Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


Publishers: Learn to Better Attract and Retain Readers

Online publishers…especially writers who do blogs to expand their platform and brand and/or websites to sell their books, etc…definitely want to learn how to attract and keep many more readers AND retain them on their sites for longer periods per visit! 

I damn sure do. I have discovered that I’m a real dumbo when it comes to smart marketing…hell, I’m lacking even when it comes to dumb marketing.

Well, I have discovered an annual analysis of these very skill sets run by an outfit known as Lijit Networks and they have just released the results of their 2010 Publisher Tools Analysis.

The figures in this analysis will surprise and educate you.

More details from this PR Newswire release:

Lijit Networks Announces Results of 2010 Publisher Tools Analysis
Adoption of Social Media Tools Grows 80% as Online Publishers Learn to Better Attract and Retain Readers
Lijit Networks, Inc., the leader in custom site search and engagement tools for online publishers, today announced the results of its 2010 Publisher Tools Analysis. Within the Lijit Top 50, a list of the top 50 widgets and tools implemented on publisher websites, adoption of social media widgets grew 80% from 2009 to 2010. Widget adoption specifically related to Facebook and Twitter almost doubled, growing from 6.96% to 11.86% deployment. Social media widgets include tools used for social networking, micro-blogging, bookmarking, and photo sharing.As part of the research project, Lijit surveyed 735,834 websites to collect data on referring traffic and on-site widget deployment. Sites analyzed include all 15,000 sites in the Lijit Network as well as their extended network, which incorporates blogrolls and other linked sites. Of the sites surveyed, 84.8% have widgets installed. A widget is defined as, “any regularly-occurring functionality on a website powered by an external service, voluntarily installed by the site owner, and powered by Flash or Javascript.”

Referring traffic goes social

Three main categories of referring traffic data were analyzed: 1) search engine traffic, which comprised 44.42% of referring traffic; 2) organic traffic (defined by sites linking to each other), which comprised 35.89% of referring traffic; and 3) social media traffic, which comprised 19.68% of referring traffic. Of referring traffic from social media sources, 44% came from Facebook, 41% came from StumbleUpon, 6.7% came from Digg, 5.13% came from Twitter, and 2% came from Reddit. The data verifies that both social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter as well as social sharing tools such as StumbleUpon, Digg, and Reddit are being used to drive traffic to publisher websites.

“Online publishing has become a two-way street and those who are most successful have learned to use social media to build highly engaged, conversational communities of readers,” said Todd Vernon, CEO and founder of Lijit Networks. “Social media tools should not only be used to attract new readers but also to engage and retain them by allowing people to post comments, receive feedback, and share relevant information.”

Read and learn more

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Book Reviews & the New FTC Guidelines

Filed under: bloggers,book reviews,FTC guidelines,publishers — gator1965 @ 4:57 pm

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has come out with new book review guidelines (and what in the hell does review have to do with trade, anyway?) that are patently prejudiced against bloggers reviewing books. The FTC did not include newspapers, magazines, radio, TV or other book review sources in a clear & appropriate “review policy” that applies to all.

Anyway, Ron Hogan, from the GALLEYCAT wrote an interesting post about the FTC faux pas:

Book Publishers, Bloggers, & the FTC Guidelines
By Ron Hogan

Shortly after the Federal Trade Commission issued its “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” yesterday, the world learned that the FTC judges newspapers and blogs by different standards—while newspapers (and magazines, and radio shows, and TV shows) are able to receive consumer products for the purposes of review with no requirement to disclose the provenance of those products, the FTC’s stated position is that bloggers are receiving those same consumer products as compensation for a presumed endorsement: Nobody but a blockhead ever gave a blogger anything, according to the FTC, except for good reviews.

(This position isn’t unique to the FTC—three years ago, before he became the editor of Granta, John Freeman attacked book bloggers by making much the same argument, particularly with reference to blogs that participate in ecommerce affiliate programs in order to generate income by commissions on referrals leading to consumer purchases.)

Obviously, these guidelines apply to all consumer products; it’s just that books happen to be our particular area of interest here at GalleyCat. With that in mind, what can book publishers do to challenge this pernicious double standard? I am not a lawyer, so the following should not be construed as legal advice, but perhaps publicists at book publishing companies might wish to discuss it with corporate counsel. In fact, I strongly encourage them to do so.

(1) If the Federal Trade Commission sincerely believes publishers send books to bloggers with the expectation that those books will receive endorsement in the form of a positive review, perhaps it can be disabused of this notion. What if publishers developed a standardized document to accompany any books, whether they be sent to bloggers or media companies, explicitly defining the conditions under which that book has been distributed? This document could state, among other things, that the book it accompanies is being sent to the recipient for the purposes of review, that it is in no way intended as compensation to the recipient, that the publisher places no condition upon the recipient as to the handling of the book, that the publisher has no expectations as to how or even if the recipient will review the book, and so on. (Again, I’m not a lawyer, so the actual language of such a document, should a publisher choose to create it, is likely to be very different.)

(2) Let’s be honest, the FTC is much more likely to listen to Bertelsmann or News Corp. or other publishers of similar stature than it is to the bloggers. If whoever it is that lobbies the FTC on behalf of those companies—not only as individual corporations, but also as the Association of American Publishers—were to go to the FTC and argue against the way these guidelines define the relationship between book publishers and bloggers as distinct from the relationship between book publishers and other media companies, maybe that would effect some change in the situation. Or maybe it wouldn’t. We won’t know, though, if the book publishers don’t make the effort.

Of course, both of these proposals depend upon book publishers actually believing that when they send a book to a blogger, it’s for the purposes of review and not for a presumed endorsement. So maybe, before we go any further, bloggers need to have some frank conversations with book publishers about their expectations, and if it turns out that (some) publishers really do expect endorsements, bloggers might want to ask themselves: If this book is intended as compensation, is it enough compensation?

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