Another Publisher Backs Away from Ads

Spirited Media has decided to downplay site-direct ads in favor of events, consulting and other membership programs. I think this is smart, in the long run.

Part of the reason we needed that longer runway was that success in display advertising in early 2017 led us to plan for revenue goals we didn’t achieve. We had other challenges, too — we’ve never spent money on marketing, and relied on all-organic traffic, which left us subject to the whims of algorithms that determine how often our articles get seen. So our sales staff wasn’t given the best conditions to operate in, and, all things considered, did pretty well. But it became clear to us that chasing advertising dollars — which has never been our primary revenue source — wasn’t producing a very good ROI for us.

Its gotta be enormously difficult to compete against FB, Google, Amazon and some of the ad exchanges to get on media plans. But, in the long run, great brands are, essentially, community builders, especially media brands.

A Couple Resources for ID on Blockchain Apps

The more i’ve learned about blockchain-based apps, the more i’m curious how ID will be managed across apps, platforms, and technologies (e.g Etherium, Corda, etc. ). One of the key design decisions of blockchain approach is that ID doesn’t really matter. Anonymity was the design intent. But, as the concept gets applied beyond currency/assets, ID will have to get figured out. Worst case, we end up with a bunch of accounts across new centralized platforms (e.g. Coinbase et. al). But, i have to believe we’ll have a platform that will enable us to manage our various identities in one place , something like Civic but one that will enable me to manage my various  online identities:  a public, professional, private, friends, financial, creative, hobby, etc.

Here’s a list of  some places to start:

I’m sure there a tons more, let me know which i should look at.

How Four Agency Holding Companies Are Upping Their Consulting Skills | AdExchanger

Decent overview/update on how agencies are trying to become consultancies and consultancies are trying to become agencies. Brands just want to grow.

Note: Notice the snark in the analysis of Publicis’ own challenges integrating Sapient. A little of the shoemaker’s children, i guess.

Source: How Four Agency Holding Companies Are Upping Their Consulting Skills | AdExchanger

This Guy Has Mapped Music, and Now He Wants to Map Your Mind 

An article from 2014, but new to me. At one point in my life, this would have been a dream job: Cataloging and organizing all the genres of music. I bet it would be great to have a beer with Glen.


Most of these are just functional; like “traditional rockabilly”, or “atmospheric black metal”. There are a handful of more creative ones I just made up; my favourites include “fallen angel” and “laboratorio”. I try to only do this when there are no good existing options. But hey, somebody has to name these things.

Now, you can see all the genres mapped out, visually, at Every Noise at Once. So cool! (via

The Many Shades Of In-Housing 

If you’re spending over a million dollars a year on digital media, you should probably bring at least some of your team in-house. This article gives a nice overview of a couple different levels of in-sourcing.

There are differing reasons why brands think in-housing may be for them. These include a lack of transparency, an interest in understanding more about digital and programmatic, desired cost savings and protection of sensitive or competitive information, among others.

Source: The Many Shades Of In-Housing | AdExchanger

What We Talk About When We Talk About Nagging

I’ve seen this article posted by 3 different people i really respect (all women) today. It’s clearly striking a chord and it’s clearly meaningful and important to those who posted it.

I’ve read it through a couple times and while i am not saying i fully get all the nuances, here’s what i’d offer up as a response.

A) Try reading this again as though you were her partner. Would you not feel completely humiliated if this article were about you? Who would do that to their partner? Perhaps it’s because i’m a guy, but i can’t help feeling sorry for the partner here because there are clearly unspoken expectations that he’s being held to and measured against, expectations that he may not even care about or feel are important but become important because his partner cares about them. The gist is: Why can’t my partner care as *much* about the same things that i care about with the same intensity that i care about them

B) i think she picked a familiar, but gender-loaded example to make her point (housework) and i don’t think that example helps her make her case very well because there’s so much personal preference built into that one. (sidenote: when someone asks for a gift, but then puts some specific boundaries and expectations around it, is it still a gift?  Or,  does it become a task or a job at that point. )

C) As a former academic, i understand the desire to give something more meaning by giving it a new name (by calling it “emotional labor”), but i think the term “emotional labor” is a red herring. Worse, it’s an abstraction where the family should be talking about something real and critical: emotions, desires, hopes, expectations. Being an adult human in a relationship is hard (labor) and it’s emotional because of all the emotions, but i find the term confusing and not useful. Talking about “emotional labor” is good when you’re writing a paper, it’s annoying when you’re trying to get your loved one to understand what you really want

D) The point about the kids seeing a balanced relationship is really important.

E) I wonder if she’s unknowingly sustaining the engendered expectations she’s upset about: “When I brush my daughter’s hair and elaborately braid it round the side of her scalp, I am doing the thing that is expected of me. ” By whom? Who’s setting that expectation? Is it real? Or, is it what the author imagines is expected to be a good parent?

I’m going to read it again. But i think this boils down to something really simple: Please have empathy for what i care about and why i care about. Please respect my feelings. Please be appreciative of what i’m doing for you, for us. In other words, please be a good, loving grateful partner.

This is why we can’t have nice things: Showtime caught mining crypto-coins in viewers’ web browsers 

The JavaScript, which appeared on the sites at the start of the weekend and vanished by Monday, sits between between HTML comment tags that appear to be an insert from web analytics biz New Relic. Again, it is unlikely that an analytics company would deliberately stash coin-mining scripts onto its customers’ pages, so the code must have come from another source – or was injected by miscreants who had compromised Showtime’s systems.

Source: CBS’s Showtime caught mining crypto-coins in viewers’ web browsers • The Register

Token Sales Have Gotten Real Faster than I Thought

Token sales are happening every week now, it seems. I knew they were going to be important, just not this fast. I think we’re still in the first wave where there’s a mix of true believers, legitimate programs and a bit of scamminess.

When TechCrunch runs an article explaining how to do your ICO, you know there’s edging closer to the middle of the early adopters.


Further, token sales are not a funding vehicle. While many companies treat them as such — and crow over multi-million-dollar raises that explode in minutes — what they are really doing is floating a cryptocurrency on the open market. With a lot of planning and a lot of luck, these cryptocurrencies can rise in value and, if the token sale is structured correctly, this gives companies a little bit more funding than they had before they started. Without planning, you get a mess.

Source: How to run a token sale | TechCrunch