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The "Free" Market

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  • The "Free" Market

    we've been in a predominantly monopoly-oligopoly political economy for over a century . . .

    the media is no exception . . .

  • #2
    Re: The "Free" Market

    Marvelous. The last time I saw a chart like this was one depicting the entire metabolic paths and cycles of a living cell (Boehringer-Mannheim).

    Any chance that a wall-chart sized copy could be available?


    • #3
      Re: The "Free" Market

      The web was a HUGE counter-trend on the media front. If you went back about 4 or 5 years ago there were boatloads of successful independent blogs, but in many verticals a lot of those have in time shut down.

      As the pool of independent bloggers shrank, that had numerous knock on effects
      • blogs that would cross promote one another no longer did as much
      • the ability of blogs to have as much of an outsized impact on the web's link graph diminished
      • people have shifted from subscribing to blog RSS feeds to following people on social media networks like Twitter & Facebook & YouTube (and most social media networks allow advertisers to target fans of competing businesses as a segmentable you not only have to pay to build the audience and promote that site, but then you have to keep paying to offset churn & try to block out some competing businesses poaching your followers)
      • Google shut down their RSS readers Google Reader & iGoogle, to try to shift user behavior over to using Google+

      A couple other factors that have diminished the reach of many independent sites would be...
      • Google adjusting their relevancy algorithms toward placing greater weight on usage data. Due to cumulative advantage & domain bias that ultimately means that big sites rank easier across a far broader set of keywords, whereas smaller sites need to be more aggressive to try to rank against what are sometimes millions of auto-generated pages on larger sites. This winner take most/all distribution issue was a "problem" that Google wrote a research paper on *before* they threw fuel on the fire by shifting their algos toward promoting large media entities. They also researched the tie in between ad budget and & brand searches. If/when they buy MediaOcean & taste/manage a large chunk of TV ad spend, I suspect that will only grow.
      • The shift of some user behavior to mobile devices is for most people an extension of their most common desktop habits. eBay & Amazon can sell a ton via their mobile apps, but smaller independent retailers not so much.
      • The search interface is increasingly becoming ad dominated (generally, but then the small screen size on mobile devices further accelerates this). In Google's most recent quarter they reported over 20% growth in search revenues, while their display/content ad network had a 0.3% growth.
      • Another beat down on the smaller sites is that now that they need to be more aggressive to compete on those keywords, they are much likely to get smoked by an algorithm that filters out aggressive link anchor text and/or a manual penalty.
      • One final beat down for smaller players is something called keyword (not provided), where for most search Google no longer passes referral information. For over a decade search engines would pass referral information, so that as a publisher you could see what keywords drove people to what pages on your website. That way you could improve the page experience if it was ranking for slightly off topic stuff and/or create new tighter pages that target / better serve those keywords. To "protect user privacy" Google now blocks keyword referral data on organic listings, however on the paid ads that "need for user privacy" apparently goes right out the window & the ads still get the keyword referral data.

      Of course online still does offer greater media diversity than offline due to the ability to eventually hunt out and find niche sites like iTulip, but the shifts toward size = quality in the relevancy metrics are less than ideal, especially as a lot of the broader social sites that people participate on also have those same cumulative advantage issues, where they largely are an echo of the mainstream press.