brand strategy

eBay Embraces Content Marketing and Finds Its Voice

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 8, 2014 04:07 PM

Storytelling is a brand requirement these days. And as a digital brand with its own oft-repeated creation story—a "corporate myth" about collecting Pez dispensers—eBay is expanding its chops as an original storyteller and content publisher. Turning its homepage into a digital magazine it's calling eBay Today, the visually-rich digital hub presents a Pinterest-like grid that creates stories out of curated collections and timely themes. 

Hiring a chief curator and editorial director last fall in "tastemaker-in-chief" in Michael Phillips Moskowitz, eBay is now live on, where users can scroll through picture-squares of product and collections, hovering over a headline for a drop-down description.

"We're now in the content business," explained Devin Wenig, President eBay Marketplace, to The Atlantic. "So, for the first time, eBay has a voice. We're telling stories. We have an editor. We have curators. And we have writers on-staff. You'll see that evolve to some longer-form stories, some really beautiful pictures... It's media-like."Continue reading...

media meltdown

In Return to Print, Newsweek Captures Global Attention with Bitcoin Claims

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 7, 2014 12:01 PM

Back on the newsstand after a near two-year hiatus during which it went digital-only, Newsweek made quite the splash this week with its Bitcoin cover story, which claimed a massive scoop: that the now IBT-owned media title had uncovered the true identity of the founder of the controversial digital currency.

Unfortunately, Newsweek’s big scoop may be a complete bust. The man who was fingered, Satoshi Nakamoto, a 64-year-old Japanese-American father of six who owns a single-family home in Southern California, claims he never even heard of Bitcoin unitl Newsweek contacted his son three weeks ago, the Associated Press reports. Newsweek stands by its story, which also says Nakamoto is worth about $400 million.

Since Bitcoin was first launched in 2009, fans, critics and curious consumers have been trying to uncover the true identity of supposed found Satoshi Nakamoto is, but to no avail. The man Newsweek has named, who was born Satoshi Nakamoto but later changed his name to Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto, now has reporters—and police—at his doorstep.Continue reading...

media triage

Realizing It's No Match for the Internet, Getty Succumbs to Open Image Library

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 6, 2014 05:44 PM

In a classic example of, “if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em,” Getty Images has granted open access to its image treasure trove—for free. 

Conceding its losing battle over online photo infringement, users can now embed and share imagery for non-commercial use on websites, blogs and social media sites via a new embed tool

"Images are the communication medium of today and imagery has become the world’s most spoken language,” said Jonathan Klein, co-founder and CEO Getty Images, according to Marketing Magazine. “Innovation and disruption are the foundation of Getty Images, and we are excited to open up our vast and growing image collection for easy, legal sharing in a new way that benefits our content contributors and partners, and advances our core mission to enable a more visually-rich world."Continue reading...

media brands

TIME Goes Mobile, Brief in Web Overhaul

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 6, 2014 04:44 PM

Mobile is at the heart of consumer consumption, and media brands have been listening hard. That's why news organizations like CNN and the New York Times have launched recent site redesigns optimized for mobile devices including smartphones and tablets, and now it's TIME's turn. 

In the same week that Newsweek returned (controversially) to print after going digital-only in 2012, TIME has launched an extensive overhaul of its website to optimize its content for mobile—and its ads, including hosting more videos and native ads.

“Our data suggest that nearly half of you are currently reading this on a smartphone or tablet,” TIME wrote in a blog post describing the changes. “TIME invented the news brief; the original magazine included 100 stories, none longer than 400 words. Fittingly, the centerpiece of our new home page is The Brief, a fast take on the 12 stories you need to know about right now.”Continue reading...

media brands

Time Inc., MLB, NHL and More Throw Support Behind New 120 Sports Network

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 21, 2014 01:44 PM

ESPN may consider itself the “World Wide Leader in Sports,” but Sports Illustrated’s owner, Time Inc., and a few major sports leagues are looking to take a big piece of its action with a big investment in online sports network startup, 120 Sports.

Online video is growing exponentially, Time Inc. will join Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, NASCAR, and college sports conferences to create content for the network that will “include content such as game highlights and commentary in two-minute segments,” according to the Wall Street Journal. No live games will be featured.

The NFL is not currently part of the 120 Sports package since it announced last month that it will have its own online video app, NFL Now, “that will tailor programming according to each user's interests, part of an independent effort by the league to extend its reach on digital platforms,” the Journal reports.

The 120 Sports site will launch later in the spring and have its own app, but the content may also appear on third-party sites. It won’t require viewers to authenticate their cable providers, such as how NBC won't allow online viewers to watch live streams of Olympics coverage without entering such information.Continue reading...

social media watch

LinkedIn Will Allow All Users to Sound-Off as It Opens Content Floodgates

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 19, 2014 04:56 PM

Continuing its evolution from a resume library for headhunters and job-seekers to the complete professional's network, LinkedIn is following trends set by Google, Facebook and Twitter and turning to a harder focus on content in various forms.

The company is adding the option for all users to write and share longform posts to their LinkedIn profile, essentially making every user a LinkedIn Influencer. Current Influencer posts, which come from top executives and industry leaders, generate nearly 31,000 views and more than 80 comments on average from the brand’s 277 million monthly active users.

"We're really excited to actually open up this publishing platform and start to draw some of that experience, knowledge, and insight out of these members and onto the LinkedIn platform to share at more of a massive scale," said LinkedIn's Head of Content Products, Ryan Roslansky. 

The new tool will be rolled out in the coming weeks, marked by a pencil icon near the Share Box on profiles. While any published content from users will be visible on their profiles, LinkedIn will use algorithms to choose articles with the most traction and distribute them more broadly.Continue reading...

brand makeovers

Getty Images and Sheryl Sandberg "Lean In" On Sexism in Stock Photos

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 10, 2014 01:39 PM

Lean In, the female empowerment nonprofit founded by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is joining forces with Getty Images to present better images of women in stock photographs. Taking on "institutional sexism," the goal is to create a stock-photo library of 2,500 new pictures that portray women of all ages in a better light.

Getty reports that the three most-searched terms in its image database are “women,” “business” and “family.” But according to Jessica Bennett, Lean In's contributing editor, a large share of results from queries for "business woman" and "career woman" are "completely sexualized or just really cheesy," she told Ad Age. "There's so much terrible stock imagery out there, so we wanted to put something out that felt really authentic and empowering." 

The Lean In Collection of photos show a diverse group of age-appropriate women and girls in business settings, at home and at play. Lean In will claim an undisclosed amount of fees from the usage of those images by corporate sites, photo editors and media outlets.Continue reading...

web watch

The Mother of Virality: From Cat Memes to Politics, BuzzFeed is an Unstoppable Force

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 5, 2013 04:43 PM

BuzzFeed, arguably the king of viral content on the web is projecting 2014 revenue to be as high as $120 million, according to Ad Age, as it now ranks among the top news sites with traffic more than four times last year, reaching 130 million-plus unique visitors in November.

Started in 2006 by Huffington Post co-founder Jonah Peretti, BuzzFeed is the gold standard of headlines and cat memes in a world on digital overload. Peretti’s original intent was an engine for viral content chosen primarily by algorithms, but today, his company has amassed an impressive and well-credentialed editorial staff and is moving into creating original video. 

The record-setting spike in BuzzFeed’s November traffic is due in part to Facebook’s change in algorithm that brings more of its stories to user’s news feeds, but Twitter referral traffic has also surged with 180 percent growth in the past year. Buzzfeed’s YouTube channel reached 110 million views globally in November, and the site’s global unique user numbers are up 350 percent year-on-year.Continue reading...

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