Thursday, October 30, 2008

EconWomen Conference - Part 2

So I'm groovin' to the funky latin beat of Los Hombres Calientes, Vol. 2 in the background (music to blog by) and ready to keep yaking about yesterday's EconWomen Conference. Where did I leave off? Oh right. Wenda Harris Millard. Co-CEO of Martha Stewart. She had a lot to say about ad networks (similar to Adsense, ad networks allow publishers to make money by placing ads on their sites). The internet, she explained, is a brand medium, and there is concern on the part of brands with being associated with lower quality sites, or ones that don't fit well with their image, so they will have a preference over branded sites. Because the environment in which the ads appear is very important to advertisers, sites that are able to brand themselves will do well. But she warns you can't rest on your laurels - execution is everyting and publishers have to continue to deliver quality content. She told us about how big-name brand marketers like Dove (Unilever) are embracing the internet while others (Proctor & Gamble) are still sitting on the sidelines, experimenting. "You can't experiment anymore, especially since the forecast is for advertising online to match that of consumer magazines by 2010, and quickly surpass it from there," adds Wenda.

We heard more on the subject at the next panel, "Advertising, Ad Networks and Other Revenue Opportunties". Lisa Stone, CEO of BlogHer (that's her next to yours truly), shared how her company started out as a conference and has now become a full fledged organization that offers an ad network to its members but maintain high standards. "We have advertising guidelines that forbid pay-per-post and we request that bloggers bring in the best content for women", she says. As Lisa puts it, their members didn't want to write for magazines or newspapers, they wanted to write for themselves (here's to blogger's independence!), and BlogHer is providing a way for them to monetize their work. She sees a very positive future for ad networks.

Up next it was two media powerhouses: Cathie Black, Pres., Hearst Magazines, being interviewed by Tina Brown, back at work with the launch of her new Daily Beast. Tina Brown made a catty remark about being in magazine publishing in this environment (meow...I guess she learned her lesson...), which was blogged about in this piece on

The highlight of the panel that followed, which was on M&A and venture capital activity, was seeing Andrew Shue in the flesh, cute as ever. Yeah, that Andrew Shue. From Melrose Place. Elizabeth's brother. He is co-founder of CafeMom, an online community for mommies, although apparently he hasn't left Hollywood altogether. When he introduced himself he said he was formerly with D&D Advertising, and the whole room chuckled. I had to ask one of my table mates what he meant, and she quickly clarified that was the fictional company he worked for in the series (ok, he's cute and has a sense of humor).

The other big thrill was listening to blogger extraordinaire Heather Armstrong tell her story. She started her blog Dooce when she was single, thinking that only a handful of friends (and, as she puts it, a few guys she slept with) would read it. She would complain about her job and call her boss names, for which she subsequently got fired. Heather later got married and had a baby, so her posts became about the isolation that new moms go through and her own struggles with post partum depression. The beauty of it was that new mommies all over the country were sharing her same angst and, through her, found a voice for what they were feeling. Page views went through the roof, to the point where Dooce now supports her whole family. Her experience really inspired me to keep writing, and more often. Hope it does for you too. Blog on!

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

EconWomen Conference, New York

It's 1:30pm and I haven't had lunch so I'm trying to make a healthy choice from the sumptuous array of sweets at the EconWomen Conference, where a who's who of women in media are converging for an afternoon of kick-ass panels. I opt for the fruits and nuts but also sneak in a few of the checkered shortbread cookies, and settle in my seat.

Wenda Harris Millard, Co-Ceo of Martha Stewart Omnimedia, kicked things off on a humorous note. In his opening comments her interviewer mentioned that MSO had recently reported earnings and that they had been flat, but she quickly pointed out to him that "flat is the new up." Love it.

Wenda then went on to say that the internet is a medium made for women. "Technology has given women a new voice, and they're screaming," she says. The media veteran believes there is an appetite for intelligent, integrated marketing, and that is the direction she's taking MSO.

"Women are seeking the comfort of home, and we're all about how to have a beautiful life every day, so we're well positioned to capture this trend", she adds. Yesterday they announced they invested in a company called Pingg, which makes online invitations, and they're adding their "secret sauce" to it (watch out Evite). They did this because they found out their readers throw an average of 17 parties a year (who'd of thought that the dainty handicrafters were such party animals?). So now they can plan them on Martha's site. And they're not stopping there. Wenda says their big franchises are food, weddings, and holiday celebrations, so they're looking to invest in other properties in those areas (and she's open to suggestions). It's nice to have money.

It's past midnight so I'm going to bed now but I'll continue blogging about some more very useful insights I got at this event tomorrow. Stay tuned for stories on Andrew Shue (who was one of the hotties on Melrose Place and is now a web entrepreneur), Tina Brown (formerly of Vanity Fair and Talk Magazine), Joni Evans of, Lisa Stone, CEO of BlogHer plus many others. Good night all!

Monday, October 13, 2008

My Favorite Web 2.0 Video Channels

I recently had the opportunity to speak to Shoba Purushothaman, the CEO of The NewsMarket, a site makes video press releases available to news organizations as well as bloggers to download for free. So say you're writing a post about Chrome, the new Google browser. To give your story a little more depth you could add the video press release to your piece for your readers to click on. This makes it very easy for bloggers to add professionally produced content to their posts. "New technologies are allowing publishers to get more sophisticated with their content, and there is greater consumer appetite for video," says Shoba. "We're in the business of matching content creators and content consumers", she adds, and to that end they've created a section called the Video Cafe specifically tailored to bloggers. She points out that tech, auto and social causes are their most popular buckets.

After speaking to her I was curious to see what other outlets provided high quality video clips. Whether you want to stay up to date on the latest web 2.0 video tutorials, or you want to add them to your posts to enhance your story and make it more professional, I found an number of sources, which I've listed below. By copying and pasting their html code you can embed the videos on unto your post so your readers don't have to navigate away from you. Here's a little roundup of my favorite web 2.0 channels:

YouTube is of course the end all and be all for video but it can be cumbersome to sort through it all, so I've selected some channels I like:

The Google channel has the latest downloads on, what else, Google products & how-to's.

Check this one on how to use Google's super cool:

The CommonCraft channel has the most clear and easy-to-understand tutorials I've seen on the web. Here's one on Twitter in Plain English:

If you're writing about breaking news, YouTube's Associated Press channel has videos on an eclectic mix of topics, including tips on buying stocks (it'll soon be time for some quality bottom fishing, if you have the stomach for it...). The bad news is they're all jumbled up together and there's no categories, but you can search or choose from the 'most viewed' and 'the most discussed'.

Outside of YouTube there's the's Video Library. Here's one snippet on Why Search Engine Spiders are Important offers a diverse library of videos from their annual conference, which brings together some of the world's most interesting people including Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Jane Goodall, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, etc. Here's a clip on how Jimmy Wales created Wikipedia, one of the most referenced, most highly trafficked sites on the web:

Expert Village has an Internet channel with some useful how-to's. There were a slew of Facebook tutorials on the welcome page, and the one I looked at was well edited and to the point.

Where do you go for quality online video? Please share!

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