?vid=c0467b333753b3d3fd849b14b76c56a4.1605369

First, notice the page load time. Then, once it loads, notice the billboard mania that draws my eye in every location other than the first sentence. I’m gone before I started.

But the killer is the IntelliTxt ad…a fakey inline link that is actually an ad that blocks the text on the page when you rollover the “link”. Notice it conveniently doesn’t block the other ads.

Fortunately, there’s a Greasemonkey script that will disable any IntelliTxt ads from any web site. Funny enough, I found this script on Wikipedia. It works great.

I thought the IntelliTxt issue was dead, but media sites scrapping to maintain profits on the page view model are bottom feeding for clicks with clutter and misleading links. Instead, they should spend their resources courting relationships with readers.