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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Lisa Stone said...

Caterina, great to meet you! I really appreciate your wrap-up on EconWomen.

You're right: I am bullish on the publishing prospects of quality content by and for women, even in a bear market. Advertisers are actively looking for rich environments in which to join conversation with women online, and even in recessionary times, many women are looking for new experiences, discounts, samples and value. And the key differentiator for BlogHer is that we are a community of women who decided to form a publishing co-op together, not a group of disaggregated sites in an ad network.

Anonymous said...

Hi Carmina,

Just wanted to say that I've started reading your blog. I'm wondering if you have heard about the book, "What Men Don't Tell Women About Business". I heard the guy (Chris Flett) on the Today Show and thought you probably have already heard of him. I'm wondering what your thoughts were. He seems to be really taking on the 'Old Boys Club". I just emailed him, but haven't heard back.

Anyway, keep up the great writing.



Anonymous said...

Hi Carmina,

I've been doing some additional research on the author, Chris Flett, that I talked about on my last comment. His company is "GhostCEO" ( and his book is a bestseller. I found it on Amazon here. Anyway, he was in the NY Times last Sunday under the "Career Couch" and he makes reference to women's blogs like yours so I thought you might like to connect. I'd like to see you interview him and see what he's all about. I saw on another blog he was a guest blogger. His email is:

Best wishes,


Romana Mirza said...

Hi Carmina, I've nominated you for the Kreativ Blogger Award, you share so much with us, thank you!