Geisenblog’s Next Step
February 27, 2009, 7:18 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

The four people who come here every few months know that the mission to “write regularly” that I’ve started multiple times hasn’t worked out.  Based on my track record I should just let this space gradually collect dust and find new diversions, but I’m stubborn.  Spurred on by some itch that I can’t seem to scratch, I want to/need to get this thing going (again-ish).

While this desire has been stewing for a bit, I was also inspired by this post.  I find the “blog as your resume” idea appealing (probably because this shows up on the first Google SERP of “tim geisenheimer”) and I want to get the ideas/comments/speculative thoughts that (very) occassionally kick around in my head out into the wild.  I also think that the only way I’m going to write regularly is if I have a more concrete idea of what I want to write about AND if I actually have some practical knowledge about the subject.

To that end, and to take David’s advice, I’m changing the scope of the Geisenblog to be more focused.  I’m going to write exclusively about digital media and technology based primarily on my experience working in online advertising sales for a web site that covers technology.  I’ll leave everything else to Tumblr and Twitter.  

I know it’s going to be hard.  The digital media/technology commentary space is crowded and I’m going to have trouble being truly “provocative” based on the nature of my job.   I’m a gadget lover, but by no means technically minded.  My approach will therefore be more inquisitive than authoritative, but I think there’s something to be said for that.

From a content standpoint, I’ll comment on trends and discuss projects we’re doing here at CBS Interactive that are relevant.  I’ll also use this platform to do what so many others have done before and break down my experience with personal online publishing.  It’ll be a sort of inverted approach because I’ve learned a lot about professional ad-serving platforms, user behavior, display advertising metrics, e-commerce, etc… at my time here at CBS Interactive, but I’ve never approached these issues from a small publisher perspective.  I’m looking forward to learning as I go.

So here’s to not writing a post full of resolve and enthusiasm just to lose interest after two weeks and instead consistently putting out some (hopefully) high-quality content.  I welcome any advice or ideas you might have.  Thanks for reading.


Adventures in Contextual Relevance

(click to enlarge)

Most people, when confronted with an example of amazingly inappropriate contextual relevance such as this, believe that there is some higher level stupidity at work.  Certain industry blogs frequently latch onto examples of this sort of thing as an indication of poor marketing acumen.  What most people, including the ad bloggers, don’t understand is that this sort of thing is unintentional.  Online advertisers don’t purchase placements next to specific articles as there’s really no way to effectively do this.  This is because online publishers frequently have no “editorial calendar” primarily due to the frenetic pace of digital media. (When you can publish instantaneously rather than on a weekly or monthly basis, who has the incentive to plan ahead?)

Advertisers who run campaigns on large online publications are generally offered rotations around specific types of content.  I’m guessing, since this article was featured in the “Tech” section of Forbes, that Verizon has purchased media that runs within articles that fall into that category.  While it’s unfortunate/hilarious that they happen to have multiple ads next to an article advising people to avoid their services, it’s highly likely that a majority of their ads are featured next to precisely the sort of business technology pieces that attracted them to Forbes in the first place.  I don’t read Forbes frequently, but I’d be surprised to learn that they populate their tech section with a massive amount of content panning the wireless industry.  Considering this, I think it’s fair to say that a very low proportion of Verizon’s campaign impressions will run on this type of content.   To draw a sports analogy/cliche: I’d liken this scenario to when an offensive guard in the NFL is noticed only when he draws a penalty, as opposed to the other 95% of plays where he’s unheralded yet effective.

So while this sort of contextual miscue is certainly amusing, it’s unfair to say that Verizon or Forbes is at fault when this sort of thing happens.  Unlike in traditional print publishing, where ad sales people can anticipate which articles (and ads) will go where and avoid situations like this, the pace of online publishing simply doesn’t offer this luxury.  Something tells me that this line of reasoning would fall on deaf ears to folks in Verizon’s marketing department.

CBS Acquires CNET
May 20, 2008, 5:26 pm
Filed under: CNET, online advertising | Tags: , ,

This past Thursday, when the news dropped, there was a strange sentiment here in NY. I’m sure the same was true for CNET HQ in SF. It’s hard to put a finger on it, but I think the best way to describe it would be that there was a sense of “nervous anticipation” throughout office. CNET’ers are excited to see what the future holds, but there’s also a bit of trepidation which I suppose is to be expected.

Overall, I think this is a positive move for both sides. CBS just bought itself an internet media company (where it previously had some successful, but dissociated components) and CNET’s shareholders made out pretty well. There was some grumbling from expected sources, but I haven’t seen anyone make a compelling case for why this was a bad move for CBS (or CNET).

Of course on a purely personal level, I’m very interested to see how this shakes out. More to come…

I Want A Stock Trading Robot
April 9, 2008, 9:35 am
Filed under: in brief, online advertising | Tags: , , ,

iBankCoin, this guy’s new soapbox, is a site about trading that is one of the funnier reads I encounter on a daily basis.  The above ad campaign is plastered throughout the site and I must say, this ad presents an extremely tempting proposition.

Michael Arrington Has No Idea How CNET Makes Money
April 7, 2008, 6:30 pm
Filed under: CNET, online advertising | Tags: , , ,

James Nicholson has an article up on Seeking Alpha offering his take on Michael Arrington’s “blogger dream team” post. His focus is on CNET Networks and Arrington’s claim that a “dream team” of tech bloggers could take the company apart in a year by putting out superior content. Nicholson is a little late responding to Arrington’s diatribe, but he does a great job explaining how Arrington has no real conception of how CNET actually generates revenue:

What drives CNET’s profits is its technology product reviews and the product search engine. This is an area that CNET still dominates and it would be largely unaffected by competition from a tech news blog network. In recent years CNET’s reviews have been behind the curve in evaluating new technology products, mainly because the company has been spread thin going into a variety of areas, many of which have had significantly lower margins than its review/shopping core. CNET’s biggest blog competition is not from TechCrunch, but from Engadget and Gizmodo – these are the blogs breaking the tech product news that CNET should be breaking.

Nicholson also feels that CNET would be best served by selling to Arrington’s newly constituted crew of superstar tech bloggers and focus instead on putting out as many electronics reviews as possible. I think he may have a good point, but I’m not sure is as dead as Arrington et al will have you believe. Let’s wait and see what Dan Farber brings to the table as EIC.

photo courtesy of jdlasica

March 28, 2008, 5:23 pm
Filed under: CNET, online advertising | Tags: , , ,

So some shit went down with my employer this week.  I’d rather not comment on it extensively, but I will say that it’s been food for thought over the last few days.  Lives have been disrupted.   A few close friends now have to figure out what they’re all about.  This is all part of the game though, and the folks who were affected realize that.  I will also add that this represents interesting times for CNET.  The next few months will likely see many more changes and I’m looking forward to experiencing it all first hand…

Facebook’s Worst Nightmare
November 13, 2007, 8:26 am
Filed under: in brief, online advertising | Tags: , ,

Facebook, why are you so demanding…? No information on my profile means no data for your little advertising endeavor. I suppose that explains the handy, insistent reminder that occupies the space normally devoted to music, movies, and other data points advertisers covet.