A blog for Website Managers ...
Who knew a simple comment tab implemented in 2013 would be a new way for pundits to accuse websites of bias? nytimes.com is stuffing the comments box under each article, their staff upvoting favorites different than what readers choose. They do this under the comment tabs called Readers’ Picks versus New York Times‘ Picks. The explanation offered at nytimes.com is vague: “NYT Picks are a selection of comments that represent a range of views and are judged the most interesting and thoughtful. In some cases, NYT Picks may be selected to highlight comments from a particular region, or readers with first-hand knowledge of an issue.”
But blogger doomvas at the Daily Kos made a subjective discovery, at least in regard to a Paul Krugman article where the NYT Picks were “all lengthy conservative spin product.” Other articles demonstrate that the NYT Picks leans entirely toward the left. Take for example a recent OpEd resulting in the top (government-is-the-solution) comment of Michael Hayman: “A political party representing the needs and aspirations of the masses of people is needed to make political change.” But the Readers chose Mary Ann & Ken Berman’s refute that Occupy Wall Street was a failure: “Actually, Occupy may have been responsible for the relatively modest tax increases on earned income and capital gains that were enacted at the end of 2012.”
This is a good example for how print pundits and website managers are adding nuanced ways for expressing opinions. By stuffing the box of their own articles, they can corral readers to where they think the discussion belongs. Looking at the comments on most any YouTube video, for instance, demonstrates the necessity for expurgation. The trend to editorialize comments can also be seen at The Guardian, where they’ve divided comments into Staff replies and Guardian picks, presumably for the explicit purpose to separate the bias into multiple parties.
Note that The Guardian also make a habit of removing comments entirely (i.e., This comment has been removed by a moderator), which begs the question whether any of the comments can be objective at all, given that a staff or Guardian member can delete those comments he or she finds against his or her sensibility.
An assistant college professor named Zeynep Tufekci published an OpEd in the New York Times with the theory that social media is as helpful for organizing protests as it is hurtful to them. Because her understanding of social media is more Snapchat than Reddit, she offers that the Occupy Wall Street rally and the Tahrir Square protests failed to keep our attention because they were not organized in a fashion similar to the good old days of paper pamphlets and phone calls. New media, in her view, does not build infrastructure for “sustaining momentum.”
In fact, building new types of media infrastructure to support social causes has taken on a new urgency in places like Turkey, where the citizens’ access to Twitter has been limited. Business Insider reports people are getting around the ban by using anonymous VPNs and working text messaging services. Any website manager will tell you how dramatically their clients’ causes have been burgeoned due to the construction of strategic media infrastructure that innovates their old newsletters and brochures. History has shown again and again that innovation in technology evolves the way we effect change within our institutions – we just can’t fully appreciate it at the time. Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1445, but it’s the pioneering of how this process was used that impacted all our social and religious institutions in the centuries following. Antonio Meucci should have been credited with inventing the telephone, but it was Alexander Graham Bell who is commonly credited with inventing the device that commoditized voice communications.
- In 1995 physics teacher Clifford Stoll famously wrote an article for Newsweek predicting the Internet would fail: “The truth is, no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher, and no computer network will change the way government works.”
- In 2007 media teacher Bruce Sterling was quoted in the New York Times:
“Using Twitter for literate communication is about as likely as firing up a CB radio and hearing some guy recite ‘The Iliad.’ ”
- In 1997, Gordon College trustee Ken Olsen was quoted during a 1977 World Future Society meeting in Boston:
“There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home.”
- In 1995, Robert Metcalfe, Professor at the University of Texas, published an article in InfoWorld with the following prediction:
“The Internet will soon go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse.”
New media like Twitter and Facebook, according to know-it-all academia, does not build infrastructure for “sustaining momentum.” Time will tell the story of their errors.
Website managers are missing out on free money by ignoring their infrequently used websites and domain names. Services like CashParking will pay you up to 80% of the advertising revenue on your parked domain names and websites, although the upfront cost for the GoDaddy.com program means you better be sitting on a good URL. A better option may be Amazon Associates, which allows you to manage links and banners on your website or parked URL, earning up to 10% on purchases made during a user’s shopping session. Amazon offers total control to the website manager, and Darren Rowse claims to have made $119,725.45 by using their tools.
Where past empires were built on print, radio and television advertising, Google continues to rake in billions by evolving the advertising paradigm on the Internet. For this reason all website managers should be actively leveraging Google Analytics for the purpose of their bottom line. A website manager who doesn’t use Google Analytics is like a teenager without an iPhone.
If modern algorithmic marketing strategies seem overkill for what you want to do, just consider the way traditional advertisers spend money. Pick up a newspaper and it’s obvious what advertisements go where. Calculated guesswork for placing your own advertisements on a website are the same. For instance, segmenting a blog by categories of advertisements can align nicely with your own posting categories.
Don’t over complicate the advertising process. It starts as simple as placing your first banner and watching the statistics make you money or not. With success comes learning and before you know it, you’ll need algorithms to keep track of all the clicks.