Friday, January 29, 2010

New media revenue models

At today's Women in Periodical Publishing annual Women's Leadership Conference, many of the sessions focused on the future of media and how to make money off the media (i.e. how to stay alive, adapt and thrive). Since the speakers were so kind to share what they have learned from their research and experience, I compiled a list.

In no particular order, here are some of the ways (emerging as well as traditional) to make money off of new media in consumer markets:
- advertising - not just banner ads, but used with e-mail, text, video and through third party or localized deals
- sponsorships - special deals where sponsors get extra promotion through events (online and off), articles, ads, buttons, etc.
- micropayments - tips, mini subscriptions, small donations or other crowdfunded models
- virtual goods - creation of virtual products that mimic real life products, sold for small amounts to the consumer for use in virtual environments
- print-on-demand systems - provide a physical publication that's printed individually for the reader
- mobile applications - iPhone, Android, other - licensed app use to view content via mobile devices
- contests - provide a product or service to winners with sponsors or some sort of fee
- content licensing - paid syndication or other licensing agreements for creative content (posts, articles, photos, video)
- subscriptions or memberships - paid use of content either on the web and/or on tablet devices, such as iPad or Kindle (*note this has been more successful in the Kindle market than it has on web browsers)

Of course the panelists noted that some of these models are typically more successful than others, but it does depend on the content and the audience. For those who have research or more detailed information on which kinds of business models tend to be most successful in their own experiences, I look forward to your comments.

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Advice on Being a Solopreneur

I just sat in on a panel this morning at the annual Women's Leadership Conference produced by Women in Periodical Publishing. Having previously been a speaker on how to be a consultant, I wanted to see how this panel would differ since it was all about being a solo practitioner as a journalist, i.e. freelancer, called 'solopreneur' on the panel.

Here are the tidbits shared by the four panelists that I wanted to pass along:
- Most work really does come through referrals or people met directly in person
- Setting personal boundaries is important (like work hours, sleep time, family time, etc.) to keeping sanity and balance
- Make a business plan; make a marketing plan and revisit both often
- Set a rate and aim to stick to it (even when paid by the word as writers, compute how long that roughly takes to write)
- Pro bono work or opportunities that cost money sometimes are still worth it because they can pay back in other ways (networking, perks, education, exposure, etc.)
- "Sometimes you make art, sometimes you make soup" meaning that sometimes you need to work for pay or write not at your best to get jobs done, but sometimes you will make excellent compositions, and it's important to accept that as reality
- Always start with vision first, set strategy second, and employ tactics third

Speakers: Heather Boerner, writer & editor; Grace Hawthorne, co-founder ReadyMade and consulting associate professor, Stanford Design Institute; Lane Wallace, founder & editor, No Map. No Guide. No Limits.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Fem2 and the Politics of Inclusion

I'm submitting a session for the Gov 2.0 Camp LA Women in Technology track. Here's the scoop:

Although the concept of open government & transparent processes assumes equal ability for participation, there are still spaces and situations in the world of online politics and government 2.0 where some or all women get cut out of the discussion or added as an afterthought. This session will address ways to ensure equal possibilities for all.

Transparency and open government assumes inclusion, so questions of how to outreach and include all groups are important. Since Gov 2.0 Camp LA specifically wanted to address problems of women, this session will focus on that (vs. specific ethnic groups, for example). Because as much as we'd like to think this new online world order provides instantaneous equality, there are still areas of gender bias. Online new boys' clubs have in some ways subtly disregarded women of equal status in online communities, causing rifts, bad feelings and a dilution in the quality of the conversation on important political and policy discussions.

Through the efforts of groups like Fem 2.0 and individuals like Allyson Kapin (@womenintech) and Shireen Mitchell (@digitalsista), some of these issues have been getting attention, but we're still not there yet. This session will discuss some of the problems and solutions to this complex issue.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Microsoft Office Winter Games Contest Semi-Finals Report

I came, I blogged, I tweeted, I e-mailed, I Facebooked (no, that's not a real verb although people are using it way too much these days) and put up requests on a range of lists and other sites for the past 13 days in an attempt to win two coveted trips to blog at the Olympics and CES plus a brand new laptop. (Here's more info on the contest.) Voting ceased at midnight Pacific time, and to my knowledge, this is the last of the voting for this contest.

Many people have been asking what happens next. To answer the question on whether I have any idea where I stand regarding votes, no - not yet. I hope they will give us totals. The link I created near the end of the second day at provided statistics and I was able to see how many clicks I received through that link. Some of the data was skewed, but I think I generated approximately 3000 clicks to the contest website. That does not necessarily mean I received 3000 votes, however, due to random site visitors, site errors, visitors who did not wish to share their e-mail addresses, and visitors who voted for someone else. And it does not give any sense of what the other semi-finalists produced in terms of clicks or votes. Still, it was a good learning experience for me to track everything.

I've been told that it will take a couple of weeks to tally votes, verify authenticity and inform the top three vote-getters who will be named as official finalists. Once the top three women finalists are identified, the judges will look at the vote totals, the overall quality of work on our blogs, our submitted essays and the social media outreach we did during the voting period. Then they will make their decision as to the grand prize winner, to be announced at the site on January 7th.

So the best thing you can do for me at this point - if you're still willing! - is to visit my blog and write comments on my posts. I would love it if every figure skating post had some comments there for the judges to read.

Please visit and comment on my blog at BlogHer -

Thank you all who voted, e-mailed and tweeted on my behalf.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Help Me Get to the Olympics - Vote!

Send Sairy to the Vancouver Winter Games!

Friends & faithful readers, I need your help!

I'll make it easy for you...

Go here:
Register once with e-mail. Vote for me every day through November 29th.

Tweet this:
I voted for Sarah in the #blogathlete @Office contest. Please help send her to the Olympics! #VoteSarah

Blast it anywhere else you can think of:
Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Plaxo, Ryze, Orkut, etc... oh yeah and that e-mail thing.

Be thanked:


Here's the full scoop:
I'm really excited to be one of 5 semi-finalists in a very cool contest to win a trip to the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada in February, but I need your help to win - starting today!

Microsoft Office is sponsoring one woman blogger to attend, and on top of that, the winner gets a trip to the Consumer Electronics Show in January and a free laptop. I made it to the top five by submitting my blog about figure skating at BlogHer, the women bloggers' network, but I need help getting into the finals with public voting.

Voting started today and goes through November 29th. It requires a simple registration, then you can vote once a day every day through the 29th.

Click here to VOTE!

It just takes a few steps: Click on the tiny highlighted login text at the top of the page above the list of voters, and it will take you to a screen where you can enter your e-mail address and a password. Then after you're logged in, it will take you to back to the voting screen where you'll see my name at the bottom. Click on the "Vote for me!" button below my name and you're done. Until tomorrow. ;)

The top three vote-getters go to the final round where the judges then choose the winner.  My goal is to get so many votes that I blow the others out of the water, so the judges have a clear decision in the final round.

Each person only gets 13 votes - one per day. If you would like to be on my daily reminders list, please drop me a line after you register and vote. Everyone on the daily list will receive Olympic fun facts and I promise I'll stop emailing the list on the 30th. Otherwise, I'll email you every so often with reminders as the contest progresses.

One last favor: if you're willing, please tell any of your friends who you think might take a few minutes to sign up and vote for me as well.

Direct link again to register and vote:

Thank you so very much for your help!

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Monday, November 09, 2009

Recap of a busy week - politics, new media, gov 2.0 and more

Last week was a whirlwind on the local level... after Newsom dropped out of the CA governors' race, I wrote a piece about it that had a pretty good reception at The Huffington Post but was maimed by trolls at SFGate. Having seen this happen before for other writers, I reluctantly decided to remove all comments. I reviewed the problem with other blogger friends who confirmed it's a common problem for newspapers-turned-online publications.

I put up a detailed response at SFGate explaining the problem to readers and the community there and received a lot of letters via e-mail in support. The SFGate staff also were responsive as well, looking into what they can do with the system that will help solve their comment moderation problem. (IMO it shouldn't be that hard technically - they're using Moveable Type - it's more a matter of budgeting the staff time and having a smart plan in place.)

After spending way more time on that last week, I was able to shift gears back to tech, I finished an article about Twitter Lists for Digital Landing. I've been researching Twitter Lists since they first launched, and one of my lists of the Women in Politics & Tech group (WIPT) was put on the list of Ten Feminist Twitter Lists.

Saturday, I headed to CA Data Camp where I caught up with local government, non-profit and media people who are passionate about open government. We talked about data specifics, data transfer, local applications, data and media and the related national scope. I'll be putting up at least one post at the Personal Democracy Forum about that. Here's a great summary at Spot.Us. Meanwhile, I was invited this week to be on two more conference program committees. More on that when they're official.

Meanwhile, as we were finishing up with the data apps in SF, the House voted on their final version of the healthcare reform bill. It was interesting to follow that on Twitter while in a room full of government software developers. Finally, I was surprised this morning to be on a list of Top 20 Women Political Bloggers (I think the list is a subset of liberal bloggers who are also moms).

This week, I'm working on an article about Google Wave and editing a book on confidential information. I'm also working on a couple new gov 2.0 related projects that I hope to write more about soon.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Geek Summit, Social Media Style

In a flurry of panels, one-on-one dialogues, product promos and surprise guests, the three day Web 2.0 Summit just held in San Francisco felt a bit like speed dating for tech companies:

"Hi, my name's HP and I'm eco-friendly. What's your sign?"
"Nice to meet you. I'm Google, and I can search your shared social media and make sure you're not too creepy."
"I'm MySpace. I'm a sensitive artist. Wanna come over and see my etchings?"

Bringing together Silicon Valley execs, media moguls, content producers and techie elite in one place wasn't an easy feat, but O'Reilly Media and TechWeb did a bang-up job, overflowing the ballroom at The Westin San Francisco Market Street.

Not afraid to bring out a little tension from high stakes competitors in the growing new media marketplace, John Battelle and Tim O'Reilly asked some sharp and intriguing questions of the speakers, enticing a Battle of the Bands style presentation as many presenters made major product announcements during the conference, including large screen demos and glossy booths. Wednesday's sponsoring headliner was Microsoft, introducing Bing's Twitter search, just before Google's encore performance announcing a Twitter deal and their upcoming Social Search.

The metropolitan crowd came laptops in-hand and left with plenty of exciting new ideas to take home and prepare for the next new new thing, but the waves rippling across the twitterverse will continue. Meanwhile, check out John Battelle's conference play list.

(Reposted from my column at

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