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Editorial Advertising.

I agree that the danger of advertisers moving towards "bought" editorial is that in time people wont believe anything that anyone writes.  However if certain institiutions around the world (BBC on my side) that have peoples respect already continue to stay reasonably untainted by advertising of this kind, they will become the sources of information that people rely on to be accurate. 

This is why it is so important that these companies stay away from this type of advertising.  In the long run if they dont they will become no better than any other media organisation.

Toby Allen
Saturday, September 14, 2002

I rather liked the irony of Joel advertising a book during that essay...he does that a lot these days...its reasonable in a weblog of course. 
<g> does anyone actually buy those books because they appear in his writings?  It feels to me like the equivalent of the odd person who buys person from spam email.....why would anyone do it?

not really caring
Saturday, September 14, 2002

I hope nobody buys that book, it wasn't very good other than the fact that it has a novel thesis. I used a link to amazon as the web equivalent of footnoting my sources.

Joel Spolsky
Saturday, September 14, 2002

as a reply to Doesnt really care.

Thats exactly what I mean, although you seem to have missed it.  Joel has built up a great following over the years he's been writing his Joel on Software and so has the ability to make people buy books and stuff that he recommends.  This is called being respected.  People value his opinion and feel a recommended book is work buying. 

On the other hand if Joel decides to take loads of money from "really bad book publisher" and start recommending their "really bad books" then it wont be long before people start to ignore all recommendations he gives including the good ones.  Its a bit like cry wolf http://www.storyarts.org/library/aesops/stories/boy.html .

I dont mean to say Joel that I believe you will ever do this, but it illustrates my point that editorial advertising will quickly kill editorials as a means of advertising.

Toby Allen
Sunday, September 15, 2002

Can't say I'll buy that one, but yes, I do sometimes buy a book if it's mentioned by someone. The mention just makes me aware of the book -- I still base my buy on the table of contents, a snippet (if available) and to some degree, what others say about it. I've even bought two that were reviewed on Slashdot.

Troy King
Sunday, September 15, 2002

Interesting article in today's _New York Times_:

====Begin excerpt====

Dropping Logos That Shout, Luxury Sellers Try Whispers

By TRACIE ROZHON

[...]

Gucci. Fendi. Ferragamo. Chanel. Prada. Throughout the 1990's, designers kept turning up the volume on their initials, putting their company logos — the CC's of Chanel, the G's of Gucci, the much-imitated LV's of Louis Vuitton — on a mind-boggling array of new products: belts, ties, wallets, golf shirts, tennis shoes and mink-lined fedoras.

Now the logos have become scarce.  [...]

To Simon Doonan, the creative director at Barneys, logos are on the way out. "They did it to death — and they're smart enough to recognize it," he said. "The customers OD'd on it. It no longer has resonance." [...]

To Juliet B. Schor, a professor of sociology at Boston College and the author of "The Overspent American," the movement away from logos goes beyond 9/11. "It's tied to a larger resistance to branding strategies and connected to individuality, to rejecting the corporate definition of who you are," she said.

====End excerpt====

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/15/business/yourmoney/15LOGO.html

Alex Chernavsky
Sunday, September 15, 2002

Thats exactly what I mean, although you seem to have missed it.


interesting...Im not entirely sure of the reaon or purpose of this statement.
<g> If I had any idea of the motivation behind it I would be more sure of how to respond.

This is called being respected.

I indeed have a lot of interest and or respect in Joels opinions.

People value his opinion and feel a recommended book is work buying.

See, that was actually my question...I had not the slightest interest in your previous statement but was instead of on my on tack.
I have a surprisingly good understand of marketing, the use of editorials to do so and the advantages/flaws of this idea.
<g> Its a subject thats obvious enough I would be surprised to find there is anyone on this forum who was unable to follow your point.
What I am specifically interested in is whether there are in fact people who *do* buy books based on Joels recommendations, despite the interest I have in his writings I have never even felt the slightest temptation to do so.  The idea that there may be individuals out there who do is....alien...

not really caring
Sunday, September 15, 2002

...never reply to a post in a hurry...

OK...the above post totally failed to ask the question I wanted to:
assuming that Joel has some sort of click-through arrangement with amazon et al.....how many of us have contributed to the click-through count?

not really caring
Sunday, September 15, 2002

I have.

Whenever I'm looking to buy a book on a particular topic, I surf around and find a few people I trust and respect in that field, and see what books they recommend (and why!). I kind of let them 'vote' on what I should buy.

This cuts the list down substantially from a straight Amazon search. I find the Amazon ratings system is usually not very good unless you read the comments carefully. There are an awful lot of people out there that buy an advanced book and then complain that it doesn't cover the basics, or buy a basic book and then complain that it leaves out a lot of advanced stuff.

If there's one or two books that every expert recommends, they're usually the ones I buy.

Darren Collins
Sunday, September 15, 2002

Whenever I'm looking to buy a book on a particular topic, I surf around and find a few people I trust and respect in that field, and see what books they recommend (and why!). I kind of let them 'vote' on what I should buy.


Hmm...thats interesting..

Its a good idea of course but its a slightly different approach , in that you are not buying the book *because* of their recommendation.
<g> ...if you see the distinction Im trying to make.
You have the need and then use the recommendation of some others to decide what to purchase...

not really caring
Monday, September 16, 2002

Toby made a really interesting point.

Impartial institutions are becoming increasingly rare, and it is vital to everybody who wants to be able to make iformed choices that we keep those that we have.

The BBC is an excellent example. Some may argue that it is not politically impartial
(no organisation is completely impartial) but at least it doesn't care what kind of car we buy.

The Universities used to be good examples (not perfect ones) but as they get their funding increasingly from business, they find it harder to publish work that would have a negative impact on a sponsor's sales.

The trouble is that this impartiality costs money. To keep the BBC impartial it can't take advertisements, which means that it has to have government funding. The same with the universities. In my opinion the price is worth paying.

An interesting but small example. When I lived in Britain there used to be a magazine called 'Which?' whose sole purpose was to to
user tests of consumer goods and publish the results. To keep itself impartial it took no advertising, which means that it cost much more than your competing magazines.

Bizarrely there appears to be no North American equivalent. Anyone any idea why?

David Clayworth
Monday, September 16, 2002

"Bizarrely there appears to be no North American equivalent. Anyone any idea why? "

Either you haven't been to the US, or you didn't look around that much...

http://www.consumerreports.org/ - "Out mission since 1936: Test, Inform, Protect. We accept no ads"

jeff
Monday, September 16, 2002

David Clayworth wrote:

"The Universities used to be good examples (not perfect ones) but as they get their funding increasingly from business, they find it harder to publish work that would have a negative impact on a sponsor's sales."

Yes, this is particularly true in medical research.  Pharmaceutical companies are completely ruthless in suppressing negative results from university studies (when the companies pay for the studies).  Drug companies have launched vicious smear campaigns against academic researchers whose results were displeasing to the companies.  Do a Google search on "Betty Dong" or "Nancy Olivieri", and you'll see what I mean.

Alex Chernavsky
Monday, September 16, 2002

TO Mr. Clayworth,

You may be happy to have your money taken from you (ie, taxes) to support your pet project (the BBC).  I on the other hand am not.  I would prefer to support other things with my money by directly purchasing those things.  Whether it's a subscription to  a news magazine, a science cable channel, etc.  I don't want someone else, (director of BBC), deciding for me what I get to watch, view, read.

In the same way I can choose to read/watch content with editorial advertising or not.  I would not force others to NOT watch just nor would I force them to pay for my editoral advertising free content.

Gregg Tavares
Wednesday, September 18, 2002

TO Mr. Tavares,

Why is it that knee-jerk conservatives like you are unable to see the irony of having a "society" who's guiding principle is "the complete freedom of the individual"?

I'm certainly no advocate of communism, or even the more ardent social democracies, but surely you can't be unaware that your news magazines and science cable channels are funded by corporate advertisers?  The purpose of a federally funded (but not federally run) media body is to ensure that you are provided with honest information in order to be able to make an informed decision.  It does not make the decision for you.

If you think that these privately owned media are looking out for your best interests, or even that they're unbiased, then you, my good sheep, are a large part of the very problem you so vehemently decry.

Dunno Wair
Wednesday, September 18, 2002

> The BBC is an excellent example. ... no North American equivalent.

If Canada is in North America then you have the CBC.

The US equivalent might be PBS. They have some ads or sponsors, and viewers volunteer to send them money. There's also something called NPR.

Christopher Wells
Friday, September 20, 2002

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