Boston Globe Drag on NYT Performance

The WSJ reports that the Boston Globe has really pulled down the financials at the NYT.  BG ad revenue is off 10.4% for Q2 and 7.8% for Q1 – with August showing a 15.7% drop against last year.

In a conference call with investors in June, New York Times Co. Chief Financial Officer Len Forman said that turning around the Boston Globe would be a long-term project “because they’ve had a marketplace that basically has just turned so far south. Cutting costs won’t do it, and you’ll just cut to the bone.”

Fill in your prognostication of doom and gloom here.  For me, I expect it will be akin to an amputation of a leg…most probably the middle one. 

Disclosure: I’ve never worked for the Globe or NYT, but at one time did write for the Worcester Telegram, which has since become a NYT property.

Web Metrics – BusinessWeek Misses the Point

Another great bit from

BusinessWeek’s article “Web Numbers – What’s Real?” provokes an interesting discussion.  Again we’re asking what is a true measure of web readership.  They make several good points, particularly about things like AJAX, which wreck the model for traditional analytics.  But they really head down the drain when they get into talking about analytics apps, then make the following statement:

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Edelman Blogs Up a Storm

Read the article on

As I wrote the other day in my post “Rob O’Regan and Fake Blogging Across America” Edelman PR has gotten themselves into a “spot of trouble” over fake blogs they’ve been using to promote Walmart.  It turns out, there are more fake Walmart blogs that they’ve sponsored:

One blog appears on the home page of Working Families for Wal-Mart, the allegedly grassroots advocacy group formed by Edelman last December, which is “committed to fostering open and honest dialogue…that conveys the positive contributions of Wal-Mart to working families.” The second blog is on WFWM’s subsidiary site Paid Critics.

The Paid Critics blog is devoted to “exposing” links between unions and other vested interests that are “smearing Wal-Mart” through the media. Until yesterday, blog entries on both WFWM and Paid Critics were uncredited. Thursday, bylines were added to blog posts “in response to comments and emails.”

While blogging for business is a great tool to get traffic to your site, while building the brand, there’s a thin line.  Once crossed, you can really hurt your self.  In this case, they’ve managed to prove the “big brother” prognostications of the anti-Walmart mob, which is exactly the sort of thing they were trying to counter.  Good work guys – you couldn’t have done better if you’d been found with a Nixonian enemies list and a smoking gun.

Domain Squatters Targetting Children

David Churbuck had a great post about domain squatters today, which is definitely a must read…he calls it the “bottom of the online marketing barrel.”

It’s a bigger issue…if you have children.

I sat last weekend next to my daughters, 7 & 8, as they surfed.  At that age, spelling isn’t exactly a strong point.  As they moved around the heavily branded sites they like, such as (Post Cereal),,,, they often mispelled the url.  Each time I had to interject “STOP”…

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IE 7 – Many sites will require minor rework

I’ve been doing some screenshotting of sites and I’ve found most sites that use CSS (like all Vario sites) will require a review prior to the final release of IE 7 later this month.  We will begin immediately screenshotting pages for our sites and contacting customers as to whether or not they require changes. The good news is that the changes required to accomodate this new browser from Microsoft are generally minor and can be accomplished quickly.

Our general policy will be that sites launched after July 1, 2006 will be fixed as a part of normal site maintenance at our expense.  Fixes required for older sites will be quoted on an as needed basis.  It would be a good time to have a look now and let us know if you have other work you would like done on your site, so that we can do it at the same time.

If you’d like to see what your site will look like in IE 7 or any other browser, you can go to and create screenshots over the web. is now live – if you’re a small business owner, or you do business with small businesses, you should take a look.

The premise of the site is to provide a network of businesses in Central Massachusetts who can help small business owners make their businesses a success.  Marketing, commercial construction, accounting/finance are just a few of the area which are covered by the site, and in the coming weeks we’ll have many more professionals join us.

In addition to information about the businesses, we’ve put in a blog which will offer information of interest to small business owneres, and an “Ask Us” feature that will allow readers to informally ask questions that will be answered on the blog.  It’s a great way for us to share our expertise, as well as to demonstrate our benefit to the small business community.  You can check the site out at

Rob O’Regan and Fake Blogging Across America

Fake Blogging Across America

Rob O’Regan, former Editor in Chief of CMO Magazine (which had it’s plug pulled in January) posted to his (brand new) blog Magnosticism this week about a couple who have blogged their way across the country in an RV staying at Walmart parking lots (which is one of the little quirks of Walmart, RV’s are welcome over night).  The rub is, they were sponsored by Edelman, the “global PR firm” at the behest of Walmart itself. 

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Your Email Signature as a Marketing Message

If you contact your customers via email extensively like I do, you should really think about how you set up your email signature.  Personally, email is one of my primary means of contact, so it’s the one thing that most of my customers will see during the course of our business.  And looking at what I’m sending, it’s honestly pretty weak.

The trick here is that it’s a fine line between including a little marketing message and being preceived as spamming them with a gigantic image laden signature. In the past I’ve included messages about things like User Group Meetings, Trade Shows, or new website offerings.  These are generally simple calls to action presented in a one line format with both colored and bold text.

John Smith
Vario Creative – Innovation, intelligence, and inspiration through creative marketing and design
Join us for our webinar “10 Effective Web Strategies”

Simple, and it gets the point across. You’ll be putting your message across in front of the people who need to see it, your customers. Give it a try, you’ll find it gets results – and the price is right – $0.