Monday, October 10, 2011

The industry news event beating Dubow's exit?

It may be Gannett's decision to close the Moms Like Me network, says Poynter Institute business analyst Rick Edmonds. In a post today, he says:

Gannett has long touted the mom websites as a digital hit — targeted to a demographic that had lots to talk about with each other and was a good fit for advertisers of baby goods, summer camps and the like.

Instead we now learn that Moms Like Me joins a long list of industry business-model misfires and provides fresh evidence of how hard it is for newspaper companies to scale and sustain a digital-only venture.

The failure of Moms Like Me casts a sobering light on the current age of experimentation, as newspaper organizations cast about for new revenue streams to compensate for declining print advertising.

Your reaction
Edmonds includes several of your comments on the Moms announcement.

Earlier: Craig Dubow resigns due to disability. Plus: He gets $37.1 in retirement and disability benefits.

5 comments:

  1. Interesting take. As a soon-to-be-former MomsLikeMe site manager, I can second some of what he said and add a few more things.
    When the corporate management team took over the umbrella management, lots of things changed, and none of them for the better.
    Discussion leaders, hired locally, managed locally and paid locally, to generate conversations were now managed and paid by Gannett on a corporate level. They were required to generate double or triple (or even more) the number of posts, for the same amount of money, $100 per month.
    Many of them quit, and finding replacements was nigh-impossible.
    When Moms went national, at least 3 national discussions were shown on the home page of every local site, bumping off local conversations in which our posters were more interested. And the sniping/infighting/crazy-wacko-catfights became legendary on those national threads.
    I heard over and over again from my dwindling number of regular posters how much they hated those national threads.
    And finally, when Gannett decided to shutter the MomsLikeMe sites, they didn't bother to notify the site managers in advance. I found out when a notice was posted by the "MLM Team" on my site letting our members know that the site would be closing.
    After four years as a site manager, not to mention countless hours of angst over the lack of site traffic, I felt a little screwed-over by the way they chose to notify us of the end. The closure of MomsLikeMe is a good thing for me, as I will be able to concentrate full-time on my "real" job at my newspaper, but I also feel like my time, effort, blood, sweat and tears were wasted.

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  2. They take contributors and managers to be chumps:

    http://usa.momslikeme.com/members/JournalActions.aspx?g=857998&m=18220858

    Highlights include:
    Can I take posts or other data posted on MomsLikeMe and use if for other purposes (e.g., post it on a blog, elsewhere on the web or publish it in a book)?
    As outlined in the Terms of Service, the information that has been posted on MomsLikeMe is the property of Gannett.

    Can Gannett take posts or other data posted on MomsLikeMe and use it for other purposes (e.g., post it on a blog, elsewhere on the web or publish it in a book)?
    Yes, as outlined in the Terms of Service, Gannett has the legal rights to re-use public information posted on the site for other purposes.

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  3. Lesson learned over and over again. Anything Gannett touches turns to shit.

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  4. Mom knows best10/11/2011 11:01 AM

    6:20 hit it right on target. The local Jersey Shore Moms site was a hit until the corporate suck-out-any-respect for your local audience (i.e. customers)site took over. The end was nigh.
    Next time, look to the auto industry for examples of how "design by committee and executive fiat" have failed in the past. Now repeat it like a mantra, "corporate doesn't always know what works best in local markets."
    Now collect $37 million and go away.

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  5. 6:20 is right on. The transition from local to national sites dropped traffic by 50% in the first few months. Main complaint I heard was how slow the momsLikeMe site was compared with the first version. Some instances I recall posters complaining of the site taking a minute or more to respond after their pressing the submit button to post a comment.

    Also missing in the article was the fact that corporate bumped some high-paying, local advertisers just in case someone wanted their premium ad positions. In some cases, we're talking about a third to half of the local revenue just going away. Complain and the answer was to repeat this mantra: mine is not to question why, mine is but to do or die.

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Jim says: "Proceed with caution; this is a free-for-all comment zone. I try to correct or clarify incorrect information. But I can't catch everything. Please keep your posts focused on Gannett and media-related subjects. Note that I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones. And I ignore hostile posters, and recommend you do, too."

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