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Its all really 360!

In an article in the Sunday Business Post on 22nd May there was a fairly belated rant about The Suns use of ‘technology’. The article maintained that the papers ‘new’ app for the ipad and iphone, which allows users to see their page three models in a 360 view was, well, disgusting (I paraphrase about seven paragraphs there).The article took issue with the app, the whole issue of page three, topless models in general, models and photo ops, the over use of models for ‘no justifiable editorial reason’ etc etc. I’m not going to open the debate of page three as it has been well aired in other platforms. Belated because the app was launched in November 2010.The 360 portion is only a small part of the papers iphone/ipad app as is page three in the print and online edition. It’s really a stretch to dedicate the whole article to the 360 portion. The article meandered on to criticism of news editors insisting that photo shoots have to use ‘models’ in order to make the grade and get printed. Naturally, TCH (Thomas Crosbie Holdings), the owebers of the Business Post are above all that nonsense and leave it to the tabloid…

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Scottish Herald outs Imogen Thomas Super Injunction

All things considered the footballer in question was quick (and wealthy) enough to wrap up a person and a paper, The Sun, in a super injunction in England, but wasn’t cleaver enough to extend that to their near neighbours, Scotland. I have a look at some articles and was unable to see if the injunction stretched to Wales, which would have been interesting.    So the Sunday Herald in Scotland decided to “publish and be dammed”. It’s a great coup for them and perfectly legal. The tactic is a bit like a monkey trap and something that our own Oscar Wilde got snared in. The only recourse the footballer has is to sue the paper for slander and thus expose himself (oh, a pun) to the full rigors of Scottish law, something completely different to English law. The super injunction in some respects is necessary if the topic is not of public interest. However its completely in the preserve of the wealthy. No Super injunctions have been granted to people on Legal aid!

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Affiliate Links

I looked at this before when I thought some publications were being a little disingenuous about their affiliate policies. But, I am glad to see, that our friends at News International are being completely up front about selling their traffic. In an article on High street fashion the say Want to know where your favourite stars’ frock is from? Fear not, every week we bring you the hottest celebrity looks from Britain’s High Street – and you can click through to buy them online straightaway. You can click on any of the images which will, via what looks like affiliate links, whisk you off to the different retailers. I’m actually all for print recycling their information on line and garnering as much loose change as they can for their work – even it the links are done retrospectively. We’re about to have a change in television programming there sensitive and venerable viewers will have to be informed if a product(s) have been commercially placed. Should the same apply here? Probably not, as it’s a bit too nanny state.

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Coupons and Loyalty Schemes

I read with interest that yet more of the print industry is moving into to coupon/loyalty/butter-voucher arena. There has been huge interest in the web side of this business and recently highlighted when Groupon turned down a €6bln takeover bid from Google. Google, spurned, but not completely defeated, has now decided that it will go it alone based on its current advertising technology. Outside the ‘web discount’ systems Associated Newspapers are launching a loyalty discount scheme for the Mail On Sunday. It’s based on readers purchasing loyalty. In the UK if readers subscribe to the Saturday Mail and Sunday Mail on Sunday together they get redeemable vouchers for a variety of companies like Tesco and Pizza Express . It, like the Poll Tax, is being “tested” in Scotland first and will roll out to the rest of the dominion at a later stage – once William Wallace has given it his imprimatur presumably. The paper already has culture and (more importantly) a system in place for subscriptions in England and Scotland so it’s probably easy to dove-tail the loyalty scheme into the current subscription process. There is no mention of Ireland in the reward scheme, but that’s possibly because they…

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€1 Irish Independent

For the last two Mondays, the Irish Independent has dropped its price from the normal €1.90 to €1, practically half price. It’s a fairly drastic move and one that it would have been loath to do in the past leaving to price weapon to the Tabloids. Financial Times €2.30 Irish Times €1.90 The Examiner €1.90 Daily Star €1.40 Daily Record €1.30 The Daily Telegraph €1.20 Daily Mail €1.00 Daily Mirror €1.00 The Guardian €1.00 The Independent €1.00 The Sun €1.00 Irish Independent €1.00 The Times €0.95 Daily Express €0.75 i €0.30 You can see for the table above that there are only three papers less expensive than them on a Monday. At the time of writhing, they had dropped their price for a second Monday to €1 One would have to wonder how many Mondays will they keep this up as the day should be a decent enough day for sales with all the sports coverage from the weekend. I also know that they maintained the retailers margin, based on the €1.90 price so the coffers will be pretty bare on Tuesday morning!

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Irish Newspaper Circulations April 2011

This April was littered with Bank holidays and then a Bank holiday in May (not covered). But it normally leads to disruption, which in turn leads to lower newspaper purchasing. But his year seems to have bucked that trend as the market is up just shy of two thousand copies. Granted, it’s the promotion happy Sunday market that made most of the gains. The month on month for the tabloids can nearly all be explained by a bumper (pun intended) Cheltenham in March, so they are simply returning to the status quo. There is no weekly breakdown of the figures which, in this month is a pity. With a big wedding across the pond – no that nobody was going to watch! Indeed that’s why RTE One viewership at 12:43 was 247, 8000 people. I’d love to see what bounce the papers got out of the Wedding and moreover, I’d like to see who go the biggest spike in relative terms – although I have my suspicions. The Sundays is where the swings were. Its seems not that the Mail On Sunday and the Sunday Times are at this point trading blows. One goes up the other down. The Mail…

Radio

JNLR 2010 July 09 to June 10

In order to digest this you’d have to take this in two chunks. The first part we will deal with the ‘national stations’ and later we will deal with the ‘local stations’. As with most research/analysis – the numbers normally speak for themselves, as they do in this case. The comparison in this case is with the previous year – the exact twelve months – July to June in each year. I struggle to understand why the likes of the BCI and BAI, when issuing these results, will draw their comparisons to  a different survey period – but anyway, these are like with like.  RTE1 still dominates the airwaves (we’ll dig some stuff up later!) although it’s listenership dipped slightly over the past 12 months. It’s sibling, 2FM seems to be loosing traction year on year all round and its share of listening has this survey dipped into single digits. The same could be said for Today FM whose reach is now 14% and share at 9%. Newstalk and Lyric are fairly static.   In the three years the listened to ‘any national’ has dropped from 50% to 48% of the population – a drop of  69,000. Some abandoning radio altogether…

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Robots.txt

Robots.txt: This is a small file that points and guides spiders as to what they can index and what they should keep away from. Read On…

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404 Pages

404’s: Where have you directed people to go to is the hit a broken link – or have you directed them anywhere? Read On…

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Sitemaps

Sitemaps: There should be two types of sitemap a sitemap for the human element and another for the spiders. Much overlooked, but very important. Read On…

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Keyword Analysis

Keyword Analysis We’ve looked at it here is some detail. Essentially it’s a root and branch analysis of the site looking at it from a keyword point of view. Read On…

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Page Title and Descriptions

Page Title and Descriptions:Page titles and descriptions in a lot of search results inform human visitors what the page they could potentially click on is actually about and are worth a big effort. Read On…

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Page Speed

Page Speed: This is a big issue currently and according to Google’s representative on earth, Matt Cutts, page speed will be one of 200+ factors used in calculating page rank. Read On…

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Site Structure

Site Structure: Similar to your URL structure you should try and make your site navigation as simple as possible. How easy is it to get from yourhome page to your checkout page? Have you tested it? Read On…

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URL Structure:

URL Structure: The URL’s on your site are important not only for the spider visitors, but also for humans. A URL that can be “read” is infinitely better than one that’s generated by a content management system without any instructions to alter that URL. Keywords in your URL may give you a bit of a boost in the search results. Read On…

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Search engine Ranking

Search engine Ranking: What is the current status of your site in the various search engines? Where does it rank (if at all). It’s a fairly straightforward exercise and just has to be run off against some of the chosen keywords for benchmarking purposes. Read On…

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Crawling and Indexing

Crawling and indexing: How many pages have been indexed and how many pages are there on the site. Is there a gap (there can be small gaps at times)? Is there a big difference between the indexed and actual pages and why? Read On…

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404 Pages

404 Pages appear when one of the pages from a search result (or otherwise) no longer exists on your site. The server normally throws a very basic ‘death notice’ at the screen and everything comes to a stop – and that includes the momentum for the search. To overcome this tragedy you really should make a custom 404 page or have a redirect. 404 Pages are important for two reasons. Spiders hate dead-ends and have to have something to guide them on their merry way, as do the human searchers, the letter being particularly fickle.   If a page is missing, for some reason, it’s tragic just to get a some standard system error and a sure fire way of having people suspend their search. Two ways to overcome this: Redirect any 404 errors to your home page. That’s a very simple (if a bit rough and ready) solution and can be done through your .htaccess file. But the drawback is that it could confuse the searcher as they are unaware as to why they have landed on this page when they specifically asked for another. The ‘correct’ way around that is to create a custom 404. It can be…

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Sitemaps

Sitemaps are there for the benefit of both our human and not so human visitor. For the Spiders they are a ‘pointer’ as to where to find pages on the site. It’s very likely that spiders will, through your internal linking find all the pages, but it’s better to cut down on the hit and miss and give the spiders a road map of where your pages are. Most CMS have plugins or widgets to help you draw up a sitemap. If they don’t there are plenty of places on the net what will do it for you automatically, like xml-sitemaps for example. You simply leave the resultant file on the root of your site and then nudge Google through Webmaster Tools that the map is available. There are plenty of reasons that this file is fairly important. Firstly it determines the canonical versions of your site, whether you’ve opted for www or non www. If you can, try and use a sitemap generator that supplies a ‘last modified’ stamp – the actual time/date that the pages were modified. If that’s in your sitemap, it indicates to Google the pages that should be given a priority as they have been…

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Page Speed

Page Speed has, of late, become particularly important. You can see this reflected in the many new applications that Google have released in the past year. Their page speed extension for Chrome and the larger part that page speed takes in its Webmaster Tools shows that it is putting greater weight on the speed element of web browsing. A further and by far more interesting application is in their latest edition to their analytics package where there is now a specific ‘page speed’ section in the software. It tracks the average time it takes to load a sample of your pages over time. You can then cross reference these against certain dimensions such as browser or geographic location to see it there are any marked differences. Then, as you try and lighten the page loads, this should be reflected in your analytics with the average dipping. There are days where the data may throw you, ever so slightly. The grab below show that one day, where one site spiked in page average, we found that the average was affected because of one “visit” where the page load time for that visit was 706 seconds or about 12 minutes! This wasn’t…