This week, newspapers employ a variety of strategies, from independent funding to niche topics to SEO to help them stay alive. And Google acquires AdMob.
Following the trend of some big names in the news industry, Topix has gone local, releasing a community conduit. The browser add-on is designed to deliver personalized news in a user’s browser.
Known for aggregating news from thousands of sources and creating “topically-driven” news web pages for a variety of topics from sports to celebrities to local news, the Topix conduit allows its users to read news from any city or zip code in the U.S., view and write comments, and interact with other readers, from anywhere on the web directly from their browser.
Thanks to Conduit, whose network has more than 200,000 web publishers and 60 million users, Topix can extend its reach to its own members and beyond.
Funding a New Newspaper Model
The New York Times wrote recently about the Texas Tribune, whose new model for covering news has begun to set it apart from other news websites. The Tribune is a nonprofit that uses a slew of resources from donations and sponsorships to conference revenue in an effort to create a sustainable model for journalism that doesn’t depend or require print.
So far, the Tribune has raised US$ 3.7 million, including millions from a few venture capitalists, foundations and individuals.
The site is focused primarily on education financing, lobbying, bureaucratic priorities, civics and state government and seeks to provide exclusive stories about state and local government. Time will tell if such a niche site can attract attention (and readers).
SEO Will Save Local Newspapers
While independent funding may give new life to newspapers, some people think that SEO is the new savior.
The theory is that many newspaper websites are poorly designed and cannot achieve high levels of optimization. Of course the bigger name sites are savvy enough to attract attention via search engines, but small, local papers are not.
The solution: optimizing headlines to better appeal to an online audience, and ensuring that the headlines are displayed in the correct place on a given story page. As well, newspapers should also use up-to-date sitemaps to help Google and other search engines effectively crawl pages on their websites.
Google Acquires AdMob
AdMob, considered one of the largest U.S. mobile ad networks, especially in terms of number of ad requests, has been acquired by Google for US$ 750 million in stock. Some say that the acquisition lends credibility to the struggling mobile advertising space. Google’s VP of Product Management Susan Wojcicki writes:
Despite the tremendous growth in mobile usage and the substantial investment by many businesses in the space, the mobile web is still in its early stages. We believe that great mobile advertising products can encourage even more growth in the mobile ecosystem. That’s what has us excited about this deal.
Salon Gets New Look, Advertising Model
Salon.com, a news and culture website, demonstrates what's required for publishers to be successful online today. They have just launched a complete redesign of their website that mixes traditional journalism with a commitment to audience participation and engagement.
Along with indepth topic pages, new lifestyle topics and the mixing of popular blogger posts from their Open Salon blogging community with regular coverage, Salon will also offer their own eCommerce site selling items that are "hand-selected by “curators” looking to pique the tastes and interests of Salon readers."
Advertisers are not left out of the mix here, with Salon offering new ways to reach target audiences including new floating ads, vertical sections, conversational marketing in Open Salon and more.