MediaPost/Nielsen on the Death of PageView Metrics

Max Kalehoff, vice president of marketing for Nielsen BuzzMetrics, has a piece up on MediaPost predicting that 2007 will *not* be the year that PageView dies as a valid metric for web advertising.  As the title notes, he sees weakening, but doesn’t it to totally go away.

The shortcomings, flaws and growing irrelevance of the page view are undeniable, but will the page view die as quickly as so many predict or hope? To the detriment of the online publishing industry’s advancement, my prediction is the metric will fade, or evolve, pretty slowly. I agree with Dan Melvin, who commented on Fred Wilson’s blog post on the topic: “[O]nline media metrics are only the tail, and they don’t wag the dog anymore. The dog is advertising revenue, and that will drive what metrics are used. But the reality is that decision-making on where to buy online ad space doesn’t change very quickly, so I’m not convinced that metrics will change quickly either, even though they should in a perfect world. PVs and UVs will likely still be used just because they provide comparability. Even if they become less accurate proxies to what ad buyers really want to know, they might persist just because there are no better universally used proxies. Hopefully better metrics will become universally used but I think it will take a long time.”

Barring any relevant replacement, he’s right.  Even though we’re all aware our data is flawed, until we get a different data model, we’re gonna dance with the girl we came with.

The problem is that deep down, we know we can’t rely on the stats.  I’ve said for a long time, where possible we’ve got to tie our campaigns to real world events, such as purchases, lead generation and that’s got to be done by proper promocoding, and dogged attention to analyzing where the real dollars are coming from.  CPM, CPC, etc. are no good for anything other than affinity purchases – and affinity marketing, where one is essentially providing a public service for the good will of the niche market, is best accomplished in a more transparent medium, such as outright sponsorship of an industry forum, etc.  I’ve just completed a major affinity marketing site (it’s a closed subscription model, only open to vetted niche members, so I won’t bother linking it here) where I integrated vBulletin Instant Community software throughout the site for security/subscription management – very cool stuff. 

So remember, measure the end goal and take every other bit of metrics you get with a grain of salt.

New Home Computer – PITA

I gave the girls a new computer for xmas. It’s a fairly simple machine, duo core Emachine, with plenty of memory, disk, etc.

There are two things that have really got me annoyed though.  Looking at the list of processes that are running by default on the machine, I have got to wonder why anyone even bothers with a launch Icon anymore.  Everything appears to be preloading into memory, at the expense of everything else.  For example, I’ve quicktime task manager loading, as well as a ton of AOL processes, none of which I use.  MS Office is loading some stuff as well, but the kicker is that I haven’t even loaded MS Office.  Simply amazing.

The reason a lot of this junk is loading is simple, they want the application to look like it’s loading fast.  So preload lots of the basic functions, hence it will be all ready should you ever click the launch icon.  So on the odd chance that I decide to try out AOL some time 6 months from now, I’ll be ready to roll. 

For those of you who don’t know it, you can go to run and type in msconfig and edit the stuff that is being run at startup.  My advice is to only do a few items at a time, and only those that you have a pretty good idea what they are, like anything that has “AOL” in the file name, if you don’t use AOL. 

Another thing that’s really annoyed me is IE7 – it’s slow, seems to crash for no good reason and generally is a PITA.  I’ve solved that problem for the girls – their now using Firefox. 

I need to use IE7 for site testing.  So I was very excited to see the Web Developer toolbar you can download.  I use the Firefox Web Developer Toolbar all the time, particularly it’s “edit css” function which lets me test my changes on the fly.  So I fired up the IE7 Developer Bar, and find it’s got virtually no functionality.  A DOM inspector?  How about simply reduplicating the functionality of the Firefox Web Developer toolbar guys? 

RIP Gerald Ford

I met Gerald Ford in 1981, after his Washington years had come to an end.  He was the guest lecturer for a leadership class I was taking at the University of Vermont at the time.

My impressions, even today, run deep. First and foremost, when talking to the man who had the leadership of the free world thrust upon him, I was struck by a single thought: this is a good, caring man.

He sat with us for over an hour, discussing both history, and leadership.  Many of those in the room, like Jim Louderback, now Editor in Chief at PC Magazine, or Phil Kennedy, the son of former Ambassador Moorehead Kennedy, have gone on to become just what the course intended, leaders.

One of the group asked the former President what is was like to reach the pinnacle of political success, and Ford reminded us that the presidency was not a job he’d ever wanted.  The job he’d preferred was that of minority leader in the house, where he’d been able to broker deals, and make things happen.  A skill which is unfortunately lacking in this day.

That led him into a discussion of the leadership styles of others he’d known, and inevitably to his own.  He felt that he was most effective when he led by consensus – a style that he noted was better suited for the House of Representatives than the White House.

Merry Holi-kawa-nachah-mas

Whatever you may or may not celebrate, have a great few days and enjoy the family times.  I’m attempting to upgrade the kids machine to Vista, and will soon pitch it all and climb into a carton of well-laced nog before the relatives arrive and the fireworks begin.  Smile and try to remember, they eventually go home – deck the halls, not a family member.

My best to you and yours.

Red Sox Listen to Blogs – Customer Service

I won’t bother reposting the same information that’s been posted on and on Mary Schmidt’s blog.  Definitely read both posts…

Maureen Rogers posted about a problem buying tickets online from the Red Sox – and the post was picked up by Company VP Charles Steinberg – who also included an email on the issue from President Larry Luccino’s Blackberry saying “Get back to her please and tell her we are determined to make. It better” (typo is correct, it’s a Blackberry after all…).

Read Mary Schmidt’s post

Read John Whiteside’s post

Read the post from Maureen Rogers on her Pink Spot Blog

Al Shugart – Developer and Disc Drive Innovator

One of the big technological leaps that made the personal computer possible was the disc drive.  Al Shugart, founder of Seagate, a key innovator in disc drives, passed away on Dec. 13 due to complications from heart surgery, according to Business Week.

Shugart’s influence went far beyond Seagate, however. His freewheeling, engineers-come-first philosophy helped propel the drive industry to a truly remarkable pace for innovation. Indeed, while even nontechies are conversant with “Moore’s Law,”—the idea that computer chips get more powerful at regular intervals—the storage capacity of a single drive has been increasing far faster than the processing power of microprocessors for many years.

Read the full article, including tales of his legendary antics here. 

Thanks to David Fumento for the pointer to the story.

Mary Schmidt – Situational Excellence

Without a doubt this is one of the best posts I’ve read in a long time.  Mary Schmidt discusses situational excellence.  I remember in one of my first jobs out of college, Roy Catignani explaining to me “Keep your eyes on the cheese.”  I’ve seen many a project hamstrung by issues that had little or no real impact on the project or the end deliverable. 

Remember, in web projects 80% is a good rule of thumb – if you’ve got 80%, the other 20% probably is not noticable to anyone but you.  Pick the last 20% up after go live.

A list from Mary that’s worthy of reciting at the beginning of every project meeting:

Before you go and spend a gazillion dollars on something slick (commercial, brochure, logo, slogan, artificially induced “viral” marketing) – ask yourself:

1. Is our (and/or our CEO’s) definition of “excellent” the same as our customers?

2. Do our customers care? (Or, are we blowing dollars on our own ego strokes?)

3. Will they even notice? (A pantone shade never closed a deal.)

4. Can the dollars better be spent on walking the talk, versus coming up with “better” talk? Example: That BoA YouTube singer.